அறிஞர் அண்ணாவின் கட்டுரைகள்


"A smart lawyer should collect his fees when his client's tears were still hot on her cheeks." said a Republican Senator of U.S.A., and Uncle Sam being not only a smart lawyer but also a hard-headed businessman, has now succeeded in effecting a 'Barter Agreement' with India under which 31,500,000 dollars worth of American farm surpluses will be supplied in return for certain strategic materials.

Those Congress bosses who were ridiculing the the 'Grow More Food Campaign' undertaken by the alien government, announced grandiose schemes of increased production and self-sufficiency on the food-front, introduced 'Vana Mahothsawas', but found to their dismay, that their schemes have not been successful—and the food problem has become acute, forcing them to import food grains, thereby endangering the exchange front.

The tears were visible and hot, and U.S.A., not forgetting the very 'Christian' advice of the Republican Senator, has offered wheat and other farm products, in exchange for strategic materials, "Manganese, Ferromanganese and such other materials as may be agreed upon."

Mr. Donald Kennedy, a senior official of the Bureau of South Asian affairs, states,
"It was the first barter agreement which the United States had signed with India, although the question of such deals had first been broached 10 years ago."

Mr. Kennedy has not favoured us, with any explanation about these attempts at such deals, for, that would most certainly turn the searchlight on that party which has got what it wanted in an almost 'the pound of flesh' way.

It was exactly when discussing proposals for such a deal, that the American Senator, not mincing matters, put forward his proposal 'collect your fees while the client is in tears'.

Eighty out of the hundred who happen to read about this barter agreement, would say that, U.S.A. needs something we possess and in return supplies us that thing without which life itself would be in jeopardy.

That section which is charged with the task of boosting up the Nehru regime, would certainly jump up to say, "Because of the tremendous, almost magnetic influence which Nehru exerts over the U.S.A., we are going to get ship-loads of wheat—defeating the machination of nature itself. There would be no shortage of food—no famine—no starvation deaths— Nehru has asked for food, and lo! U.S.A., has agreed to send us a colossal amount of farm products, demanding in return not gold, but agreeing to take materials that India could afford to send."

Congress propagandists, paid in cash or in promises, would go about, hailing this barter agreement, and would ejaculate, that by this stroke of success Pandit Nehru has once again established his claim to be the saviour of the Nation. But while the Congress propagandists do their job, it is up to the astute section of the public to find out the true state of affairs.

What is meant, first of all, by the term 'strategic material'?

Writes an authority on this subject,
"Any given material becomes strategic, only if we consider it in relation not merely to a given country, but to that country's given adversary."

And, what is the given adversary as far as U.S.A. is concerned? All known accounts go to show, that it is Russia. And let us see, what has Russia got to do with this material, manganese.

U.S.A. registered an annual production of 140.7 million tons of steel in 1958—establishing a world record as it were. It is an accepted fact, that the most important factor in not merely industrial might, but military might, is the steel-making capacity. And how much of importance is attached to this steel-making capacity can well be understood, if we take note of the fact, that the United States Post Office issued a commemoration stamp bearing the motto, 'America and Steel growing together'.

But, while the U.S.A. has recorded its might in steel, it is seriously deficient in some minerals which are indispensable for steel-making, the most important being, manganese.

Manganese serves as a cleanser and purifier; it imports toughness and strength to steel; it enters into armor-plates, projectiles, car wheels, railway switches, safes, grinding machinery, machine tools, structures, and bridge steels.

Without an adequate and abundant supply of manganese, the steel-producing capacity of U.S.A. will be much impaired. So manganese becomes essential—indispensable.

U.S.A. is deficient in such a material—its potentiality in this can be gauged, if we take note of the fact, that only some 3000 hands were employed in the manganese fields.

But, U.S.A. was able to build up a mighty steel industry by getting very liberal supplies of manganese from foreign countries. And the most significant fact to be carefully noted is this: before World War II, Soviet Russia was the principal supplier of manganese to the U.S.A. During the Presidency of Harry Truman, Soviet Russia announced its plan of stopping the supply of manganese.

What an amount of potential danger, this stoppage of supply of manganese denotes, cannot be exaggerated. The Soviet Union happens to be the largest producer of manganese, the 1955 production is stated to be 5,228,300 tons.

And when the U.S.A. was thus almost cornered, President Truman constituted a committee to tackle the problem, and it was then, in 1949, that India came forward to help the U.S.A. in her predicament, by supplying manganese. In fact in 1949, India replaced the Soviet Union as the principal supplier of manganese to U.S.A.— 4,29,203 tons in 1949—6,30,147 tons in 1950—5,65,557 tons in 1951.

Of course, besides India, Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, Belgian Congo, Ghana, and the Union of South Africa also supplied manganese to U.S.A.; but the largest amount of supply was from India—it replaced Soviet Russia.

If, as is argued, the stoppage of the supply of manganese by the Soviet Union was part of its 'cold war' programme, it was with the aid from India, that the U.S.A. was able to withstand it.

None would, we are sure, miss to note the significance of the term, 'strategic material', after a perusal of the analysis given.

And did those 'architects' in India, utilise that situation for getting lasting benefit for this country? Events do not prove such a claim.

In 1951, hard pressed on the food front, India applied to America for a grain loan, and President Truman readily responded.

But a strong group of American Senators and Congressmen, stood up to demand 'the pound of flesh—and it was then that the American Senator expressed the most ethical(!) principle of getting the most when the tears were hot.

"We expect our negotiating authorities to bargain hard-headedly and realistically to serve our vital interests in obtaining these materials in exchange for the grain which India needs so desperately".

The Senate had to accept an amendment to the effect, that the terms of the loan to India should provide for a continuous supply of strategic material to U.S.A.

Shylock-like, the Senators began demanding an assurance from India, about the continuous supply of the strategic materials and India, because of its haggard look, had to yield.

Had the rulers of this land enough statesmanship and diplomacy, they could have got advantageous conditions then itself.

A beggar, they say, has no choice, more so, if he goes begging for bread, and India had to allow itself to be stripped of its advantages.

"Were it not for India, our steel industry would be hard pressed to find all the manganese it needs for its growing capacity"

—said Mr.Paul Hoffman, a former head of the European Co-operation Administration. Mr.Chester Bowels pleaded on behalf of India. But the U.S.A. supplied wheat to India, only after getting the assurance, about the continued supply of strategic materials.

Nearly ten years after this, there is the new deal, the barter agreement—the U.S.A. is to get the strategic materials in return for the wheat it supplies to India.

Had those at Delhi, succeeded in solving the food problem, there would not have arisen the woeful necessity of bartering away strategic materials in this way. We are certain, that if the full facts and figures are placed before the public, they would find out that, after all, the American Senator has succeeded; Uncle Sam, "collects rich fees while the client's tears are hot and profuse."

Times without number, the Congress leaders, when they were in the wilderness, have condemned, any trade agreement arrived at—and used to say that the safety and self-respect of the country has been bartered away! Those who spoke in very disparaging terms about the Ottawa Agreement, are today adorning the citadels of power. And yet, they have agreed to a barther agreement, which cannot be termed advantageous to us, looked at from any angle, political or economic!

May we not ask this pertinent question, "Is it moral or ethical or even politic, to arrive at such an agreement, involving 'strategic material', without taking the public into their confidence—by discussing it before the supreme legislative body in the land?" Why should not the Parliament be allowed to discuss about the necessity or otherwise of such agreements? If such far-reaching decisions are taken without the concurrence (after discussion) of the Parliament, is Pandit Nehru safeguarding democracy?

Instances of imperial whims and fancies are often quoted—monarchs selling away domains—but it needs more than a stout heart to outbeat the imperialist by implementing agreements of far-reaching importance, without discussing it in the supreme legislative body in the democratic set up.

The Senate and the House of Representatives in the U.S.A.. were allowed to discuss the problem of 'aid to India' and strong and varied opinions were expressed, before the final decision was arrived at.

Why is it, that Delhi decides such important issues without following the democratic ethics of consulting the Parliament?

Are there strings and stipulations in that agreement, which they are ashamed to own? We do not know, but we know this much, that the 'deal', with a ten years' history behind it, cannot be to India's advantage, for, the discussions at the Senate and the House of Representatives in The U.S.A. are enough to show what the U.S.A. aimed at, all along—'Collect the fees while the client's tears are hot.' And that is what has happened.

(Editorial - 08-03-1959)