Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
John Kenneth Galbraith, his 6 feet 8 1/2-inch frame towering over the crowded Indian Embassy gathering Wednesday night, was taking the larger view of the day's events as they had focused on India's Prime Minister Morarji Desai.
He had been to the National Press Club earlier and had even asked Desai a question. Remembering it Wednesday, he grinned widely.
In view of the "self-indulgent,""unathletic", "overfed," "generally de praved appearance" of the Washington press corps, Galbraith had asked the 81-year-old vegetarian, wasn't Desai confirmed in his Gandhian habits of life? Desai had replied a very simple "Yes." "He set new high standard for brevity of answer," Galbraith said admiringly - if also wryly.
Reporters, of course, Galbraith continued, had brought up the nuclear non-proliferation treaty - "currently the fashionable issue of the Washington press corps. At any given time," Galbraith said, "the Washington press corps has one question."
Galbraith was one of three former U.S. ambassadors to India present Wednesday at the reception India's Ambassador Nani Palkhivala hosted for Desai. Ellsworth Bunker had made his way through the mob and then had come John Sherman Cooper. Seeing Cooper reminded Galbraith of an early trip to New Delhi.
"We visited John at the embassy, and embassy, and when we left that day I said to my wife, if we ever get the chance, that's the job I want.'"
Galbraith, like Cooper, had met Desai first back in those early days of India's fledgling democracy. The United States was giving India half a billion dollars a year in aid then and Desai was finance minister.
"We forged a relationship of the firmest sort," said Galbraith, who had been John Kennedy's envoy to New Delhi, "that kind of wonderful relationship that is based not no mere love but also money."
In deference to vegetarian Desai's aversion to alcohol guests sipped either fruit punch or papaya juice, and ate from a lavish buffet where vegetable dishes and fruits abounded.
Desai stood for nearly an hour and a half shaking hands, posing for pictrues, giving out autographs and professing satisfaction with the outcome of his talks with President Carter and members of the Congress.
"The results have been very good, satisfactory." he said, denying that he might have wished to accomplish another more.
"I don't believe in asking for anything. It just comes, given by God, if he wants to give".
As for his relations with Carter, "when hearts come together," said Desai , who has maintained a steady correspondence with the president, "there is nothing more to say."