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Series Part VII, I: Correspondence, 1963-1969

Call Number: MS 628, Series Part VII, I

Scope and Contents

This series obviously represents only a fraction of the correspondence that Bowles handled as Ambassador. The correspondence was apparently carefully selected before shipment back to the U.S. There are neither letters from the Indian public nor the usual routine letters from the U.S. ordinarily answered by staff members. What remains is a compact, rich correspondence on the issues confronting the American mission and Bowles' personal correspondence with long-time friends. The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent with unidentified items placed at the end. Important correspondents have been individually listed in this register. Other correspondence has been arranged in general letter folders. Since, however, this correspondence is so selective, even the general folders may contain a few letters from prominent individuals. Besides incoming and outgoing letters and their enclosures, the files may also contain speeches and articles by and clippings about the correspondent.

The correspondence with Lyndon Johnson, Dean Rusk, Bill Moyers, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Robert Kennedy is an important source of information on activities in New Delhi. The correspondence with Bowles' close friends also offers his overview as well as evidence of his personal views. See especially the correspondence with Douglas J. Bennet, Sr., James G. Rogers, Jr., William Benton, Abram Chayes, David Ginsburg, Bice Clemow, Philip Coombs, Edward Logue, and James C. Thomson, Jr.

There is abundant correspondence with Congress since Bowles made a continuing effort to have many Senators and Congressmen visit India. For good summaries of Bowles' plans for U.S. aid to Indian development and his attempts to get the necessary legislation passed, see the correspondence with Senators William Fulbright, Hubert Humphrey, Wayne Morse, and Congressman Henry Reuss.

Bowles' efforts to present economic and development plans to high-level members of the Indian government may be found in his correspondence with Moraji Desai, Indira Gandhi, C.S. Jha, L.K. Jha, T.T. Krishnamachari, Asoka Mehta, Jawaharlal Nehru, Triguna Sen, Lal Bahadur Shastri, and C. Subramaniam.

Specifically on the problems of Indian agriculture and food shortages see the correspondence with Orville Freeman, George McGovern, Wolf Ladejinsky, Charles E. Lindblom, and Walt Rostow. On the foreign currency appropriation and on the use of surplus rupees see the correspondence with Lucius Battle, David Bell, C. Douglas Dillon, Allen Ellender, Kermit Gordon, James P. Grant, John Rooney, Stuart Symington, Jerry Voorhis, and Harris Wofford. The John D. Rockefeller, III, and Harold Linder files contain discussions of India's financial outlook, as do the files with executives at the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development such as George D. Woods, Robert McNamara, and Escott Reid. On military aid to India see the correspondence with McGeorge Bundy and James P. Grant. With Professor David F. Cavers Bowles discussed the tensions between India and Pakistan and with Bernard Loshbough he discussed the problems of urban India. Fred Foyer and David J. McDonald were concerned about the progress of the Bokaro Steel Mill project and William H. Draper, Jr., John D. Rockefeller, III, and R. Ravenhold (filed under U.S. Government, AID) wrote on the problems of population control. For Bowles' ideas about India's future, written at the end of his term as ambassador, see his summary memo to the Secretary of State, William Rogers.

The Svetlana Allilueva correspondence is the prime source for information on Stalin's daughter's attempt to remain out of the Soviet Union and Bowles' efforts to aid her. Her file contains copies of the statement and letter to her children which she wrote when she first came to the U.S. Embassy. The files of Cass Canfield, Alan Schwartz, C.S. Jha, George Kennan, and Dean Rusk also contain correspondence relating to Svetlana.

Bowles sought public recognition of the importance of continued U.S. support for India. He cultivated members of the press and wrote articles on the problems India was facing. See the frequent correspondence with Hamilton Fish Armstrong, Norman Cousins, Gardner Cowles, Walter Lippmann, Ralph McGill, Lester Markel, John B. Oakes, Drew Pearson, James Reston, Robert Sherrod, and James B. Wiggins. Bowles also attempted to bring American specialists to India; see, for example, his correspondence with James Patton, Victor Reuther, and Walter Reuther.

Since memoranda from U.S. Mission staff members are filed in Part VII, Series III, there is only a small amount in this series relating to the internal organization of the Mission. Correspondence with William Crockett, Jr., Roger Jones, and Kenneth Keating, Bowles' successor, outlines the organization of the Mission. There is some correspondence with Mission staff members but this was usually when Bowles was away from India or before the staff member arrived or after departure. This type of correspondence can be useful for the general description of life in India or in the U.S. See correspondence with Douglas J. Bennet, Jr., Richard Celeste, Joseph Greene, Amos Jordan, John Lewis, Philip Merrill and John W. Shirley.

The correspondence reflects on subjects other than India. The U.S. Mission staff members named above kept Bowles informed on upcoming elections, social tensions, and assassinations. The Martin Luther King file contains clippings from the Indian press on King's assassination. On the critical issue of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, as early as May, 1964, the correspondence shows Bowles warning Johnson about this situation. On Vietnam see also the files for Hubert Humphrey, Wolf Ladejinsky, and Barry Zorthian. On Bowles' mission to Cambodia see the correspondence with Senator Mike Mansfield. For discussions of the Peace Corps see correspondence with R. Sargent Shriver, Jack Vaughn, and Harris Wofford.

At the end of the correspondence section there is a folder labeled "letters sent to multiple recipients." This folder contains some of Bowles' memoranda and position papers which were widely circulated, as well as mailing lists for other items. The folder also contains a few of the mimeographed summary letters that Bowles sent to family and friends.


  • 1963-1969

Physical Description

(13 boxes)

Conditions Governing Access

From the Collection: Boxes 220-223, which contain constituent correspondence, are restricted until 2035 Jan 1.

The transcript of the oral history interview with Douglas Bennet, Jr. in Box 399b is closed until the deed of gift is secured from Bennet.

Box 408, which contains restricted personal and financial papers is closed until 2025 Jan 1.

Box 409, which contains audio tapes of oral history interviews with Bowles's associates, is not open to researchers.

Original audiotapes, videotapes, and motion picture films, as well as preservation and duplicating masters, may not be played. Researchers must consult use copies, or pay for the creation of a use copy, retained by the repository, if none exist.

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English


Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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