219. Memorandum From Jessica Tuchman and Leslie Denend of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • World Food Project

The attached memorandum (Tab A) fulfills your direction to produce a joint NSC-Domestic Council-OSTP-Bourne proposal—except that Bourne’s people do not agree with it.

Since our meeting with you,2 we have held two meetings, produced two drafts,3 and incorporated two sets of comments. Throughout all this, NSC, DPC and OSTP have been in fairly complete agreement, and all are happy with the final draft. Also, throughout the whole process, talking to Jerry Fill and John Daly has been like talking [Page 691] to a stone wall. Fill staged an angry walkout from the second meeting in response to some perfectly reasonable comments by one of the other participants. The core of the disagreement is that Bourne’s people look upon the substantive work that needs to be done as a minor sideshow to a major effort to build a public constituency for hunger, while everyone else believes that it makes little sense to solicit support for a policy before you know what your policy is.

Bourne’s comments (prepared in response to an earlier draft) are attached at Tab B, along with final comments by the others. Many of Bourne’s comments, such as the suggestion to add Transportation, Labor and ERDA to the list of addressees were discussed by the group and, I thought, disposed of. However, Bourne’s office declined to produce comments to the second draft.

In sum, we made a good faith effort to produce a consensus proposal—but ended up as far apart from Bourne’s office as we were at the first meeting. Frankly, all of the rest of us who participated in this effort (including Hormats, Hansen, Huberman and Denend) were amazed at Jerry Fill. I am sure he has honest convictions on this issue, but he has been totally unresponsive to our efforts to reach consensus and move forward.

I don’t know where to go with Bourne’s people from here (or even whether Fill’s convictions are shared by Bourne himself), but I believe that the attached proposal provides a sound basis to proceed with further work.


If you approve of this proposal, I would suggest that we draft a memorandum to the President explaining what we have done and what we are proposing. Specifically, we would want him to understand that under this plan, major Presidential initiatives on this issue would be postponed until the PRM is completed—probably around the end of the year.4

[Page 692]

Tab A



I. The Mechanics of the Study

A. Process: We are agreed that the PRM process is appropriate for this review. The strengths of the PRM process are that it is a tested approach to problems which cut across departments and agencies, and it is respected by the bureaucracy which will delegate high-level attention to its preparation.

B. Participants: Every agency which will play a significant role in the policy implementation should be included, but every effort should be made to limit the participants to those who have a legitimate interest. Suggested participants include:


  • State
  • Treasury
  • Commerce
  • Agriculture
  • Health, Education and Welfare
  • Agency for International Development
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • United States Representative to the United Nations
  • National Science Foundation
  • National Institutes of Health

Executive Office of the President

  • National Security Council
  • Office of Management and Budget
  • Domestic Policy Council
  • Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Office of the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations
  • Office of the Special Assistant for Health (Bourne)

C. Chair: Since a committee cannot be successfully run by a committee, the PRM would be run under joint NSC-Domestic Policy Council management with full participation by other Executive Office of the President offices as appropriate.6 Serious problems have arisen in [Page 693] the past due to joint management arrangements and the consequent lack of a single point man. There are strong reasons to strive for joint domestic-international management but this may prove to be infeasible. A more precise definition of who will do what can probably be arrived at during the process of drafting the PRM tasking memorandum.

D. Timeframe: There are several studies in progress now which bear on this review, PRM–8 (end of July),7 AID (September 1), Brookings (October 15).8 The conclusions of these studies should be digested before another is begun. Therefore, we would expect to issue the PRM in late October for a study requiring several months.

II. A Role for Chip Carter

A. Chip Carter, following his father’s initiative, is anxious to get started and do something about world hunger. He will be a valuable asset after a policy is defined. However, until we have a policy, his efforts should concentrate on drawing attention to the broad dimensions of the problem, and stressing the notion of a world responsibility to solve it.

B. Chip will need some staff assistance in whatever he undertakes. Given the nature of his efforts, the best points of contact are probably in the Office of the Assistant to the President for Public Liaison.

C. Specific activities might include:

—Attendance at public hearings by various interest groups.

—Travel as a concerned member of the “world community”.

—Sponsorship of an information clearing house.

D. Care must be taken so that Chip is not seen as a government spokesman during the early stages. His exposure should give him credibility as a spokesman on the issue, and later, when we have a policy for him to support, he will be an effective advocate.

III. A Focus of the Study

A. The concern of the President and Chip Carter is hunger. We have learned through painful experience in this field that well meant efforts to produce short term benefits (i.e., by trying to directly feed people) can often produce counterproductive results. To avoid a “quick fix” solution to an emotional and pressing issue, the study must be broadened to include the full scope of international agricultural policy and many central aspects of domestic agricultural policies so that an effective long-term policy can be developed. While the issue of world [Page 694] hunger is obviously related to the whole spectrum of human needs, the scope of the study must be kept to manageable limits.

B. Consequently, our efforts should center on three sets of issues:

1. Food Production

—Fluctuations in world-wide production, including climate change.

LDC food production.

—Pre- and post-harvest losses.

—Agricultural research.

—Production incentives.

2. Food Distribution

—International trade and commodity policy.

—Domestic and international food reserves—control and access.

—Role of food aid and grants.

—Food distribution systems—efficiency, equity, different available mechanisms.

3. Food Consumption

—Social change—land reform, urgan-rural balance, etc.

—Economic change—purchasing power, income distribution, etc.


These three broad areas may be well studied without in depth consideration of issues of health or population planning.

IV. First Steps

This paper represents a first step towards a full definition of the scope of the PRM. During the interim period between now and October, in addition to monitoring the progress of the related studies mentioned above, we will want to undertake the following:

—Lay the bureaucratic groundwork through detailed consultations with key individuals in the involved agencies.

—Continue to define the study and begin drafting the PRM.

—Collect and classify work that has been done to date in and out of government on this issue and broadly related topics.

—Develop a fairly detailed understanding of just how the many agencies involved in food participate in the policy and implementation process.

—Identify and categorize areas of persistent and acute hunger in the world by country, region, distribution methods, agricultural technology, hunger causes.

[Page 695]

Tab B

Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for Health Issues (Bourne) to the Members of the World Hunger Organizing Committee9


  • World Hunger Initiative

The following are my views on Ms. Tuchman’s discussion paper on the President’s interest in developing a World Hunger Initiative.10

I. The Mechanics of the Study

A. Process. The PRM process is an appropriate policy review mechanism for the National Security Council. It is not clear that this process, in the absence of early public involvement (i.e., a Washington Conference on Food and Nutrition), is the best approach to deal with competing domestic and international interests, both within the government and the private sector, and promote high-level attention and the attendant constituency in the development and execution of a U.S. policy. Therefore, I would propose that this initiative not be viewed as a study, but instead, a policy review which includes involvement by the private sector.

B. Participants. Several other agencies should be included in the process. Suggested additional agencies would include: Department of Transportation which effects domestic price and therefore distribution of international food commodities; the Department of Labor; and perhaps ERDA.

In addition, I believe it is sufficient to mention HEW and not also the National Institutes of Health. Also, I believe that mention of the State Department is sufficient and that special consideration of the U.S. representative to the United Nations which falls under the organizational framework of the Department of State is unnecessary.

With respect to the Executive Office, my view is that the Office of the Special Assistant to the President for Health Issues should be included in the consideration of the institutional entities included as major participants in this review. The Office of Drug Abuse Policy (ODAP) is not relevant to this issue. In addition, and transcending my

[Page 696]

own interest in involvement, is the concern that we have an overabundance of Executive Office representation and that this would have a tendency to detract from the Cabinet-level responsibility. Therefore, I am suggesting that a structure be developed which includes only one EOP individual within the Executive Committee level of any cross-cutting mechanism developed.

Consideration must also be given to other options which are not included in this particular discussion paper, e.g., a public/private cross-cutting mechanism, or a solely private mechanism with private leadership dependent upon the final decision.

My principal concern is that there is no mention of the public’s participation in the development and formulation of the world hunger policy of the United States government. The point was made at the initial meeting chaired by Dr. Brzezinski (and I believe agreed to by him)11 that crystallizing attention on hunger and involving the public would be a useful approach for the President to mobilize constituent support for foreign policy initiatives across the board. This position is not reflected in your paper. Basically I disagree with the tactics regarding the development of this initiative where it concerns the President’s involvement.

C. The Chair. A joint NSC-Domestic Council management mechanism does not meet the need for a single individual to manage, arbitrate, and mediate the government review on world hunger. Furthermore, it detracts from the relevant Cabinet agency leadership. I believe that major visible participation by the Department of State, the Department of Agriculture and AID is essential to this review.

D. Timeframe. Should there be a policy review which involves the private sector, it would be necessary to develop guidelines for the conduct of the review that would take the better part of 8 weeks. However, it is questionable whether it would take more than that time to plan. October 15 seems later than necessary.

II. A Role for Chip Carter

I believe that it is unnecessary for Chip Carter to wait until a government policy is established. As I understand it, Chip wants to be only involved as it relates to the private sector initially. It would be inappropriate to provide him with staff assistants within the government regardless of where that assistance comes from. Therefore my suggestion is:

Not to wait until the completion of the policy, but encourage, advise, and assist Chip in the development of, for example, an informa [Page 697] tion clearinghouse on world hunger, but with assistance from the private sector.

Regarding section II, C, attendance at public hearings of various interest groups seems to be inappropriate. Chip can attend any public hearing he wants to as a citizen of the United States as well as travel throughout the world. More pertinent is his participation as an active spokesman within the private sector articulating a particular point of view. We need a sound proposal for his participation within the private sector. We should encourage him to hire an appropriate consultant to work closely with him so that his efforts are productive and complementary to the activities going on within the government. This strategy will ensure that Chip not be viewed as a government spokesman in the early stages. Later, perhaps, and after the government has initiated a number of actions over the short term or intermediate term of the long-term policy that I assume would be developed, he may be more closely associated with Administration initiatives.

III. Focus of the Study

A. Again, we believe the word “study” will have a negative connotation. The Congress and the private sector have been overwhelmed by a multitude of studies for the past decade on this subject. The approach that I believe is most appropriate includes the development of a basic policy framework, within which any initiative should be developed. My own view is that the expression “international agricultural policy and domestic agricultural policies” is inappropriate. My recommendation is to conduct an International Food and Nutrition Policy Review and to characterize relevant domestic policies as domestic food policies. This approach transcends agriculture assistance, removes the connotation of welfare, and develops a posture of looking at this issue as an international economic issue. A welfare approach would be objectionable to multilateral organizations, the Congress, and the private sector.

B. I believe that the expression “food production” is inappropriate. I recommend that the category be called “food supply.” Furthermore, the statement at the end of this section that these two broad areas could be studied without in-depth consideration of domestic agricultural subsidies, health, nutrition, or population planning, I believe, is inaccurate.

I have given this issue considerable thought and would like to propose an alternative focus for the policy review conducted by a public or public/private organization as follows:

1. Strategy: First, the President should be able, with the assistance and advice of the various agencies in the government and key public interest organizations in the private sector, to develop a set of goals that [Page 698] he wants to move toward by 1980 so that a measure of his Administration’s progress on hunger and malnutrition in foreign countries can be taken by the American public. Broadly stated, the policy review should focus on the following basic areas:

a. Policies to provide more equitable access to available food. People are hungry today not only because there is a scarcity of food but because many are poor; food goes to the highest bidder not the neediest person. Therefore,

—U.S. policies should be designed to encourage poor nations to become more self-reliant in the development of their own agricultural capacity.

—U.S. policies should encourage an increase in income and development for the poorest billion people on earth.

b. Policies to increase the supply of food in relation to demand. This includes the following types of actions:

—Policies to increase food production and rural development in the developing nations.

—Policies to encourage a higher level of food production in the United States.

—Policies to provide food security through our international system of grain reserves. Perhaps serious consideration should be given to an international insurance scheme as now being debated within the World Bank community for this particular problem area.

—Policies to eliminate the waste of food, particularly post-harvest food losses.

c. Policies to provide food or food assistance for those unable to purchase sufficient food for adequate nutrition.

d. Policies to deal explicitly with the organization, management, and resources appropriate for the United States government to implement these policies. This is a universally accepted problem of governments’ inability to come to grips with this important responsibility area.

This would lay the groundwork for a set of goals broadly stated with which the President could establish the basis for specific actions designed to move toward an action-oriented government policy. It is extremely important that we do not send a signal to the Congress or to the American people and our neighbors abroad that the most President Carter is going to do is “study” the issue. At the same time, we certainly would not want to pursue a policy of “quick fixes” as is pointed out in the first draft discussion paper outline. However, this is not to suggest that short-term, intermediate and long-term approaches cannot be developed throughout the process.

Having established a broad policy framework, the President then can decide with minimum delay what kind of measurable goals he wants to move toward so that by 1980 the public and Congress will un [Page 699] derstand what he has accomplished in this critical international human needs area.

2. The following represent actions that could potentially engender the kind of position in 1980 where the President could say he has met specific milestones established in 1977 to pursue the concept of meeting international human needs in the food and nutrition area. They are as follows:

—A redeployment of U.S. foreign assistance resources that reflects the highest priority he has accorded to helping poor countries solve their most pressing food consumption problems. His redeployment might include a “food and nutrition discretionary fund” to allow quick response to crises and to targets of opportunity. It might require consolidating and rationalizing foreign aid, food-for-peace, and other legislation and agencies.

—A significant and measurable decrease in malnutrition-related child mortality in prospect in selected recipient countries as a result of this redeployment of foreign aid resources.

—A procedure to test proposed U.S. policies and programs in terms of their effect on food consumption and nutritional effects (e.g., trade policies that may encourage inappropriate food exports from food-poor countries). This test could also be applied by U.S. government representatives to policies, programs and projects of international organizations.

—A set of U.S. trade policies (e.g., sugar quotas, most favored nation treatment) that take into account opportunities for encouraging countries to adopt equitable food and nutrition policies in their own countries.

—Special food and nutrition consortia of donor countries in place and working with, say, five countries with serious nutrition problems that are committed to actions on food production, distribution and consumption policies, programs and projects.

—An efficiently operating international grain supply and price stabilization system of demonstrable benefit to the poorest countries in backing up national food reserves arrangements.

—A vigorous internationally coordinated food and nutrition research program under way in the U.S. and, especially, in developing countries dealing with those technical and scientific issues that represent potential breakthroughs toward solutions of key problems.

—Government policy machinery with public and private sector representation in place and at work in recommending and overseeing the implementation of changes in the U.S. food systems that will harmonize conflicting interests and objectives as they relate to broad pol [Page 700] icies, key commodities, and the balancing of economic, health, and social policy considerations.

Having told the agencies where he wants to be by 1980, the President must then ask them to tell him what must be done now to get there:

—Mobilize private sector efforts

—Refine the objectives

—Establish an adequate organization

—Propose legislation

—Assignment of lead agency responsibility

—Develop public understanding and support.

Attacking world hunger by mobilizing public support, setting some reasonable attainable 1980 goals (this does not take a year to decide), and assigning a high priority to this human needs initiative can and will foster support for the President’s overall foreign policy objectives.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Subject Chron File, Box 92, Food: 1977. No classification marking. A July 8 memorandum from Press and Omenn to Tuchman indicating that they “fully support the process, participants, and preliminary plans for the proposed PRM”; a copy of the fifth page of the “Toward a PRM on World Food Policy” memorandum (attached below) annotated by Hansen; and a typewritten note indicating that the Domestic Policy Council had approved Tuchman’s memorandum are ibid. Another copy of Tuchman and Denend’s memorandum is in the Carter Library, White House Central Files, Subject Files, Box HE–6, Executive, 1/20/77–9/29/77. According to the attached NSC Correspondence Profile, Tuchman and Denend’s memorandum went to Brzezinski on July 11. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Subject Chron File, Box 92, Subject Chron, Food, 1977)
  2. Presumable reference to a meeting Daft and Tuchman planned to have with Brzezinski following the first meeting of the “food drafting group” on June 29. See Document 217 and footnote 2 thereto. No record of either meeting has been found.
  3. The first draft was not found. The second draft is Tab A.
  4. There is no indication that Brzezinski approved or disapproved the recommendation.
  5. No classification marking.
  6. Daft transmitted a copy of the “Toward a PRM on World Food Policy” memorandum to Eizenstat under a July 9 covering memorandum, in which he indicated that he supported “the general thrust of the proposal, though much work on the detail remains.” Eizenstat wrote on the memorandum: “Lynn: Is a jt. NSC–DC management idea feasible? Shouldn’t we defer to NSC & simply participate & let them chair? Let’s talk.” (Carter Library, Staff Office Files, Domestic Policy Staff, Eizenstat Files, Box 324, World Hunger [2])
  7. Documentation on PRM 8, issued on January 21, is in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, volume III, Foreign Economic Policy.
  8. See footnotes 8 and 9, Document 216.
  9. No classification marking.
  10. See footnote 3 above. Reference is to an earlier draft of Tuchman’s PRM proposal, which has not been found.
  11. See footnote 2 above.