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The Political History of American Food AidAn Uneasy Benevolence$
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Barry Riley

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190228873

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190228873.001.0001

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LBJ, India, and the Short Tether

LBJ, India, and the Short Tether

(p.256) 13 LBJ, India, and the Short Tether
The Political History of American Food Aid

Barry Riley

Oxford University Press

In the ten years since enactment of PL 480, India had been the largest participant in the Title I local currency sales program. Johnson believed India regarded the program almost as an entitlement derived from India’s continuing poverty and America’s wealth and agricultural surpluses. This chapter recounts Johnson’s personal intervention in every food aid decision related to India where he sought to extract policy concessions, a stronger Indian commitment to agricultural reform, and greater public gratefulness for America’s largesse. Food aid to India during months of drought and shortages were provided only on a month-to-month basis and only upon the approval of the president in very grudging amounts. Relying on reporting from USDA that did not fully portray all the Indian government had already undertaken to improve its own food production, Johnson’s harsh food aid policy may have delayed rather than encouraged agricultural progress in India.

Keywords:   Lyndon Johnson, short tether, Chidambaram Subramaniam, Indira Gandhi, Lester Brown, Orville Freeman, famine, food aid, Chester Bowles

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