261. Letter From President Carter to the Chairman of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger (Linowitz)1

To Sol Linowitz

I know that the members of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger share my deep concern about the tragic conditions in Cam [Page 857] bodia.2 I also know you are trying to complete your report on the larger problem of world hunger.

However, I need the assistance of the Commission regarding Cambodia. I would like to have you periodically report to me on the status of major activities being carried out by government agencies and private and international organizations to deal with the hunger situation in Cambodia.3

I want to be assured that required actions are being expeditiously carried out and that we identify any possible delays or other problems which might hinder relief efforts.

Obviously, you will not substitute for those organizations undertaking relief activities nor for any required Congressional oversight; however, by identifying possible problem areas promptly and directly to me, we will be able to assure that essential relief measures continue.

I hope the Commission can undertake this task with minimum disruption to its already important work and I look forward to your assistance.


Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, White House Central Files, Box FG–224, Subject Files—Executive, FG–311, 11/1/79–1/20/80. No classification marking.
  2. The Vietnamese invasion of Kampuchea (Cambodia) in December 1978 decimated most of the rice crop, thus jeopardizing an already tenuous food supply. During 1979, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) began coordinating a large-scale humanitarian assistance program for Kampuchea on behalf of the United Nations and other concerned governments. For background information on this effort, see Nimetz’ November 8 statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Arms Control, Oceans, International Operations, and Environment, printed in Department of State Bulletin, December 1979, pp. 1–4. In a statement released on October 15, the President announced a $7 million pledge, including $5 million worth of P.L. 480 food, to assist Kampuchea. (Public Papers: Carter, 1979, Book II, pp. 1924–1925) Following an ICRC/UNICEF joint appeal for aid made on October 19, Carter, on October 24, directed the release of another $3 million in refugee aid funds, requested that Congress enact a supplemental Food for Peace appropriation totaling $20 million, committed $9 million in refugee funds to the Government of Thailand to support its Khmer refugee program, indicated support for Zablocki’s proposal to authorize an additional $30 million for relief efforts, and commented that he had asked the PCWH to recommend the “next steps” in meeting hunger needs. (Ibid., pp. 2011–2012)
  3. See Document 266.