196. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in New Zealand 1

620. Wellington for Vice President and Harriman. Ref Canberra’s 604.2

We are repeating to you Bangkok telegrams 1694 and 17013 and Djakarta’s 2313,4 which provide further information on Achmad rice purchase project.
Ambassador Green returning Djakarta this week-end and prior his departure for Baguio meeting he will explore food situation and Army interest in rice purchase.
Achmad approach is one of a number of semi-official Indonesian efforts probe availability of rice under favorable terms from range of possible suppliers. Japanese have in past indicated readiness to supply if they are convinced of real need and favorable political impact. There are, in short, alternative sources of supply less dangerous to Army and donor country.
We now have in final stages of approval project to increase PL–480 Title IV shipments of foodstuffs from current 10,000 tons annual level to 50,000 ton level under Catholic Relief for distribution in areas where Army considers greatest need exists. Details worked out directly between CRS and Indo authorities with a view to minimizing political risks while giving Army tangible evidence of our desire to help.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, INCO–RICE 17 INDON–THAI. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Underhill, cleared by Berger and in draft with Green, and approved by William Bundy. Repeated to Djakarta and Bangkok.
  2. In telegram 604 from Canberra, February 18, Humphrey and Harriman stated that despite the “elaboration of familiar doubts and risks,” they still favored giving Achmad’s approach serious consideration. The risks cited were less potentially damaging than “missing a key opportunity to affect outcome Indo power struggle at critical pre-harvest juncture.” (Ibid.)
  3. See footnote 5, Document 195.
  4. In telegram 2313 from Djakarta, February 16, the Embassy fully agreed with the Department position. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, INCO–RICE 17 INDON–THAI)