Lester Bowles Pearson (Secretary of State for External Affairs)
We first inquired whether that procedure would meet with the wishes of the Indian government. I think it was only yesterday, or at least a day or so ago, that we received information from the government of India to the effect that while they greatly appreciated an offer of this kind, they would still prefer to wait until wheat of a better quality might be available. Possibly one reason for the stand they took at this time was an arrangement which they informed us they had been making with neighbouring countries, for the supply of additional quantities of rice which they hoped would tide them over the period of greatest danger. They had also been making arrangements for food supplies of other kinds from neighbouring countries. In the circumstances, therefore, they thought that possibly they would suspend any decision on our offer of a gift of No. 5 or No. 6 wheat. Meanwhile we have been canvassing the situation in Canada as to whether other kinds of food might be available for Indian famine relief, in particular special health foods.