13. Telegram From the Department of Stateto the Embassy in Burma1

34. Your 1266.2 Round-up economic matters discussed by U Nu in Washington.

[Page 16]
Rice—PM described Burma rice problem at White House meeting when subject raised by President3 but made no complaints about U.S. rice policy. Stated that he was cognizant of fact that it has become necessary for U.S. dispose some of its surpluses in Asian markets. At subsequent meeting with Secretary Benson4PM again described Burma’s rice surplus problem. He mentioned various qualities of Burmese rice, marketing procedures, and two million tons which Burma must dispose of before end of year. Neither Benson nor PM referred to disposal U.S. rice surpluses in Asia. Benson said he would like visit Burma and PM invited him to come. Pouching memos.
External assistance—(a) FYIIBRD sent letter, date June 21, to PM summarizing IBRD Mission observations and indicating if Burma agrees with Mission’s findings and will revise development program along lines suggested by IBRD, Bank would be willing assist.PM meeting with IBRD President5 held in cordial and friendly atmosphere. Discussion centered on IBRD letter. Letter and memo conversation pouched FYI only.6 (b) PM discussed Burma’s economic development with Benson but without reference to rice or aid. In informal conversation with Robertson7PM referred to Yugoslav rice arrangement. Stated that rice will pay for Yugoslav technicians. Said that he prefers U.S. technicians and raised question whether we could accept rice in return for services U.S. technicians.8
Department’s comments: Believe U Nu’s rather cursory comments on rice prompted by reluctance mix his gratitude for U.S. invitation and warm welcome with expressions of pique on U.S. rice policy and therefore remained aloof detailed exploration Burma’s economic problems. Possibly also recent rice deals in Belgrade and Moscow [Page 17] may be important factor in PM’s eschewal detailed discussion of rice and aid.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 890B.10/6–2155. Confidential.
  2. Telegram 1266 from Rangoon, June 21, reported that U Nu might raise the subject of U.S. rice sales in Asia and suggested that, if he did so, an offer should be made to help Burma deal with its surplus rice problem through a U.S. loan or U.S. support for a loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. (Ibid.)
  3. See Supra.
  4. A memorandum of July 1 from Robertson to Dulles briefly described the meeting that day between U Nu and Benson. (Department of State, Central Files, 033.90B11/7–155)
  5. Eugene R. Black.
  6. Neither found in Department of State files.
  7. The conversation, which took place on July 2, is described in a memorandum of conversation by Robertson, dated July 5. (Department of State, Central Files, 033.90B11/7–555)
  8. During this discussion “U Nu said that he much preferred American technicians to the technicians of any other nation and that his people preferred American and British goods to the goods of any other country.” But he was compelled to deal with the Communist bloc countries because they would accept rice in payment for goods and services, while the United States would not. Robertson replied that “inasmuch as there was a large surplus supply of rice in the U.S. for which the Department of Agriculture was seeking to find markets, it might be both legally and politically impossible for us to purchase foreign rice for any reason,” but that he, however, “would explore the question further to see if such an arrangement would be possible although he doubted that it would.” (Ibid.)