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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States, 1950. East Asia and the Pacific

Burma,   pp. 229-255 PDF (11.3 MB)

Page 229

Mem'orandum of Conversation, by the Ambassador at Large (Jessup)'
CONFIDENTIAL                       [RANGOON, February 10, 1950?]
            THAKIN NuI-FEBRUARY 8, 1950-RANGOON
Participants: Thakin Nu-Prime Minister of Burma
              Philip C. Jessup-,Ambassador at Large
              William M. Gibson
  The Prime Minister, after introductory remarks, asked questions
concerning Formosa and Vietnam. The Ambassador replied in general
terms and then asked the Prime Minister whether he was encouraged
about conditions in Burma today. "They are very much improved over
a year ago," he answered, "'when it was my candid opinion that
Burmese Union would go to pieces." Conditions had improved to the
extent that he was about to undertake a trip to a northern province
which had only just been liberated from the Karens who had held it
almost continuously since the granting of independence. One third of
the province is still in Karen hands, but the Prime Minister feels
they are "bottled up."
  In answer to Ambassador Jessup's questions about economic affairs,
the Prime Minister admitted that normal trade was at a standstill
because of the war. Rice exports which he claimed had totaled five
million tons per year in normal times would only amount to one
million tons this year. 1,500,000 tons Were exported last year. (Note:
these figures do not agree with those furnished from other official
sources and are in each instance from 200,000 to 500,000 tons too high.)
The Prime Minister expressed confidence over the work of the Rice
Commission and told of how impressed he had been with an exhibition
of an American tractor which could sow one acre of rice in ten minutes.
He felt that the ancient Oriental system of wooden plows and manual
labor would have to be replaced by modern methods.
  The Ambassador asked about conditions on the northern frontier
and was told that as yet no Chinese Communists had formally violated
  For previous documentation on United States relations with Burma, see
Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. vi, pp. 1 ff.
  2For further documentation on Ambassador Jessup's tour of the Far East,
see p. 68.

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