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224. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for Domestic Affairs and Policy (Eizenstat) and Lynn Daft of the Domestic Policy Staff to President Carter 1

SUBJECT

  • Establishment of an Interagency Working Group on Food and Agricultural Policy

Secretary Bergland has recommended that you establish an Interagency Working Group to assist in the formulation of food and agricultural policy.2

We endorse this recommendation. We think it offers a means of more systematically involving the several agencies that have a stake in the formulation of agricultural policy. Also, we think it can be done in a way that will complement the new decision process now being developed. In addition, it underscores your commitment to Cabinet government.

Peter Bourne raised a concern regarding the role of this working group vis-à-vis Peter’s role in developing an Administration initiative on world hunger. We see no problem in that regard. We have talked to Peter and in accord with his concerns, we have modified the proposed memorandum from you to the relevant agencies to make it clear that this working group is not the Administration’s vehicle for developing a comprehensive world hunger policy. The Interagency Working Group, as we envision its operation, would concentrate on the more routine agricultural policy issues that are continually arising . . . e.g. decisions regarding loan rates, set-asides, import quotas, marketing quotas, and the like. The development of major Administration initiatives, such as the one on world hunger, would normally be handled by other means. [Page 718]It is possible, of course, that this group could be asked to contribute to the development of such an initiative by assessing a part of the overall issue. But we do not see it giving rise to jurisdictional squabbles.

Frank Moore approves the proposal, but suggests that his office be given an opportunity to notify key Congressmen in advance. We think that is a good suggestion.

A proposed memorandum is attached.3

  1. Source: Carter Library, Staff Office Files, Domestic Policy Staff, Eizenstat Files, Box 324, World Hunger [2]. No classification marking. A notation in the President’s handwriting reads: “Stu—I don’t like this—Prefer single coordinator (You, Schultze, etc) with Bourne & all others included. Sub Committees might be formed to contribute to one Ag/Food analysis. J.C.” Attached as Tab B to Document 229. Earlier versions of the memorandum are in the Carter Library, Staff Office Files, Domestic Policy Staff, Eizenstat Files, Box 324, World Hunger [2] and in the Carter Library, White House Central Files, Subject Files, Box HE–6, Executive, 1/20/77–9/29/77.
  2. Bergland presented his proposal in a July 12 letter to the President, to which he attached a draft Presidential memorandum, which directed the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a Working Group on Food and Agricultural Policy chaired by the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. Copies of Bergland’s July 12 letter and the draft Presidential memorandum are attached to August 5 and July 14 versions of the copy of the memorandum printed here in the Carter Library, Staff Office Files, Domestic Policy Staff, Eizenstat Files, Box 324, World Hunger [2].
  3. Attached but not printed. The final version of the memorandum is Document 230.