387. Letter from Rusk to Humphrey, July 221

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Dear Senator Humphrey:

Thank you for bringing to my attention Mr. Jonathan Garst’s suggestions on diet and the use of feed grains in underdeveloped countries.

We are interested in this approach to improvement of nutrition and education in less-developed countries, and in fact it was discussed with Mr. Garst before his recent trip to Brazil. If our surplus grains could be used to buy eggs and poultry from producers in less-developed countries on a payment in kind basis, and the eggs and poultry then distributed through school lunch programs and institutional feeding, the resulting benefits could be substantial. In addition to immediate improvement in nutritional levels, the change in eating habits would build markets for the future and the local industry would be encouraged to expand. Our direct costs would be the surplus feed grains, plus transportation, but this would be offset by savings in storage costs.

The principal obstacle we encounter in establishing programs of this kind is the shortage of able and devoted officials in less-developed countries who can devote the time and personal drive necessary to assure the program’s success. Many of these countries also lack the money to pay internal distribution costs, or they assign a low priority to this type of program. Established commercial interests are inclined to oppose such projects, as they fear the increased production will destroy their markets. The lack of schools in many of the countries that most need help also means that the most desirable channel for distribution of protein foods is of limited availability.

The successful use of surplus foods in needy countries through a program as envisaged by Mr. Garst depends upon the recipient country’s stage of economic development, the existence of an adequate school system, and above all on organization. You can be assured that we will continue to support the development of this type of program wherever feasible, working through our foreign aid and Food-For-Peace programs.

Sincerely yours,

Dean Rusk
  1. Comments on Garst’s Food for Peace proposal. No classification marking. 1 p. Department of State, Central Files, 800.03/6–1261.