236. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Johnson1


  • Shastri visit and the Indian food pipeline
The attached cable from Bowles2 shows that a great deal has been accomplished with Shastri by your policy of the last 3 or 4 months. [Page 450] It also shows Bowles doing a good job of representing the U. S. and not India. It confirms what we have heard from B. K. Nehru and others—that Shastri is very eager to come and see you in December. In my judgment, it also confirms the prospect that such a meeting would be productive for us.
I have told Nehru that, for obvious reasons, no definite plans are now being made, and I think this will keep until you are ready to decide it.
The one thing which does need to be watched is the food pipeline. On September 23 you authorized a one-month extension, and by the end of this week we will face that same problem again. While there is some sentiment in the bureaucracy for a longer agreement, my own feeling is that it is much better simply to renew for another month, on the same basis, thus keeping the situation as it is, with a short rein. The Indians understand increasingly that they really have not performed on their own side of the agricultural bargain, and as long as the pipeline does not actually break, I see no harm in this month-to-month process. I have discussed this matter with Clark Clifford, and he asked me to tell you that he strongly agrees with the month-by-month procedure for the present.
I am sending this memorandum by Jack Valenti so that he can get your judgment at the time most convenient to you.
McG. B.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. 16, Oct. 15–Nov. 19, 1965. Secret. A handwritten “L” on the memorandum indicates that the President saw it.
  2. Not printed. Telegram 1025 from New Delhi, October 19, reported on a conversation between Shastri and Bowles on October 16. Shastri indicated that he was considering a brief visit to the United States following the adjournment of the Indian Parliament on December 10, if President Johnson wanted to see him. Shastri asked Bowles if it was true that U.S. policy toward India had changed, and if so why. Bowles responded that U.S. support for India was solid, but the Johnson administration was examining its aid program to all countries, and particularly its aid program for South Asia, which absorbed so much U.S. assistance. President Johnson wanted to know what the aid programs were accomplishing, how they could be improved, and whether the recipient countries were doing what they could to help themselves. Bowles stated that the only reason the flow of U.S. grain had been on a month-to-month basis was a concern that India was not doing enough to increase its own agricultural output. (Ibid., 9/23/65–12/23/65)