5. Editorial Note

A draft memorandum from Dulles to the President, prepared in the Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs, stated that the Burmese Government was deeply concerned, not with past United States rice sales, but with the anticipated sale of United States rice under Public Law 480 terms in Asia and that U Nu had mentioned this to him “in most urgent terms” in Rangoon. It also expressed the hope that the Burmese could be assured that the United States Government had no intention of making concessional sales, which would have the effect of depriving Burma of its normal markets. (Filed with a memorandum of March 24 from Sebald to the Secretary; Department of State, Central Files, 411.90B41/3–2455) The draft memorandum was not sent to the President; a memorandum of April 4 from E.V. McAuliffe of the Executive Secretariat to Robertson’s Staff Assistant Harold N. Waddell [Page 6] stated that, according to Dulles’ Special Assistant John W. Hanes, Jr., the Secretary did not think it wise simply to provide the President with background information; if the Departments of State and Agriculture were in disagreement, every effort should be made to resolve it in discussions between the two Departments before going to the President with a recommendation. (Ibid., 411.90B41/4–455) A memorandum of April 11 from Waugh to the Secretary reported that “numerous efforts” to resolve the problem between the two Departments had been fruitless and that the Department of State was therefore requesting a policy determination by the Council on Foreign Economic Policy on concessional rice sales to the Asian area. (Ibid, 411.90B41/4–1155)

Telegram 935 to Rangoon, May 5, informed the Embassy that the Council on Foreign Economic Policy had generally approved a Department of Agriculture proposal that efforts be made to dispose of approximately 230,000 tons of surplus United States rice in Asia, in addition to sales to Japan, during the rice marketing year ending July 31, 1955, under the following general conditions approved by the Council: “U.S. will sell rice to Asian countries at competitive prices but will not make sales to an extent or at prices which would result in material injury to friendly countries by interfering with their normal exports, preventing them from obtaining an equitable share of an expanded total market, or progressively driving down prices”. To minimize adverse reaction to additional sales of United States rice in major Asian rice-producing countries, the Council had approved a Department of State proposal to hold consultations in Bangkok and Rangoon to discuss the world rice situation and explain United States policies. (Ibid, 411.90B41/5–555)