312. Memorandum From Secretary Rogers to President Nixon1 2


  • United States International Environmental Initiative

I recommend that you propose the establishment of a United Nations Fund on the Environment and pledge substantial United States support over three years beginning in FY 1974. Internal staff work has been prepared on the basis of a total United States committment of $100 million.

From fifteen to twenty per cent of the United States pledge would be a cash contribution to the new Fund, the balance available as United States goods and services to support agreed projects. Other industrialized countries have informally indicated that they would contribute to such a Fund if the United States takes the lead. After the third year, the United States contribution to the Fund would be on a matching basis.

This initiative, designed to meet basic United States international environmental objectives and to improve the effectiveness of United Nations agency response in this field, is the keystone of United States participation in the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, which will be held in Stockholm during June 5-16. The success of international environmental efforts, in which the United States has played a leadership role, will clearly be enhanced by a United States willingness to commit a portion of the necessary resources to meet desired objectives. (See Annex 2.)

An early announcement by you, preferably in your 1972 Environmental Message to the Congress, is desirable.

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You have publicly pledged your support for the Conference. Interagency groups over the past two years, with tthe advice of non-governmental groups have developed a series of United States proposed actions for the Conference. (See Annex 3 for a description of the proposals, with cost estimates.) The proposals will contribute to our foreign policy and domestic economy interests as identified in Annex 4.

Various options regarding funding were examined (see Annex 5) to better ensure a more efficient and coordinated United Nations effort on environmental matters, appropriate means to support the programs which serve United States interests, and some stimulation to the United States economy, particularly the technological sector. Annex 6 reviews the operation of the proposed Fund and implementation of the United States pledge.

Authorization and appropriation would be sought next year in new legislation submitted by the Executive Branch to the Congress. The mechanics of the appropriation have not yet been worked out. However, an announcement of United States interest is necessary now to facilitate preparations for the Conference and to ensure positive action at the Conference.


That you approve:

Proposing the creation of a United Nations Fund on the Environment and

Pledging substantial United States support ($100 million) in direct contributions, goods and services over three years beginning in FY 1974, once the Fund is established.




Announcing this initiative in your 1972 Environmental Message to the Congress. (Suggested paragraphs are at Annex 1).



William P. Rogers
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, SCI 41 UN. A notation on the memorandum reads: “Message sent to Congress 2/8/72.” The message is printed in Public Papers: Nixon, 1972, pp. 173-189. Annexes 1-6 were attached but not published.
  2. Rogers recommended that the President propose the establishment of a United Nations Fund on the Environment, asserting that it, and substantial financial support, would serve as the keystone of U.S. participation in the Stockholm Conference.