56. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1 2
- Reply to Prime Minister Bandaranaike on Aid to Sri Lanka
Mrs. Bandaranaike writes to you every year well in advance of the annual World Bank Aid Group meeting for Sri Lanka urging the US make a substantial pledge. She did so again this year [Tab B].
Mrs. Bandaranaike annually describes in detail steps Sri Lanka has taken to provide a sound framework for economic development. The problem in our view and that of other consortium members is that these steps have not produced the results necessary to establish a sound framework for economic assistance. In recent years our aid has taken the form of food assistance—last year $10 million—which the government converts into support and it was deeply appreciated. Sri Lanka would be eligible for development loans if its government policies could justify them, but thus far this has been difficult.
As in the past, a US position consistent with our own limitations was presented at the Aid Group meeting recently held in Paris—a range of $15–18 million for Sri Lanka in FY 74. State has noted that this statement of intention was carefully made subject to budget and supply availabilities which have been affected by the current uncertainty of food grain supplies and prices.
Our action in Paris was essentially the response to Mrs. Bandaranaike’s letter, but a short, sympathetic reply from you now would be consistent with our good bilateral relations, expressing the intention to do all possible to carry through.
The suggested reply at Tab A avoids committing you to a specific figure and does not refer explicitly to the $15–18 million (although it is presently anticipated we will be able to meet this commitment) but alludes generally to the position taken in Paris. The warm tone is a reflection of the fact that Mrs. Bandaranaike has enjoyed the relationship with you ever since her meeting here in October 1971.
RECOMMENDATION: That you sign the letter to Prime Minister Bandaranaike at Tab A. (Text cleared by Mr. Gergen)[Page 2]
- Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 297, Presidential Memoranda, 1969–74, May 1973 (1). No classification marking. Sent for action. The Prime Minister wrote Nixon regarding the World Bank Aid Group meeting for Sri Lanka, and wished to clarify the difficulties of implementing the World Bank’s austerity measures given the delicate social and political conditions prevailing in Sri Lanka. (Ibid.) The letter, at Tab A, was sent on May 3.↩
- The President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger presented the President with a draft reply to Prime Minister Bandaranaike’s letter of January 12 regarding economic aid.↩