Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Joint Statement Following Discussions With Prime Minister Gandhi of India.

March 29, 1966

AT THE INVITATION of President Johnson, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, has been on an official visit to the United States of America. During her visit, Prime Minister Gandhi met the President and members of the United States Government.

The President and the Prime Minister discussed India's efforts for the improved well-being of its people. Prime Minister Gandhi emphasized the high priority which India attaches to economic development. President Johnson assured Prime Minister Gandhi of the deep interest of the Government and the people of the United States in participating in international efforts, particularly those under the leadership of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, to assist India in its own massive efforts to raise the living standards of its people within the framework of a parliamentary democracy.

The President and the Prime Minister discussed India's emergency food grain requirements resulting from last year's unprecedented drought. They agreed that the problem should be viewed not in isolation but in the context of an incipient worldwide food deficit, a challenge to humanity as a whole that merits the sustained and serious attention of all nations.

The Prime Minister described measures which the Government of India is taking to achieve self-sufficiency in the nation's food production. The President assured her that, Congress willing, the United States will continue to participate generously in the international effort to alleviate India's immediate food deficit problem. The President told Mrs. Gandhi that he intended to send a special message to Congress shortly to seek its endorsement of such U.S. assistance. Both of them agreed that further participation of other countries in meeting India's emergency food needs is also highly desirable.

Prime Minister Gandhi welcomed the President's proposal for the establishment of an Indo-U.S. Foundation to promote progress in all fields of learning. The President and the Prime Minister look to this cooperative endeavor to develop new teaching techniques in farm and factory, to advance science and to increase research.

President Johnson and Prime Minister Gandhi agreed that following the Tashkent Declaration there had already been considerable progress toward reestablishing the conditions of peace in the subcontinent and that it is necessary that this process continue in order that the peoples of both countries may concentrate their energies once again on the urgent tasks of national development. They also agreed on the importance of continuing to give full support to the United Nations objectives of refraining from the use of force and of resolving conflicts between nations through peaceful means.

During their discussions, President Johnson and Prime Minister Gandhi reviewed recent developments in south and southeast Asia in the context of the universal desire of men and women everywhere to achieve peace that respects liberty, dignity, and the pursuit of a better way of life. In this connection the President explained the policies the United States is pursuing to help the people of the Republic of Vietnam to defend their freedom and to reconstruct their wartorn society. The Prime Minister explained the continuing interest and efforts of her country in bringing about a just and peaceful solution of this problem.

Prime Minister Gandhi affirmed the determination of her nation to defend the freedom and territorial integrity of India and explained the challenge presented to it by the aggressive policies of the People's Republic of China. The Prime Minister and the President agreed that such aggressive policies pose a threat to peace, particularly in Asia.

The President and the Prime Minister consider that the visit has reaffirmed the strong bonds of friendship between the United States and India, based upon a shared commitment to constitutional democracy and a common revolutionary heritage. Their highly informative, frank, and friendly discussions have contributed to a valuable personal understanding between their two countries and their two peoples.

Prime Minister Gandhi extended a warm invitation to President Johnson to visit India. The President expressed his gratitude for the invitation and his hope that he could visit India again.

See also Items 148, 149, 153, 154.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Joint Statement Following Discussions With Prime Minister Gandhi of India. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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