294. Editorial Note

On July 29, 1968, the Vatican released Pope Paul VI’s encyclical letter, Humanae Vitae, on birth control. It reaffirmed traditional Catholic views, calling every form of contraception except voluntary continence “illicit.” In doing so the Pope overruled the recommendations of the majority of the Papal Commission set up by his predecessor to provide a factual basis for a reply by the Church. The encyclical also viewed economic development and social progress as the only solutions to the problems of the developing world. A detailed discussion of the encyclical and a comprehensive analysis of world reaction is in INR Research Memorandum RSF–2 to Secretary Rogers, February 17, 1969. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1967–69, SOC 13–3)