70. Memorandum From Robert Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


Have been holding open option of President announcing new one-year PL 480 agreement for India, which will probably be signed 16 September (it doesn’t depend on new law). Agreement involves $398 million worth of wheat (4 million tons) and rice (306,000 tons) and vegetable oils. This ain’t hay, and could be tied to other US actions to meet Indian food crisis2 (stepping up wheat shipments from 400,000 tons per month to 600,000 etc.).

Much of this has already been made public by Freeman, Bowles and others, but only NYT has made much of it from what I’ve seen. So there’s still play. All I’d have in mind would be WH statement unless press conference happened to fall that day.

[Page 152]

If this doesn’t excite you, I’d like to remove block from story now.3

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, India, Vol. III, Cables & Memos, 7/64–11/64. Secret.
  2. In a July 30 memorandum to Rusk, Talbot described a “major political-economic problem” confronting the Indian Government as a result of a sharp rise in foodgrain prices. Prices had risen steadily throughout 1964 and were one-third higher than a year previous. NEA’s assessment was that the high prices were due to poor distribution rather than a shortage of grain. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, E 8–1 INDIA)
  3. Bundy’s handwritten note at the end of the memorandum instructed Komer to postpone a press release until after the P.L. 480 legislation had passed. On September 30 a Title I P.L. 480 sales agreement and two loan agreements were concluded and signed in New Delhi. A press release was issued at the time of the signing. The texts of the agreements and the press release were transmitted to the Department as attachments to airgram A–365 from New Delhi, October 5; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, AID (US) 15–8 INDIA.