283. Memorandum From Robert Hormats of the National Security Council Staff to Secretary of State Kissinger 1


  • Meeting with the President on FY 75 PL–480 Program2

Roy Ash has proposed the memo (Tab A)3 for your meeting on PL–480. The program has been stalled for over a month as a result of the controversy surrounding country allocations and the Humphrey Amendment. (The memorandum at Tab B describes the Amendment.)4 If nothing is done soon, we will be unable to ship the amounts programmed; we will, as a result, end up with a food aid level smaller than last year’s.

The Humphrey Amendment requires non-MSA’s to receive not more than 30% of Title I assistance. It would eliminate food aid to Indonesia, restrict Chile and Korea to the token amounts already shipped, and cut Vietnam to $73 million. Violation of the Amendment would, however, alienate Humphrey and other of the strongest and most effective supporters of the aid and PL–480 bills; it would probably bring about Title restrictions next year. The issue is how to avoid the adverse foreign policy impact of the Amendment without alienating Humphrey and friends.

There are three alternatives:

  • —Comply strictly with the Humphrey Amendment as is; this would please Humphrey but provide insufficient amounts for Vietnam, Korea, Chile, and Indonesia. This is Option A in our memo (Tab C), Option 1 in the OMB memo.5
  • —Reclassify Vietnam as a MSA, after consulting with Humphrey. This would provide an extra $100 million to distribute among Vietnam, Chile, Korea and Indonesia. This is Option C in our memo, Option 2 in the OMB memo.
  • —Increase the total program to the “high option,” $1.38 billion. (This would increase amounts available for Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia, and Chile by $63 million above Option A, while allowing you to conform to the Humphrey Amendment.)

Roy Ash will probably be indifferent as between his Options 1 and 2 (our Options A and C), but would probably oppose an increase in the total PL–480 figure to the “high option” level. Options 1 and 2 do not increase the budget level. Ash would probably point out that Option 2 may be difficult to achieve on the Hill because of “the substantial Congressional hostility to additional aid to Vietnam.”

There is no doubt that Option 2—the Vietnam transfer—will be difficult. It is, however, worth trying. Vietnam conforms to all the criteria utilized by the UN in drawing up the MSA list but was excluded because it is not a UN member. Should you be unable to achieve it, the “high option” will alone get you the amounts you need for foreign policy purposes. (An argument supporting the “high option” is at Tab D.)6

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Files of NSC Logged Documents, Box 53, NSC “NS” Originals File, 7500228—Meeting with President Ford on PL–480 Program. No classification marking. Sent for information. The attached NSC correspondence profile indicates that the memorandum was sent to Kissinger on January 13, 1975, and that Kissinger noted the memorandum.
  2. No record of this meeting was found.
  3. Tab A, attached but not printed, is a January 13 memorandum entitled “1975 P.L. 480 Country Program Allocations.”
  4. Tab B, attached but not printed, is an unsigned January 10 memorandum from Hormats to Kissinger describing the Humphrey amendment.
  5. Tab C, attached but not printed, is an unsigned and undated memorandum from Kissinger to the President discussing P.L. 480 options.
  6. Tab D, attached but not printed, is an unsigned January 10 memorandum from Hormats to Kissinger on “PL–480 Commodity Availability.”