110. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for International Economic Affairs (Cooper) to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft), Washington, November 26, 1973.1 2

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November 26, 1973


SUBJECT: Population NSSM

I am the culprit who has delayed this NSSM. I have many problems with it, but won’t hold it up if you think it should go forward at this time. However, I discussed this with Hal Horan last week and we agreed we would talk to Win Lord about it on his return. (I gave Win this week to get settled. ) Apart from tightening up on the content of the study, I think it is absolutely essential that we know in advance who is going to do the study and how. This is an area where such a high-level study can be a real mess.

You should know, if you don’t already, that Draper (along with Phil Claxton) belongs to a school of thought about population which has few respectable adherents left. In addition to taking a rather over dramatic view of the problem, Draper, Claxton, et al continue to ride a particular hobbyhorse of a solution, namely that better contraceptives and family planning programs are the answer. Almost nobody agrees with this anymore, since there is abundant evidence that changing the number of children people want is much more important than reducing the number of unwanted children.

We have been plagued, in AID and elsewhere, with simplistic views of the population problem and simplistic approaches to its solution. A NSSM that reinforced the wrong sets of entrenched attitudes could do much more harm than good. Nevertheless, the choice is yours.


That Hal Horan and I discuss with Win Lord; lay groundwork carefully; probably issue NSSM ASAP.

Approve [BS initialed here]

That NSSM be issued now.


  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–204, National Security Study Memoranda, NSSM 200 [2 of 2]. Limited Official Use. Sent for action. Scowcroft initialed his approval of the first recommendation, crossing out “in approximately two weeks” and writing in “ASAP.”
  2. Cooper explained his rationale for delaying the issuance of a National Security Study Memorandum concerning population policy.