292. Memorandum From the Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Population Matters (Claxton) to the President’s Special Assistant (Cater)1


  • World Leaders’ Declaration on Population

Prime Minister Wilson has now informed Mr. Rockefeller that he has decided to adhere to the World Leaders’ Declaration on Population on behalf of the Government of the U.K. He asks to be told what plans are being worked out with U Thant for the release of additional names (Tab A).2 (As I have mentioned to you before, Rockefeller has talked to Philippe de Seynes, U Thant’s Under Secretary, about a release of several names in the late summer or early fall and de Seynes has assured him there would be no difficulty.)

Rockefeller at once asked the Japanese Ambassador to follow up with Prime Minister Sato. The Ambassador has cabled Sato, telling him of Wilson’s agreement and asking for an early decision. Rockefeller would like to have this before writing Prime Ministers Pearson, Holt and Holyoake to tell them of Wilson’s action and again invite their signatures. However, he will write these three before leaving August 11 for the Far East, even if he has not heard from Sato. He will send copies to each of our Ambassadors which will initiate their follow up with their Prime Ministers, as requested in our messages to each Ambassador.

I mentioned to you that the principal statements in the Declaration (Tab B)3 go no further than Pope Paul’s statements in the Encyclical Populorum Progresio (Tab C). You asked for a comparison. One is attached which also shows comparable statements made by the President (Tab D).

[Page 517]

You may also be interested in the apparent derivation of the statements in the Encyclical from the majority report of the Papal Commission on Birth Control (Tab E).

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1967–69, SOC 13. No classification marking. Attached is a covering memorandum, also dated August 4, from Read to Rostow.
  2. Not printed. British Prime Minister Harold Wilson informed Rockefeller on July 19 that he would sign the declaration. (Letter from Wilson to Rockefeller, July 19; ibid., SOC 13) Secretary-General U Thant’s Statement on Population also is attached to the memorandum. On December 11 the Secretary-General released a list of new signatories of the World Leaders’ Declaration on Population. President Johnson, British Prime Minister Wilson, and Japanese Prime Minister Sato were among the 18 new signatories, bringing the total to 30.
  3. Tabs B–E are not printed.