273. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Ford 1

SUBJECT

  • World Food Conference Follow-up2

It is important that a World Food Conference Follow-up Group be established as soon as possible so that it can begin work immediately after the Conference.

To provide an appropriately high level focus and to ensure that the thrust of our initiatives is carried through along the lines that you and I have discussed, it is important that such a Group be established at the Cabinet level. I would recommend that I chair the Group and that Earl Butz be Vice Chairman. To ensure proper input from members of your Economic Policy Board, some of whom would in any case be members of the Follow-up Group, I would propose that the Group coordinate its recommendations, as they relate to U.S. agriculture and trade policy, with the Board’s Executive Committee. I would, of course, be in touch with Simon, Seidman, Butz, and Eberle on major issues in any case.

Should you approve, I would propose to sign the attached memorandum establishing such a Group.

[Page 957]

Recommendation

That you approve establishment of an International Food Review Group, along the lines I have outlined. (Tab A)3

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Subject File, Box 6, Food (3). Confidential. Sent for action. Scowcroft initialed the memorandum on Kissinger’s behalf. Kissinger left Rome on November 5 for the Middle East and North Africa. He returned to Washington on November 10.
  2. On November 2, Scowcroft cabled Kissinger in Tehran on the need to quickly establish a WFC follow-up group, both so that it could begin work as soon as the conference was over and so as "to forestall any action by the President’s Economic Policy Board to assert control." Scowcroft, Enders, Hormats, and Kennedy agreed that Kissinger should chair the group, in order to "demonstrate the importance you attach to this subject, enable you to ward off attempts of other agencies to take over the Group, and ensure that appropriate Cabinet members become personally involved, thus raising the issue above bureaucratic or technocratic debate." Scowcroft also discussed the need to determine the group’s relationship to the EPB, "because its [the EPB’s] members want to play a significant policy role in this area, because they will try to undermine your position if they feel excluded from the process, and because your taking the initiative now will nip in the bud the criticism—which has arisen as the result of allegations of insufficient prior consultation on your WFC speech—that you are trying to circumvent the Board." Scowcroft suggested that Kissinger "agree to have the Follow-up Group coordinate its actions, as they relate to US agricultural and trade policy, with the EPB. This would leave control in your hands while giving the EPB a policy input." (Ibid., Scowcroft Daily Work Files, Box 9, 11/1–5/74)
  3. Attached but not printed. The President initialed his approval of the recommendation. In a November 12 memorandum to Butz, Ingersoll, Ash, Greenspan, Eberle, and Seidman, Kissinger outlined the follow-up group to the World Food Conference. (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Subject File, Box 6, Food (3))