274. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for Economic Affairs (Seidman) to President Ford 1

SUBJECT

  • Kissinger Memo (11–6–74) re World Food Conference Follow-up2

Secretary Kissinger has proposed formation of an International Food Review Group to follow-up on the World Food Conference (WFC). Secretary Kissinger’s memorandum raises the principal question of who should have the basic responsibility for food policy—a domestic policy oriented group or a foreign policy oriented group.

The important issues from the WFC will include food aid, grain reserves, trade negotiations, and domestic food policy. These issues appropriately have been handled by the Economic Policy Board (EPB) and, to assure the continuity of our efforts in the context of our overall economic objectives, they should continue to be handled by the EPB.

The cabinet-level International Food Review Group proposed by Secretary Kissinger would result in an unnecessary proliferation of decision-making groups. When addressing World Food Conference follow-up issues, the Executive Committee of the EPB will include representatives from State, Agriculture, STR, and the NSC. This group would be identical to the group proposed by Secretary Kissinger.

Given the importance of food policy issues, the Executive Committee also decided that the Food Deputies Group will meet and report weekly to the Executive Committee, and that Gary Seevers will [Page 958]continue as Chairman. If there is a need for a separate working group to focus on follow-up WFC issues, such a group should be established by Gary Seevers and should report to him. The working group proposed by Secretary Kissinger does not provide for representation of Treasury, OMB, and CEA, agencies which should have an input at the working level.

The institutional arrangements recommended above are consistent with current decisions on policy responsibilities, avoid the creation of unnecessary groups, and allow all the concerned agencies to properly coordinate their inputs.

Recommendation

That the World Food Conference follow-up be handled under EPB supervision and that you not establish an International Food Review Group as proposed in the subject memorandum.3

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Subject File, Box 6, Food (3). No classification marking. Sent by Seidman on behalf of Simon, Ash, Greenspan, Eberle, and Cole.
  2. Document 273.
  3. The President did not indicate his approval or disapproval of the recommendation, but see footnote 3, Document 273.