241. Memorandum From Guy Erb of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • Draft Report of World Hunger Working Group

Some time ago Peter Bourne circulated a draft of the report of the World Hunger Working Group,2 an inter-agency body staffed by private experts and government officials. The report’s findings are critical of many current US food and agricultural programs: the report cites the lack of research priorities, inadequate implementation of development goals, deficiencies in organization and management within the government, and a frequent conflict between U.S. foreign investment and food and agricultural needs of developing countries. The report makes a large number of proposals but does not set priorities. Most government agencies were not pleased by the report. Since a considerable amount of line-by-line editing would have been required to pull the re [Page 770] port completely into line with current agency policies, such an effort would have deprived the report of much of its “punch” and antagonized food activists. After considering the report, Owen, Thornton and I decided to focus on the draft decision memo for the President that Bourne and Fill were preparing.3

A preliminary version of that memo included options which repeated those that Henry Owen and I will address in the NSC memo on foreign assistance organization (to be considered by the PRC and then forwarded to the President).4 Owen and I met with Bourne and Fill and recommended that all decision options related to the organization of foreign assistance be referred to the NSC memo and that questions relating to the Administration’s hunger initiative remain in the Bourne memo. We now await the next version of the memo on which I expect NSC and other agencies will have a further opportunity to comment before it goes forward.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Subject Chron File, Box 93, Food: 1978. Limited Official Use. Sent for information. Copies were sent to Owen and Thornton. A handwritten notation on the memorandum indicates Brzezinski saw it. Inderfurth also initialed the memorandum. Another copy is in the Carter Library, White House Central Files, Subject Files, Box HE–6, Confidential, HE–3, 1/20/77–1/20/81. According to an NSC Correspondence Profile attached to this copy of the memorandum, Brzezinski noted it on January 18.
  2. See Docuemnt 231.
  3. Presumable reference to Bourne’s draft decision memorandum to the President. See footnote 2, Document 240.
  4. A note at the conclusion of Bourne’s December 22 draft memorandum reads: “I recognize this area overlaps with the foreign aid organization paper now being prepared by Henry Owen, and therefore it will eventually require a consolidation of views. However, it is included in this document at this time in view of the President’s mandate to the World Hunger Working Group to recommend policy options which ‘assure a decision-making process, management, and resources adequate to implement these policies.’ This also provides those members of the World Hunger Working Group, members of Congress and staff, and the private sector who are not participating in the preparation of the Owen paper to have their views reflected in this important area.” (National Archives, RG 59, Bureau of International Organization Affairs/International Development Assistance/Agriculture Division, Subject Files of FAO, US Mission, International Food Organizations, Lot 88D305, Box 2, World Hunger Initiative)