231. Editorial Note

In advance of President Jimmy Carter’s issuance of the memorandum creating the World Hunger Working Group (WHWG) on September 30, 1977 (Document 230), President’s Special Assistant for Health Issues Peter Bourne initiated forward planning for the completion of the Presidential Policy Options Memorandum regarding the world hunger initiative. Bourne had earlier established a Hunger Staff Task Force, headed by his assistant Gerald Fill, to manage the procedural aspects of the Working Group. In a September 21 memorandum, Lynn Daft of the Domestic Policy Staff sent President’s Assistant for Domestic Affairs and Policy Stuart Eizenstat a draft schedule, prepared by Bourne, which anticipated that the WHWG would submit a formal policy options paper to the President at the end of October. Daft commented: “If his [Bourne’s] enthusiastic energy could be effectively harnessed with those who have knowledge and experience in this area, the President would be far better served.” (Carter Library, Staff Office Files, Domestic Policy Staff, Eizenstat Files, Box 324, World Hunger [1])

In an October 3 memorandum to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Secretary of the Treasury W. Michael Blumenthal, Secretary of Agriculture Robert Bergland, Secretary of Commerce Juanita Kreps, Agency for International Development Administrator John Gilligan, President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Zbigniew Brzezinski, Eizenstat, Secretary to the Cabinet Jack Watson, Special Representative for Trade Negotiations Robert Strauss, Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget James McIntyre, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Charles Schultze, the President’s Science Adviser and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy Frank Press, Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality Charles Warren, and Special Assistant to the President for Consumer Affairs Esther Peterson, Bourne drew attention to the first Working Group meeting, scheduled for October 7, and attached staff guidance to aid in [Page 737] the preparation of individual agency policy recommendations. The guidance highlighted five priority areas for consideration and recommendations—food production and consumption in developing countries, research and technical collaboration, food reserves, food aid, and trade and investment—and suggested that agencies could propose additional areas for discussion. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P770170–1503) Bourne’s undated letter to private sector addressees also requested “recommendations on what key actions you and your associates believe the U.S. Government should undertake to alleviate world hunger and malnutrition.” (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) In both letters, Bourne stressed the short turnaround the Working Group faced in collating agency responses and preparing a concise statement for Presidential review. For former Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman’s response to Bourne’s letter, see Document 237. The Department of State contribution to the World Hunger Working Group is printed as Document 236.

The World Hunger Working Group prepared several versions of a draft options memorandum containing Consolidated Policy Recommendations and circulated the drafts to relevant agencies for comment, prior to the submission of a final version to the President. Copies of these undated drafts are in the Carter Library, Staff Office Files, Special Assistant for Health Issues—Peter Bourne, White House Office Files on World Hunger Group, Boxes 50 and 51, Government Agency Hunger Reports, 11/77–12/77 and Government Agency Hunger Reports, 1/78–9/23/78. The Department of State response to the first draft of the World Hunger Working Group report, November 25, indicated that Bourne circulated this draft prior to November 22. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P770185–1072) The summary of the report is printed as Document 245. The final report was published as a 60-page document entitled World Hunger and Malnutrition: Improving the U.S. Response (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1978).