238. Memorandum of Conversation1 2


  • Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
  • P.N. Dhar, Secretary to the Prime Minister
  • William B. Saxbe, American Ambassador
  • David T. Schneider, Deputy Chief of Mission


  • Various—Ambassador’s Farewell Call

The Prime Minister received the Ambassador very shortly after he arrived in her outer office. She had, a clean desk, a pleasant smile and a very relaxed and easy appearance. She was most attractively dressed and looked rested and completely composed. As the Ambassador arrived and was seated, she smiled pleasantly but said little.

The Ambassador opened the conversation talking about his family, about his appreciation for her having received his son and daughter-in-law and about his returning to the United States to see a new granddaughter for the first time. The Ambassador commented on how accessible the Prime Minister was, saying that we were embarrassed sometimes by the number of people for whom we relayed requests for appointments, but she seemed to see them all, for which we were grateful. The Prime Minister replied that she saw a number of other Americans as well. The Ambassador discussed the transition taking place in Washington, commenting on President-elect Carter’s style and noting that the new Ambassador to India might not be appointed for some months. The Prime Minister commented that she understood Mr. Carter was very systematic in his approach to work.

The Ambassador remarked that the only problem between the US and India remaining seemed to be the nuclear one and that US views on this subject related to many countries and not just India. Speaking personally, [Page 2] the Ambassador said his candidate to be his successor was Senator Pastore who is retiring undefeated from the Senate. Pastore was a most intelligent and reasonable person who believed the United States should fulfill its commitments to export nuclear fuel. Mrs. Gandhi offered no comment.

The Ambassador, who had just returned from a luncheon with the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, commented on the 70% increase in the exports of Indian industrial products to the United States and discussed other trade matters which had come up at that luncheon.

After 15 or 20 minutes of conversation, the Ambassador prepared to rise and, while doing so, said that he thought US-India relations had improved during his time in India and he expressed an appreciation for the part for which Mrs. Gandhi had played. She replied that she agreed relations had improved and considered that he had played an important role in this process. The Prime Minister then said that the GOI was grateful for the Ambassador’s achievements and asked that he convey her warm regards to Mrs. Saxbe.

Mrs. Gandhi’s part in this conversation was largely non-substantive and, as is usually the case, she said little herself. However, her approach was warm and friendly and her farewell quite cordial.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 84, New Delhi Embassy Files: Lot 79 F 111, 1976 Decentralized Subject Files, POL Indo-US 1976. Confidential. It was drafted by Schneider. The meeting took place in the Office of the Prime Minister. Saxbe summarized this conversation in Telegram 16722 from New Delhi, November 17. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  2. Account of Ambassador Saxbe’s farewell call on Prime Minister Gandhi.