230. Memorandum From President Carter to the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies1

As you know, I have repeatedly emphasized as a major goal of U.S. foreign policy the importance of meeting basic human needs—in particular, the alleviation of world hunger and malnutrition. In order to develop a major initiative in this area, I have formed a World Hunger Working Group headed by my Special Assistant, Peter Bourne, to coordinate a White House study of world hunger with other U.S. domestic and international food and agricultural policies. Peter Bourne, representing the Working Group, will participate on the soon to be formed [Page 735]Cabinet Level Committee on Food and Agricultural Policy, chaired by the Secretary of Agriculture.2

The Working Group consists of Executive Office Organizations—National Security Council (NSC), Domestic Council (DC), White House Intergovernmental Relations Office (WHIGA), Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Council of Economic Advisors (CEA), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of the Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs (OSACA), Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ), and Office of the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations (STR)—as well as representation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), State, Agency for International Development (AID), Treasury, and Commerce.

The purpose of the Working Group is to prepare a list of options to combat world hunger and malnutrition with the full participation of several departments and agencies. This analysis will be the basis for a Presidential statement outlining the following goals:

—to provide more equitable access to available food and to improve nutritional well-being;

—to increase the supply of food relative to need;

—to offer food assistance to those unable to purchase enough food for adequate nutrition;

—to assure a decision-making process, management, and resources adequate to implement these policies.

Departments and agencies affected by this memorandum should submit to the chairman of the Working Group their recommendations by close of business on October 21st.3

The Working Group will review the recommendations and develop a set of U.S. government policy options designed to make a significant impact on world hunger. Departments and agencies will have an opportunity to comment on the Working Group’s list of options before it is submitted to me.

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I would appreciate your cooperation to enable the Working Group to complete its task on or about November 11th.4

Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P770172–2412. No classification marking. Another copy is in the Carter Library, White House Central Files, Subjects Files, Box HE–6, Executive, HE–3, 9/30/77–12/31/77. Earlier drafts of the memorandum are in the 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, 3/4/77–9/28/77 and Carter Library, Staff Office Files, Domestic Policy Staff, Eizenstat Files, Box 324, World Hunger [1].
  2. In a separate September 30 memorandum to the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, the President charged Bergland with establishing a Working Group on Food and Agricultural Policy. The Working Group’s membership would consist of assistant secretary-level representation from the Departments of State, Treasury, and Agriculture; the Office of the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations; AID; CEA; OMB; and the NSC. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P770172–2419; printed in Public Papers: Carter, 1977, Book II, pp. 1695–1696) In an October 20 memorandum to Vance, Blumenthal, Califano, Strauss, Gilligan, Schultze, McIntyre, Brzezinski, Daft, and Bourne, Bergland indicated that Deputy Secretary of Agriculture John White would chair the Group and that Hjort and Daft would share secretariat duties. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P770181–0569)
  3. See Document 231.
  4. See also “President Orders Study on Easing World Hunger,” The Washington Post September 30, 1977, p. A–22.