Breadcrumb

Statement by the President Upon Signing the India Emergency Food Aid Act

June 15, 1951

I AM delighted to be able to sign this act of Congress which will make it possible for the United States to send to the people of India up to 2 million tons of food grains.

This act is an expression of the spontaneous, heartfelt desire of the American people to help the Indian people in their time of need. We are deeply grateful to divine providence that we can provide that help.

India suffered a series of terrible natural disasters last year--earthquakes, floods, droughts, and locust plagues--which seriously cut down India's food production and threatened millions of the Indian people with famine.

India has bought all the food she can with the funds she has. The United States alone is already sending India about 1,500,000 tons of food grains, much of it at reduced cost. This food is flowing toward Indian ports at the rate of 250,000 tons a month.

Under this act we shall be able to supply India on special and easy credit terms the additional food which India needs but for which India does not now have funds available.

These shipments of food from the United States will supply nearly two-thirds of all the food which India is buying abroad to meet its emergency. These shipments will save untold millions of our fellow human beings in India from great suffering.

I note with particular satisfaction two provisions of the act. The first of these is designed to strengthen Indian-American understanding and friendship by permitting the use of $5 million of the interest to be paid by India on the loan to bring a greater number of Indian students, professors, and technicians to the United States for study and to send more Americans to India.

The other provision authorizes free ocean transportation for relief supplies to India given by individuals and private organizations. This kind of help to stricken humanity is a tradition of the American people--whether to the sufferers of the great Russian famine and the victims of the Japanese earthquake in the early twenties or to the starving in Rumania in the late forties.

In India today American voluntary help is providing highly nutritional foods, vitamins, and medicines to the needy in the famine threatened areas. The American Red Cross is forwarding supplies for community services in cooperation with and at the request of the Indian Red Cross. CROP--the Christian Rural Overseas Program--a union of Protestant and Catholic relief agencies--is collecting gifts in kind primarily for hospitals, orphanages, and welfare centers. CARE, a federation of many voluntary organizations, is delivering packages including foods, hand plows, and tools to further food production.

This collective effort of the United States Government and American voluntary agencies shows our humanitarian concern for all distressed people. In view of the great need in India I urge that we continue and expand the voluntary aid being given by the American people through the voluntary agencies.

In signing this act, I extend the heartfelt best wishes of the American people to the people of India and express our admiration for the courage and fortitude with which the Indian Government and people are moving ahead to solve the problems thrust upon them by natural disasters.

NOTE: The India Emergency Food Aid Act of 1951 is Public Law 48, 82d Congress (65 Stat. 69).

On June 19 the President issued Proclamation 2931, "Activation and Operation of Vessels for Transportation of Supplies Under Section 5 of the India Emergency Food Aid Act of 1951" (3 CFR, 1949-1953 Comp., p. 116).