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211. Telegram From the Department of State to All Diplomatic and Consular Posts1

80276. Rome for FODAG. Subject: Information for FAO Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture.

1. At the request of FAO we have undertaken to try to increase the food information flow which should prove useful to both the U.S. and the FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (EWS).

2. The EWS was established by the FAO Council to collect and disseminate a variety of data on food outlook, food requirements, food crops and shortages, and food situations. Much of this data is subject to restricted distribution due to the sensitivities of some aid receiving countries to release of such information. Nonetheless, increasing numbers of such countries are joining the system, and have established units or appointed officers to collect the appropriate information and provide it to FAO via its in-country representative or other channels. FAO is preparing to provide assistance to MSA countries in establishing such early warning units.

3. FAO and/or World Food Program colleagues in the field prepare monthly food situation reports which are sent to Rome headquarters. If a potential food supply or related problem is indicated Rome headquarters requests clarification from the field or takes steps to send an evaluator for an on-the-spot assessment. Apart from the EWS, prices, freight rates, supply trends, production estimates, food aid flows, etc., are monitored by FAO through a variety of sources.

4. FAO and its members are striving to improve the EWS on a priority basis due to continuing food supply uncertainties throughout the world and especially in MSA countries. Both the FAO, EWS and the USG could benefit from sharing more information on a regular basis. Congress has repeatedly expressed interest in FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System. Efforts are being made to increase U.S. participation in the EWS. USDA works closely with the FAO and regu[Page 667]larly provides Agricultural Attache and other routine reports to FAO. The FAO provides regular quarterly and monthly EWS reports to USG as well as food situation reports on specific situations.

5. Action requested. In view of the U.S. strong interest in this program missions should foster stronger cooperative relationships with FAO field officers (if any). This would increase the exchange of information necessary for the functioning of the EWS. In addition, missions, particularly those in countries facing acute or rapidly deteriorating food situations, should in course of regular reporting send information copies of unclassified cables on food production or other factors affecting food sufficiency to Rome for relay to FAO. Such cables should be addressed: Info Rome FODAG FAO/EWS. This procedure would not apply in cases where missions have specific concerns relating to the sensitivity of this data.

6. For Rome: Drawing on the substance of para 5, you may inform FAO the U.S. will be working to increase the flow of information to the EWS. To this end we are encouraging our missions to develop even closer contacts with FAO field representatives. FAO may wish to emphasize this cooperative effort through its own channels.

Vance
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770124–1183. Unclassified. Drafted by Wolf and Rupprecht; cleared in substance by Byrnes, John Washburn (IO/ML), McNutt, David Moran, Lauralee Peters (ARA/ECP/FDA), Shurtleff, J. Phillip McLean (EUR/RPE), by Melvin Schuweiler (AID/PPC), in draft by Daniel Chaij (AID/LADR), Fletcher Riggs (AID/ASIA/TD/RD), Woodrow Leake (AID/AFR/DR/ARD), Russell Olson (AID/NE/TECH), William Fradenburg (AID/MP/A), and by telephone in USDA/FAS; approved by Wolf. Repeated for information to the Liaison Office in Peking, the Interests Section in Baghdad, Vientiane, Taipei, Bucharest, Banjul, Beirut, USUN, the Mission to the OECD in Paris, the Mission in Geneva, the Mission to the EC in Brussels, the Mission to the IAEA in Vienna, and the Mission to NATO in Brussels.