20 May, 2019

Blog

Madam Bandaranaike’s Charm But Firm Diplomacy

By Sarath Wijesinghe – 

Sarath Wijesinghe

Sarath Wijesinghe

Madam Bandaranaike’s Unique Position in the Golden Book on International Arena

Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s place in the world international arena is engraved in gold as the first women Prime Minister and the longest serving Prime Minister living in the minds of Sri Lankans as the “Mother of the Nation” won for our motherland many unthinkable achievements with her inherent “Charm but Firm Diplomacy” and diplomatic skills in managing foreign policy and organizing the non-alignment summit during the height of the cold war while maintaining “friendship with all but angry with none” theory which is the motto in Sri Lankan foreign policy. She led a full life as stateswomen, world leader, Loving mother of three out of whom one became the President and son the Speaker which is a rare achievement. Other daughter is serving the nation in a different capacity as a social worker and Ambassador on culture and a social reformer. Lot is written on her in various angles, but we intend discussing her inherent powerful diplomatic skills with great restraint and patriotism in leading the non-alignment movement by giving leadership to 118 nations and 17 observer countries. Books have been written and volumes could be compiled of her honesty, integrity and great qualities as a mother figure for the family and the Nation setting standards and examples. Undoubtedly she is the best Foreign Minister Sri Lanka ever had and one of the best Foreign Ministers the world has had. There is lot to learn from her and her foreign policy to the present when the current foreign policy is in complicated unmanaged maize with no vision or aim. Foreign policy should target the economy, development, security, and the future of the country. Good news is these are correctible matters by managers of this weeping Nation demanding want of honest and competent “Trustees” to manage the beautiful Island, despite grave danger in planning to connect it to the more corrupt world via bridges and tunnels.

SirimaCurrent U-TURN policy on China is a good move in the long term security, development and success of the bleeding Nation. Having realized “West” is not helping and not competent to help us and we had to proceed to China with a begging bowl! For assistance and re activate the projects suspended previously. They were nice diplomatic to our powerful delegation and considered to help us due to our past friendship and glory. Late is better than never and good to be realistic and practical though at a colossal loss of billions of funds belonging to the citizen. Europe and west is in trouble looking for outside help. They too seek assistance from Chine on Economy and Technology. One should realize that China is a world power and an economic giant keeping pace with the modern world developments and trends. China has invested heavily in major powers currently limping on the economic front, and it is good news that we have though late have realized the reality in geo- politics on economic and development strategies. Madam Bandaranaike has set precedents, examples and framework to work on and built in the area of international relations and diplomacy. Madam Chandrika Bandaranaike too followed her footsteps on Peace “Diplomacy” and H. E. Mahinda Rajapaksa on “War Diplomacy” until the end of thirty year war on terror following the same foreign policies with slight adjustments. Strategy of H.E. Mitripala Sirisena, Hon Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Hon Mangala Samaraweera appear to be still in the formative stages until the foreign Policy of the Good Governance Regime” is put to the test and forwarded with one word based on “Economic Diplomacy” and “Reconciliation Diplomacy”. It is to their credit that the pressure mounted by the West on Sri Lanka is less- most probably on the Regime Change process- on the political front though with no financial and economic benefits expected and the questions at what short and long term price? Madam Bandaraneuka laid the foundation for close relationships mainly with India, China, SAARC , Non alignment Zone, and the rest of the world. She was friendly with all and angry with none as the foreign policy motto of Sri Lanka. The Foreign Ministry during her time has been a “bee- hive” on activities on International law and relations. We still reap the harvest of good work by SWRD and Madam since 1930s in developing close friendship with China from Rice/Rubber pact and helping her during difficult periods in the UN system during the highest of the cold war. Do we maintain a proper and effective foreign Policy depends on the behaviour of the leader of the country and impacts on our economy and the future. Madam Bandaranaike gave leadership and pride to the country with effective and productive foreign policy. Is it the time to overhaul the Ministry and the diplomatic service to meet the global challenges, without seeking advice and directions from Singapore and appointing outside politicians as monitoring personalities as has been previously messed up by previous regimes. They got into difficulties tarnishing the image and historical pride of the Ministry and the leader of the State then. Madam Bandraneika has set precedents to follow in future deliberations in the sphere of management of foreign policy through the Ministry and the Ambassadors.

Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy as the Name implies, is administrative in nature. Foreign Policy of a country is the government’s policy pertaining to it relations and interactions with other nations and inter-governmental organizations. Foreign Policy of a country is dynamic as it is guided and influenced by the national aspirations, domestic and political cultural economic commercial financial and social environment international conventions treatises and global issues. Foreign policy being an extension of the domestic policy national aspirations and domestic issues play the primary role in shaping the Nation’s foreign policy which reflects economic political and future ambitions and aspirations. On 23rd January 1964 Madam Bandaranaike declared at the Senate that “underlying the policy of non- alignment is the belief that independent nations, although small ad militarily weak have a positive role to play in the world today. This attitude is completely different from that of washing our hands of these matters, which was perhaps the idea behind the classical theory of neutralism. There is a world of difference this and then on alignment.” Whilst giving leadership to the non-alignment movement both Hon SWRD Bandaranaike and Madam Bandaranaike maintained close and warm relations with the West, the western leaders and international organizations in an act of balance whilst being active in international affairs as the leader of the non-alignment group. It is evident that Hon SWRD Bandaranaike’s thinking and policies have been implemented by Madam Bandaranaike during her successful regime similar to the implementation of the Marxist theory by Lenin, at a later stage. Today we are witnessing the dangerous shift of foreign policy contrary to the needs and the internal political confrontations/realities especially on China and the socialist block which is dangerous and disastrous. Our neighbour has a firm and stable foreign policy unchanged on change of regime. In my country there should be unanimity and coconscious among the political rivals and the different sects of the ruling clan at least on international affairs in the interest of the Nation leaving aside political differences. SWRD declared that neutralism is not cowardice and running away from trouble but to exert pressure and active in international affairs using diplomatic channel. Madam did not want to be either to be in the capitalist block or the communist block till a system is found which suits us. Rulers who are “Trustees and temporary Guardians” of the Nation do not speak with one word- at least to the world contrary to the “Lichchavi” theory they promised to implement. In India Governments may change but not the foreign policy. When father of the Nation Rt Hon D S Senanayake continued the defence treaty with the Colonial Rulers all agreed upon as it was the need of the day for security for an “Unarmed newly born Nation”. Hon D S Senanayaka during the transitional period said “ I cannot accept the responsibility of being a Minister of defence unless I am given the full authority to take decisions on defence and perused the defence agreement with UK was the best option then which SWRD got rid of depending on the safety and protection on the strength of the non-alignment policy. SWRD followed the 3rd way who declared – “For havens sake be friendly with England or anyone else, but do not commit ourselves to anyone of them.” In 1957 Embassies of USSR and China were started followed by many East Europe and Latin American Countries. Bandaraneika’s neutralism coupled with pragmatism paid dividends by world leaders such as Harold Machmilan od Britin, Menzies of Australia, Peter Nash of New Zealand, Prime Minister of Cananada, Chie En Lai of China, Suhartho if Indusnia, Narue o f Indiaa, we some of the frequent visiters to Sri Lanka with the entire nonaligned block. During H.E. Jayewardene’s rule the friendship with India was on the lowest web and the 13th amendment consisting of Provincial Councils – a white elephant creating havoc today-was forced on us with “Parippue”. H. E. Chandrika Bandaranaike and H. E. Mahinda Rajapaksa attempted to follow “SWRD and Sirimvo” Policies in the International arena with adjustments based on circumstances.

Settlement of contentious International issues with diplomatic skills

Madam Bandaranaike telephoned from the Indian Prime Minister’s office to Hon Dudley Senanayake for his consent at the last stages of the settlement of the Indo Sri Lanka dispute on the Indian Labour issue showing the great statementship qualities of both Prime Minister and then leader by seeking opinion of Hon Dudley Senanayake on the issues, who promptly agreed to the formula proposed by Madam Bandaranaike’s team which is a rare happening in current political personalities and trends. Attitude and the applicability of policies towards Sri Lanka by the successive Indian leaders in the recent past has been always pro-Indian. Nations consist of human beings and obviously any leader will be selfish for the benefit of their Nation unless others are cautious. The current trends are worrying on moves and direct/ indirect threats on imposing trade agreements and construction of roads and bridges connecting the two friendly Nations existed thousands of years in peace and harmony due to peaceful secured location as a protected Island. H. E. Mahinda Rajapaksa was brave to face “arms twisting threats” during the last stages of the war which is a classic example for the current day polite. Madam Bandaranaike and the group took all the precautionary measures to defend and protect this wonderful Island during her time armed with the personal Charm and Goodwill developed by “SWRD and Sirimavo” for decades for the Motherland she loved so much. Indian foreign ministry is behind their successive Prime Ministers and foreign ministers protecting their interests and guiding as one of the most professional and stable foreign ministries. Madam Bandaranaike was always armed and determined to safeguard the interest of her motherland. Therefore it is to our advantage that we resolve to follow firm Non Alignment with fear or favour. It is fondly remembered with credit to H. E. JR Jaywwardene – an ardent supporter of the West who was always spoke in favour Non Alignment at lease on the book on realization of the safety and the value to be neutral in the complicated world politics.

Madam Bandaranaike’s Legacy and Strength in the world politics

Madam Bandaranaike’s main strength in her success story has been her vision coupled with the dedicated experienced and seasoned international civil servants, such as Dr Vernon Mendis, Arther Basnayaka, Shirley Amarasinghe, Glannie Peiris, N Q Dias, Tilak Gunartna, Manal Abeyasekara, Jayantha Dhanapala and the colleagues who masterminded the foreign policy with Non Alignment Summit to be one of the Sri Lanka’s greatest triumphs in foreign Policy. She strengthened and gave teeth and power to the Foreign Ministry established in 1949 injecting officers not second to any in the globe for global matters. It is time for the current Trustees/Guardians of the Nation to follow Madam Bandaranaike’s vision and footsteps go get out of the mess we are in on mismanagement of foreign policy. The group led by Madam Bandaranaike helped her in the success of the geopolitical and international affairs coupled with excellent personal and family relations with many world leaders who often visited Sri Lanka on friendship visits with pleasantries to the Madam Bandaranaike and the Nation followed by the subsequent successful achievements with ripple effects on performed diplomacy as a result of the implementation of correct foreign policy of the day. One main challenge on foreign policy then was the outbreak of the Sino-Indian war of 1962 when she was deeply distressed as both were close and good friends. Fortunately Zhou En-Lai declared ceasefire providing space for diplomatic efforts for Egypt, Burma, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Ghana and Indonesia met in Colombo on 10th December 1962 and Madam Bandaranaike was requested by all the parties to visit countries with proposals. The mediation effect, bold and unique it was, led by Madam Bandaranaike and colleagues, failed to bring the warring Asian Giants to the negotiating table at the time. More than five decades later the boundary issue between India and China remains unresolved, but that circumstances have not prevented the two countries from forging a flourishing bilateral relationship with economic component setting an example to the rest of the world. Hon S W R D Bandaranaike’s opening diplomatic relations with China in 1957. Her other achievement is the declaration of the Indian Ocean a zone of peace by resolution 2832 (10710) by the General Assembly. She maintained close relationships with Indian Prime Ministers Narue, Lal Bahadur Sharathi, and Indira Gandi whilst holding firm to Sri Lanka’s national interest. The issue of statelessness-the citizenship of Indian origin was settled with Indian counterparts to the satisfaction of both. A firm group of the implementation of Sri Lanka’s geo- political context together with close relationships between Bandaranaike and Nerue families as far back as 1930s helped to settled the maritime boundary, settlement of the states of uninhabited but strategically important Island Kathchitive agreement in March 1976 demarcation of the maritime boundaries in the Gulf of Manner and the Bay of Bengal are her achievements on quite, subtle and “friendly diplomacy”. Correct and firm foreign policy by the leader of the Nation, his approach and charisma will diminish the irresponsible one sided statements published local and international media, by Indian Minister of State Radhakirishnam that India is firm on Bridge across Palk Strait which will be disastrous to Sri Lanka protected over millions of years as an Island. It is time the country is united as one on these issues of national importance and facing grave danger. Will such a leader emerge or mould from the existing lot is a million dollar question. Sri Lankans are flabbergasted with the dead silence on our side as having accepted the suggestion.

Historical Current and Future factors in International Relations

We are going through the most decisive era in International law and relations in the annuals of our great history. Sri Lanka’s foreign relations with other countries could be traced back to 3rd century BC when King “Devenampiyatissa” of Sri Lanka, had close friendship with unseen neighbour, Emperor Asoka of India who sent his son and daughter as emissaries to introduce Buddhism to Sri Lanka. 245 BC Emperor Asoka was instrumental in dispatching noble teachings of Buddha which introduced a new culture with Buddhist concepts. This is how we maintained our foreign relations from time immemorial with the rest of the world when the rest of the world preaching us diplomacy was still developing. Madam Bandaraneika continued and strengthened close existing bonds with ruling world families and the governments brought glory, safety strength and peace. Now that economy, security is linked to diplomacy on international law and relations, it is time for us to be extra cautious on international issues. Today Nations are giving Priority for “Economic Diplomacy” replacing the traditional trends on “Traditional Diplomacy” of only attending wine and dine parties. It is the duty of the Ambassadors to promote business and trade bringing investments and prosperity. It is time for us to build on the past glory and experiences to lay down foundations for the future. Whether we are living up to the expectations and fulfilling the needs and aspirations is a matter for the citizen to decide. It is necessary that the President, Prime Minister and the Minister of foreign affairs “ MUST” speak with one word as the statements made by any one of them is considers as part of common international law and quoted and used in international deliberations. We reiterate current diplomats and the Foreign Ministry Officials to study the precedents and legacies left for us by Madam Bandaranaike and other foreign ministers of the calibre of Hon Lakshman Kadirgamar.

Iron Lady with a Soft and Kind Heart

Sri Lanka is located strategically in the Indian Ocean on the famous silk route traditionally and historically used by Arabs and Chinese for trade with South Asia. The Indian Ocean is now the primary focus internationally politically and strategically as a hot spot. Its geo – political prominence makes it a pivotal factor in the global balance of power as the “Ocean of the Future”. Regional and Global powers wish to rub – shoulders with Sri Lanka for future trade and political benefits. Therefore we should be careful in dealing with others on international trade, commerce, and political bonding short or long term. Foreign Policy should be productive to the people and effective to the economy and future of the nation. Our country needs “Sri Lanka Friendly Foreign Policy” aiming at the development and the prosperity not following any group / ideology West East or North. We must always think of developing Sri Lanka in the real and unique Sri Lankan way assimilation the world trends and developments on technology, based on the visions of the our visionaries lifted the country to the above from time to time historically. We have made mistakes due to hurriedly concluded agreements from the 1815 agreement with British which still unimplemented but in in force, India Sri Lanka Accord of 1987, which is still in force partly implemented not fulfilling of one party agreed to eradicate terrorism, led to Provincial Councils – a white elephant–, 2002 Cease fire agreement forced on us, when we had the opportunity to dictate terms in our favour due to the impact of 9/11. We need a vision and visionaries to take our country to the correct tract and lift above others. Israel with no water 70 years ago is a world power, and Singapore and Dubai were sandy dry lands uplifted with vision and visionaries brought their nations to the limelight with sheer hard work and dedication with honesty and integrity. Madam Bandaranaike had a vision for International Relations and full authority to take decisions with power and authority to speak with one word with full control over any situation with an iron fist. She is incorruptible figure with financial integrity beyond approach with unblemished personal conduct which strengthened her starter among her people and the international arena. It is our pride to be a part of the commemoration of the birth centenary that falls on 17th April 2016 and closely associate this great figure. We are indebted to her for what we are today in the diplomatic arena in the regional and international global world in international politics riddled with uncertainty on economic and political fronts, lacking leaders with of qualities of honesty competency and integrity. Currently the President, Prime Ministry and the Foreign Minister do not speak with one word on policy procedure and future which is unsafe and undiplomatic which has to be corrected in the interest of the future of the Nation. Sri Lankans are fortune to have her services as the Prime minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs who had set standards for the future rulers to follow. Her Legacy as the Best Foreign Minister in Sri Lanka and a permanent Glittering Star in the world International arena will be “ENGRAVED IN GOLD FOR EVER!” in the books and legacy of foreign relations Policy and International Law.

*Sarath Wijesinghe -Former Ambassador to UAE and Israel

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 14
    2

    What a load of sychopantic rubbish !

    • 11
      0

      pittu bambu

      Sarath Wijesinghe types “Madam Bandaranaike’s Charm But Firm Diplomacy”

      Her charm diplomacy must have persuaded Nixon (Tricky Dicky) to provide her with a few spare rockets, carrying free rice from the moon.

  • 0
    0

    Guys the fact is this. During the global food crisis and escalating oil prices, she sent two delegations. One led by Maithripala Senanayake to beg in the west for food and aid. He went to West Germany, USA and western allies who were disposed towards him. Illangaratne was dispatched to China and other nations. I forget who was sent to Russia for wheat from the then Ukraine SSR too. Anyway it helped in the very short term. If you recall this was the time of radical changes. Temple Trees grounds had Bathala and Manioc. Even at President’s house they were harping on self reliance and growing manioc. Everyone got into the Maoist like zeal. The fields opposite Independence square had a massive plantation(where there is a walkway now and where there is that building where conferences are held. Probably the Fredrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation area). I know because I used to go with Mangala Moonesinghe, and his then wife and other relatives of Mrs. B to plant Miris, Manggnokka, Bathala etc. in a cooperative scheme. Those were strange days of socialist zeal based on self reliance. If you chaps know your history or were alive back then, you also know in 1982 Hector Kobbekaduwa got more votes from Tamils in the North than JR! WHY? Because of ONIONS AND CHILLIES.

    But back then the arrogant 3 children of Sirima were not around. They were gallivanting across Europe and smoking, wearing mini skirts, and drinking scotch. Sirima turned a blind eye to this obvious hypocrisy on her part. They NEVER lifted a finger during hardtimes,. It was only later The charlatan Kumar Rupesinghe came with Sunethra and wanted their stupid communist brand of Janaweygaya to grab power. They did these “mao wani sirimavo” crap with “Janaweygaya bihiwey” horse poop. Kumar used to smoke Benson and Hedges and drink. How the hell did he have wealth when we had to smoke Four Aces and Bristol? Bloody goddamn charlatan. Sunethra was so damned gullible about this pretentious ass.

    As for Anura, that is whole new comedy. And for Chandrika madam of who we expected much, less that is said is better about her work ethic, or her intelligence but damn sure she was charming and charismatic and at least on the DEMALA question she and her amazing humanist husband were always consistent. What she lacked was a mute button for her garrulous ways and her pathetic pathological lies and exaggerations(like some of her own sycophantic cousins who she gave jobs such as making them directors of Insurance corporations) she is ethically challenged. Her own sister used to say that when they fell out over a man.

  • 1
    0

    Sarath Wijesinghe clearly trying impress the family.

    Sirimavo Bandaranaike was a noble, kind and generous lady.

    She was elected partly due to the emotions that swept the Bauddha-Sinhala electorate in the aftermath of the assassination of SWRD, and partly due to the manipulations of the devious sycophants who gathered around, seeing her as the opportunistic way to getting power that they would not have in their own right.

    However, as Our Prime Minister, she was used, and abused. and unlucky.

    Her success in foreign climes was, if truth be told, due the novelty factor of being the first woman Prime Minister in the world. Her peers on the world stage were both respectful and considerate. AND, Mrs Bandaranaike never sold Sri Lanka short.

    Sadly, my abiding memory of those turbulent years is always clouded by the sight of families huddling in queues in the early morning gloom hoping to secure a loaf of bread.

    It was rather sad that those who should have known better continued to parade her in her last years for political capital. Most undignified.

    She deserved better.

  • 5
    0

    ‘…..and the longest serving Prime Minister living in the minds of Sri Lankans as the “Mother of the Nation”

    The writer must have had a shot or two of Johnny Walker when writing this article for he has mistakenly inserted “Mother of the Nation” instead of “Mother of Deprivation” in his piece. He stands forgiven but readers please correct.

  • 9
    1

    First it was Thelikorale, now its Sarath Wijesinghe all about Sirima.
    Can’t these guys find anything better to discuss, have they to show the world that sri lankans are Dimwits.
    Somebody must be paying them Bathala chips to write articles fit for the WC. Sarath Wijesinghe comes from a wealthy family so the guy has no idea what it was not to have, but to have during Sirima’s time.
    He is married to Dr S A Wickremasinghe’s ( Communist Party of Ceylon founder ) sister.

    What is he trying to prove, that the Sirimavo govt was a govt sent from heaven. If it was then all and sundry would have been praising Sirimavo without condemning her for the injustice she did.
    Most probably the joker must have been heavily influenced by his Bil S A Wickremasinghe on communist ideology during that time.
    These people should go and live in Sirimavo land where they can do all the bloody praising they want untill death takes over.
    You can see Sarath Wijesinghe on Youtube giving a speech as he was the former ambassador to Israel and the UAE. The video clearly shows that the man has no personality at all even being a diplomat and his speeches sound so mediocre, a disgrace to good sri lankan society.

    The guy does not mention the damn disgusting cooperative queues, the growing of manioc at every nook and corner, the penalty for carrying foreign currency even a dollar note without a proper explanation,
    the blood thirsty tin pot dictators and self proclaimed generals of the banana republics of the so called Non Aligned Movement who influenced Mrs B’s govt and way of doing things, the outcome of the one language policy, the self exile of many good lankans, Sinhalese, Tamils, Burghers, Malays, Muslims, to greener pastures so that their kids could have better futures, the nationalisation of everything that could have been taken over even the Buhari restaurant in maradana, the mess up of the education system, the opening up of state institutions to give employment to the thuggish party golayas, the cap on invitees to wedding receptions and functions, obtaining exit visas to leave the country ( like in the iron curtain governed states ), the ruination of the tea estates, nationalisation of the oil companies which led to the CPC the biggest blood sucking vampire still in existence today that is leading the country to bankruptcy, the empty shop shelves reminiscent of a defunct banana republic, and many other mess ups from which we are still trying to extricate ourselves to this day.
    Oh ! we forgot the Criminal Justce Commission set up by Sirimavo to try all and sundry whenever she got into a Cuckoo mood

    SW needs to see the film ” one flew over the cuckoo’s nest ” because he is in Cuckoo land like all the rest who have a penchant for singing praises for a flesh and blood hammer that caused immense grief and heart break, the scars of which are still visible today.

    Colombo Telegraph, please consign these people to the garbage dump for there they are fit to day dream untill death eradicates them from this nice world. Let the lovely land of Lanka and its people forget the past and be blessed to forge ahead with long lasting peace, prosperity and progress.

    Somebody, kindly tell Sarath Wijesinghe that he now belongs to the Home for the Aged where he can day dream untill the end of light. He should have been sent as ambassador to Timbuktu, for he would have excelled there.

  • 7
    1

    The man sounds like he is henpecked by the wife, this may be the reason why he is praising Mrs B. Its better to write something and get away with it than to be pecked at every turn.

  • 0
    0

    Please bury the past.
    Live in the present
    Work hard for your Larder
    For a Bright Future!

  • 0
    6

    Mrs.B had top brains of the country as permanent secretaries(Civil servants & tecnocrats) they were never involved in corruption.

  • 1
    0

    Disgusting gave a comprehensive description of the great mistakes this woman perpetrated on the country and I myself witnessed the total breakdown of the plantation industry by the stupid land reform law that enriched the politician of the time and area.The breakdown of law and order started with her and today we have a totally lawless land.Apart from war crimes investigations by the UNHRC on the last stages of the war I am surprised no investigations have been conducted on the 28 mass graves in the country they are crying out from their graves.Basic human rights have been violated time and time again with impunity and todate nothing has been done. I remember the tyre heaps at the Kurunegala cemetary where hundreds of innocent youth were burnt.I also witnessed 2 brothers in their teens shot and killed laying side by side in Virambagedera,Narammala, one had a piece of bread in his hand and the other a piece of coconut.The excesses were of polpot propotions The whole 1971 insurgency is a stigma on the nation the way it was put down with total disregard to basic rules of engagement.This beautiful island is cursed with the idiots in politics.

  • 1
    0

    Diplomacy? Attacking America in public but begging from America in private. Diplomacy or hypocrisy?

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/wikileaks-urgent-request-for-food-pm-sirimas-letter-to-president-nixon-and-nixons-reply/

    In a letter dated July 10, 1973, Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike has appealed directly to President Richard Nixon for PL 480 Wheat flour shipments to meet desperate food shortage facing Sri Lanka during last three months of 1973.

    Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike

    The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked US diplomatic cables from the WikiLeaks database. We publish below the cables in full;

    LETTER FROM PM BANDARANAIKE TO PRESIDENT NIXON

    1973 July 16, 06:45 (Monday)
    From:Sri Lanka Colombo

    To:Department of State | Secretary of State

    1. BECAUSE OF POSSSJILITY SRI LANKA EMBASSY WASHINGTON HAS NOT YET DELIVERED LETTER OF 10 JULY FROM PM BANDARANAIKE TO PRESIDENT NIXON, WE ARE TRANSMITTING TEXT (COPY GIVEN AMB AT MEETING WITH PM MORNING 16 JULY — SEPTEL).
    2. QUOTE: MY DEAR PRESIDENT, YOU WOULD RECALL MY WRITING TO YOU IN JAN THIS YEAR SEEKING THE SUPPORT OF YOUR GOVERN- MENT FOR CONVENING THE 9TH MEETING OF THE AID-GROUP FOR SRI LANKA AND REQUESTING THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICAN TO MAKE A SUBSTANTIAL PLEDGE OF ASSISTANCE. I WISH TO EXPRESS OUR APPRECIATION OF THE EFFECTIVE SUPPORT EX-TENDED BY YOUR GOVERNMENT AND FOR THE PLEDGE OF FOOD ASSISTANCE MADE BY THE UNITED STATES DELEGATION AT THE AID-GROUP MEETING.

    WE WERE HOPING THAT THE SUPPLY OF WHEAT FLOUR UNDER PUBLIC LAW 480 WOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE AT AN EARLY DATE. MY GOVERNMENT WAS ADVISED THAT DUE TO CERTAIN FISCAL AND SUPPLY PROBLEMS, OUR REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE WOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED UNTIL THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE US FISCAL YEAR 1974.

    MEANWHILE,THE FOOD SITUATION IN SRI LANKA HAS BEEN AGGRAVATED BY THE SEVERE DROUGHT. COMPARED TO THE TARGET SET FOR THE RICE HARVEST IN 1973, THE LATEST ESTIMATES INDICATE A SHORTFALL OF OVER 30 PERCENT. THE MAGNITUDE OF THE DROUGHT IS ALSO SEEN FROM THE FACT THAT THE POWER SUPPLY IN THIS COUNTRY, WHICH IS LARGELY HYDRO-GENERATED, HAD TO BE RESTRICTED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 40 YEARS.

    MY GOVERNMENT HAS INTENSIFIED ITS EFFORTS TO INCREASE RICE PRODUCTION IN THE COMING YEAR, AND, AT THE SAME TIME, EFFORTS ARE BEING MADE TO GROW SUSTITUTE FOOD GRAINS AND YAMS. THE SUCCESS OF THESE EFFORTS HOWEVER, WOULD, TO A LARGE EXTENT, DEPEND ON SATISFACTORY WEATHER CONDITIONS. THE DRIVE TO GROW SUBSTITUTE FOOD GRAINS WOULD ONLY HAVE A MINIMAL IMPACT IN THE COMING YEAR. THUS, IF WE ARE TO KEEP THE POPULATION FED AT EVEN SUBSISTENCE LEVELS, THE IMPORT OF MINIMUM QUANTITIES OF RICE AND FLOUR WILL BECOME VERY NECESSARY.
    AS YOU ARE AWARE, THE PRICE OF FOOD GRAINS HAS RISES CONSIDERABLY IN THE WORLD MARKET. EVEN AT ENHANCED PRICES, SUPPLIES OF RICE ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR IMPORT IN ANY SUBSTANTIAL QUANTITY. IT IS IN THIS CONTEXT THAT THE NEED FOR WHEAT FLOUR BECOMES AN URGENT NECESSITY. IN RELATION TO OUR MOUNTING DEBT SERVICES BURDEN AND OUR CURRENT BALANCE OF PAYMENT DIFFICULTIES IT IS NECESSARY THATTHESE IMPORTS BE MADE ON EASY FINAN- CIAL TERMS SUCH AS THOSE OFFERED ON PL 480.

    I AM DISTURBED TO LEARN THAT SRI LANKA IS NOT IN THE LIST OF COUNTRIES ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE PLNMRIP ASSISTANCE DURING THE FIRST QUARTER OF THE US FISCAL YEAR. I AM WRITING TO MAKE A SPECIAL REQUEST TO YOU TO RESTORE SRI LANKA TO THE LIST OF ELIGIBLE COUNTRIES, IF NOT DURING THE FIRST QUARTER, AT
    LEAST DURING THE SECOND QUARTER OF THE FISCAL YEAR. I WISH TO MENTION THAT THE LATTER WOULD BE THE MOST CRITICAL PERIOD
    FOR US IN REGARD TO CEREAL SUPPLIES. AS WE ARE NOT IN A POSITION TO MAKE PURCHASES ON COMMERCIAL TERMS, ANY DELAY OR POSTPONEMENT OF THE PL 480 ASSISTANCE PLEDGED AT THE LAST MEETING OF THE AID-GROUP WOULD HAVE SERIOUS SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CONSEQUENCES.

    I SHALL BE GRATEFUL IF YOU WOULD INSTRUCT YOUR OFFICIALS TO GIVE SPECIAL CONSIDERATION TO SRI LANKA’S CASE SO THAT EARLY SHIPMENTS OF WHEAT FLOOR UNDER PL 480 COULD BE EFFECTED.

    WITH WARMEST PERSONAL WISHES,
    YOURS SINCERELY,
    (SIRIMA R.D.BANDARANAIKE) PRIME MINISTER.

    HIS EXCELLENCY MR. RICHARD M. NIXON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
    STATES OF AMERICAN, WASHINGTON, D.C. USA. UNQTE
    VAN HOLLEN

    PRESIDENT’S REPLY TO PRIME MINISTER BANDARANAIKE

    1973 August 6, 17:13 (Monday)
    From:Department of State
    To:Canada Ottawa | OTTAWA COLOMBO | Sri Lanka Colombo

    1. FOR OTTAWA: PLEASE PASS THE TEXT OF FOLLOWING LETTER FROM PRESIDENT TO PRIME MINISTER BANDARANAIKE. PRIME MINISTER CURRENTLY ATTENDING COMMONWEALTH CONFERENCE.

    2. QUOTE: AUGUST 3, 1973: DEAR MADAME PRIME MINISTER: YOUR LETTER OF JULY 10 WAS A VERY PERSUASIVE DESCRIPTION OF SRI LANKA’S URGENT NEED FOR FOOD ASSISTANCE. YOU CAN BE SURE THAT WE APPRECIATE THE PROBLEMS YOU FACE IN THIS AREA AND WILL TRY TO BE AS RESPONSIVE AS WE CAN. SINCE WE ARE NOT IN A POSITION TO PROVIDE A PRECISE ANSWER JUST YET, I WANT YOU TO HAVE THIS PROMPT EXPLANATION OF HOW YOUR GOVERNMENT’S REQUEST IS BEING HANDLED.
    YOUR LETTER RECALLS THE FEBRUARY AID GROUP MEETING, AT WHICH THE U.S. REPRESENTATIVE EXPRESSED OUR HOPE THAT WE WOULD BE ABLE TO PROVIDE DOLS 15-18 MILLION WORTH OF WHEAT FLOUR TO SRI LANKA UNDER TITLE I OF PUBLIC LAW 480. AS YOU KNOW, THE INTERVENING MONTHS HAVE SEEN VERY SERIOUS QUESTIONS OF FOOD AVAILABILITY DEVELOP ON A WORLDWIDE BASIS, GREATLY COMPLICATING OUR TASKS IN MAKING ALLOCATIONS UNDER PL 480.

    THESE MATTERS ARE CURRENTLY UNDER VERY ACTIVE EXAMINATION WITHIN OUR GOVERNMENT. OUR AMBASSADOR WILL KEEP IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH YOUR GOVERNMENT AS THIS PROCESS CONTINUES. MEANWHILE, YOU MAY BE SURE THAT WE WANT TO BE AS HELPFUL AS WE CAN AND THAT THE POINTS RAISED IN YOUR LETTER WILL BE TAKEN CAREFULLY INTO ACCOUNT.

    WITH WARM PERSONAL REGARDS, SINCERELY, RICHARD NIXON.
    END QUOTE
    3. FOR COLOMBO: ORIGINAL OF LETTER BEING POUCHED
    FOR TRANSMITTAL TO GSL. ROGERS

  • 0
    1

    Disgusting clearly knows nothing about SW the writer of this article. His wife does not have any siblings, being an only child. She is not a contemporary of Dr SAW either. Goes to show any goon can write any rubbish comments on web pages !!! If someone can tell lies and present them as facts how can one believe anything that person says? You have been found out ‘Disgusted’ !!!!!!!

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.