476. Letter From President Carter to Sri Lankan President Jayewardene1

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for your letter of March 29 concerning the forthcoming meeting of the Sri Lanka Aid Group.2 I recognize the special importance to you of this meeting, the first since your Government came to power and instituted major economic reforms.

Since 1975, the United States has increased its development assistance to Sri Lanka. Indeed, from 1976 through 1979 we will provide more assistance to Sri Lanka than we did during the previous quarter century.

Our foreign assistance policies toward Sri Lanka and other nations direct our support primarily toward agricultural and rural development and the improvement of health and social infrastructure. Ambassador Wriggins will be pleased to provide you with more detailed information on how our policies relate to your development goals.

We continue to be interested in assisting the important Mahaweli Ganga irrigation project. The United States funded the original study of this project in 1961, and we are now providing assistance for part of its construction. We have had numerous discussions with your Government, the World Bank, and the other donor nations on the Mahaweli Ganga project and seek specific activities that would be consistent with our policies. We are ready to collaborate with your Government on an environmental impact study of the project and would like to be as forthcoming as possible in providing additional assistance. We await your Government’s plans and the results of the World Bank study on the proposed acceleration of this project.

The United States seeks a mutually beneficial relationship with Sri Lanka that will enjoy the widest possible support from your people. I believe that we are making progress together and look forward to continued cooperation with you.


Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P780088–1654. Confidential.
  2. See Document 475. The Sri Lanka Aid Group meeting took place in May in Paris. Telegram 2637 from Colombo, June 7, reported De Mel’s June 6 public report of the Paris meeting to Parliament. De Mel stated: “donor countries and institutions had expressed full support for the ‛sound economic and financial policies of the J.R. Jayewardene government,” and had pledged around $385 million for development projects other than the Mahaweli project. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780240–0550)