553. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1


  • PL 480 Sales to the Congo

In the attached,2 Messrs. Schnittker, Gaud and Schultze recommend a $13.4 million PL 480 agreement with the Congo. State and Treasury concur. The specifics:

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Wheat flour—48,000 tons (equal to 67,000 tons of unmilled wheat)

Cotton—19,000 bales

Tobacco—3,000 tons

Credit Terms:

Repayable in dollars, 20-year maturity with a 2-year grace period, 2½% interest rate.

Budgetary Costs:

These amounts are provided for in our export targets and budget estimates. No additional cost.

This food is frankly designed to tide the Congo over the current crisis. There are no new self-help terms attached. The mercenary problem has created a critical supply situation for the Congolese. Production and transport of agricultural products have fallen off badly. They haven’t gotten as much copper out of Katanga as they had hoped, so their export earnings are likely to be quite a bit lower than planned. Despite all this, Mobuto has put into effect a comprehensive program of economic reforms—including a devaluation. He badly needs this support to hold the line.

As soon as it is safe, we will send out an AID/Agriculture team to survey the self-help situation and will determine where we can usefully put more leverage.




Speak to me

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt W. Rostow, Vol. 46. Confidential.
  2. An October 2 memorandum from AID Administrator William Gaud and Acting Secretary of Agriculture John A. Schnittker and an October 13 memorandum from Budget Director Charles L. Schultze are attached but not printed.
  3. Next to this option is a notation on the original in Johnson’s handwriting that reads: “I suppose that’s all right.”