Karachi, 17 March 1953
As you are aware, our wheat crop harvested in 1952 was short by about 950,000 tons and we had to import over 800,000 tons this year to meet our minimum requirements. I gather that the prospects of the new crop are even more gloomy and we are likely to be short by one and a quarter million tons. Our import target, however, is one and a half million tons which includes a small working stock intended for bringing down the present prices of foodgrains. The import of such a big quantity with our meagre resources is out of the question. Already we have spent a large amount of foreign exchange on the import of wheat besides utilising the entire loan of $15 million which we obtained from the U.S.A. The only alternative now left for us is to import as much wheat as we can by methods other than cash payment. The proposition which I have in mind is that your Government may permit us to utilise the funds granted under the Colombo Aid Plan for the purchase of wheat. Canada has already agreed to this proposition and I hope you will also be good enough to permit diversion of aid funds granted by your country.
2. The food situation in the country is at present serious and even a few months delay in imports will aggravate the position. I assure you that if funds are released for the purchase of wheat we shall see that the money realised from its sale to the consumer is reserved for economic development so that the main purpose of the aid is not defeated. The Prime Minister has already spoken to your High Commissioner about it. I trust that he has communicated this request to you and it is receiving consideration.
[NAA: A10299, C13]