229. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for Domestic Affairs and Policy (Eizenstat) to President Carter 1


  • World Hunger/International Food and Agricultural Policy

This memorandum will comment on the following related matters:

TAB A 1) Your request that I advise on Peter Bourne’s August 26, 1977 memorandum commenting on Secretary Bergland’s excellent August 15 report on International Food and Agricultural Policy;2
TAB B 2) Your comment on our August 30 recommendation that the Secretary of Agriculture form a working group on food and agricultural policy.3 On that recommendation you said the following: “Stu—I don’t like this—Prefer single coordinator (you, Schultze, etc.) with Bourne and all others involved. Subcommittees might be formed to [Page 733]contribute to one Agricultural/Food analysis.”; and
TAB C 3) Peter Bourne’s memorandum of September 14, 1977 proposing that he chair the world hunger working group.4

While in many obvious areas there is an overlap between the world hunger issue and the development of a food and agricultural policy, both foreign and domestic, there are also marked differences.

Thus, in developing a coherent national and international food and agricultural policy it seems clear to me that the Department of Agriculture should be the lead agency because of the technical issues involved—price supports, set-asides, international agricultural agreements, buffer stocks, import quotas, and the like.

With regard to world hunger and Peter’s September 14 memorandum, I have no opinion on whether the world hunger working group should be co-chaired by Peter and NSC, as recommended by NSC and OMB, or simply by Peter. Peter makes a valid point in arguing that NSC leadership would be viewed by some interests as linking the issue to military security.5

It seems to me that this working group, perhaps under Peter, might serve as a subcommittee to the broader food and agricultural policy coordinating committee. This would permit Peter to run the world hunger study but would let the broader and more technical food and agricultural policy issues follow Secretary Bergland’s lead. It would also tie the two activities together.

I have met with Peter6 and he agrees with the suggestion that you form a subcommittee on world hunger with the subcommittee reporting directly to you rather than through the overall committee. Also, I have checked this with Agriculture and they see no problem.

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Assuming you decide to sign the farm bill (signing ceremony now planned for 10:30 a.m. Thursday),7 you might want to announce formation of these groups at the signing ceremony.8

  1. Source: Carter Library, Staff Office Files, Domestic Policy Staff, Eizenstat Files, Box 324, World Hunger [1]. Confidential; Not for Circulation. A notation in the President’s handwriting reads: “Stu—p 2 of memo 2nd paragraph, last sentence add (after ‘to me’) ‘and to the Sec. of Agriculture.’ JC.” Earlier drafts of the memorandum with Eizenstat’s revisions and other handwritten corrections are ibid.
  2. See Document 223.
  3. See Document 224 and footnote 1 thereto.
  4. See Document 227.
  5. In a September 16 memorandum to the President, Brzezinski indicated his support for creation of the Working Group on World Hunger and commented that the NSC Staff had collaborated with Bourne’s office concerning the proposals outlined in Bourne’s September 14 memorandum (See Document 227). He noted, “Since I desire to continue that collaboration most effectively, I do wish to reiterate my interest in seeing the NSC designated as the co-chairman of the Working Group. The Department of State as well as the Office of Management and Budget supports this view.” (Carter Library, White House Central Files, Subject Files, Box HE–6, Executive, HE–3, 9/30/77–12/31/77)
  6. According to a typewritten note attached to another copy of Eizenstat’s memorandum, Eizenstat and Bourne met on September 24. (Carter Library, Staff Office Files, Domestic Policy Staff, Eizenstat Files, Box 324, World Hunger [1]) No record of this meeting has been found.
  7. September 29. See footnote 7, Document 224.
  8. The signing took place in the Rose Garden at the White House at 10:30 a.m. The President limited his remarks to specific aspects of the Food and Agriculture Act of 1977 and did not announce the formation of either the Working Group on World Hunger or the Working Group on Food and Agricultural Policy. For his remarks, see Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents October 3, 1977, pp. 1433–1435. According to a September 29 memorandum from Fill to Bourne, Granum had asked the President if he planned to announce the establishment of the working groups; Carter indicated his preference for a press release. (Carter Library, Staff Office Files, Special Assistant for Health Issues—Peter Bourne Files, White House Office Files on World Hunger Group, Box 50, Government Agency Hunger Reports, 9/29/77–10/21/77) Later that day, the President noted: “I signed the agriculture bill, about $600 million more than I had wanted but the best we could get. It’s far-reaching and has some very good features in it. This has been a tough one, and I’m glad we don’t have to do this every year.” (Carter, White House Diary p. 110)