Entry dated :: December 17, 1973
New Delhi, India
Daniel Patrick Moynihan:
Christmas in India

Soon after Pat Moynihan had been appointed Ambassador to India by President Nixon, he learned that a vast sum of Indian rupees had accumulated in a US government account from the sale of American wheat to India. These "PB 484" fund, as they were called, could not be exchanged for dollars, but they could be used to purchase business-class air tickets. So Pat instituted what he called the "Star Series" through which the State Department would buy tickets for his friends willing to give lectures in India. I qualified.

I had first met Pat in 1966. He had come to Harvard as director of the Joint Center for Urban Studies, where I was studying with James Q. Wilson and Ed Banfield. Instantly, he brought joy to what had been heretofore a dull funding mechanism for a few professors and students in the government department (including myself.) Pat has everything it needed: intellectual brilliance, ineluctable charm, a love of history and a great sense of the media. A few weeks after his appointment, he was on the cover of Life magazine. So was the Joint Center.

What impressed me most about Pat is that he is an incredible learning machine. He listen and reads relentlessly, and integrates what he garners into new and provocative concepts. It was Pat, after all, who found Ralph Nader in the Labor Department, encouraged him to write his book Unsafe At Any Speed (Pat wrote the introduction), and, in doing so, created the consumer movement in America. His generosity toward me, including giving me a party for the completion of my thesis— with guests seating at tables according to whether they liked their steaks rare, medium or well-done— and inviting me to India for Christmas as part of the Star series.

I took advantage of the world air ticket by first going to Turkey and Iran, where I on a wondrous tour of the archeological sites of Ephesus, Telemoussis, Aspendos and Persopolis with Amanda Burden, and, in Teheran, met Richard Helms. I then went to Sri Lanka. Madras and Madras, giving lectures on the American media, since Pat had been called back to New York for meetings. What made these side trips interesting was the career officers from the USIA who met me at the airport and briefed me on the rides into town. It was as much as a learning experience as anything at Harvard.

When I finally got to New Delhi, there was a terrorist crises. Pat had been told by the State Department that Egyptian intelligence had warned it that the PLO was planning to kill or kidnap Pat. As a result the embassy, Roosevelt House, where I was staying, had become an armed fortress with Sikh bodyguards and Marines encamped everywhere. Adding to the tension, I was expecting Kate Paley, Amanda's half-sister, to join me at Roosevelt House. But her plane from New York passed through Rome, just when the PLO hijacked 4 planes. Her arrival had delayed, Pat explained, for at least 3 days.

So, trapped in Roosevelt House, I sat in the garden with Pat, and, over a few beers, had a discussion about the evolution of drug policy under Nixon. Pat said that when he joined the Nixon's Administration in 1969, "the country was mesmerized with urban riots and street crime. They [Ehrlichman and Halderman] were also talking about a heroin epidemic they thought was about to explode. So they sent me to Turkey and France to look into the supply route. I came back and told Nixon we could temporarily disrupt the supply. I was surprised an anyone when they turned my suggestion into the war on heroin."

Moynihan suggested that the White House take a more direct role in the treaty negotiations in Turkey, even if it meant recalling the ambassador. "The next thing I know people in the White House were threatening Turkey."

He said he was now getting telegrams from "the boy scouts in the White House" telling him shut down the production of opium in India. "Its idiotic," he explained. Although India was the world's largest producer of opium, it went to pharmaceutical companies to manufacture codeine. Codeine was an anti tussac. "If they shut down Indian opium, they are going to cause a global coughing crises."

In the evening, Leo Gross, a professor of international law, and the second in Pat' Star Series, arrived. Pat had a dinner for him that included the Chief Justice of the Indian Supreme Court Ray, a judge at the Hague court named Sing, and a dreary collection of Embassy officials. After dinner, Liz, Pat's energetic wife, said the private train that they had been planning to take us on to Rajastan over Christmas had been canceled by the Inian governmenr because of security.

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