251. Telegram From the Embassy in Italy to the Department of State1

1377. Dept pass Texas White House—Eyes Only for President. From Secretary Freeman.

Estimates of Indian 1965–66 crop short fall have been carefully checked.

Earlier estimates appear optimistic in light of latest evidence. 1964–65 food grain production of 88 million tons will drop at least 10 million tons. Drouth most serious of this century. Virtually every area of India hit. Current actual consumption is estimated 174 kilograms of grain per capita, well below minimum FAO nutritional standards. If 10 million tons less food grains available, intake will drop to 152 kg per capita.

Prediction that 10 million tons cut in availability of food grains would result in substantial starvation appears to be valid.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, SOC 10 INDIA. Confidential; Priority; Exdis. No time of transmission is on the telegram. Received at 8:21 a.m. and passed to the White House at 8:56 a.m. Freeman was in Rome for meetings of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.