272. Memorandum From the Special Representative for Economic Summits (Owen) to President Carter1


  • Your Response to the Report of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger

You received with my memorandum of March 26 an advance copy of the Hunger Commission’s final report.2 It was not possible to schedule the meeting with you that I mentioned in that memorandum, so Sol has decided to release the report on Saturday, April 26, for publication Sunday.3 This release should be accompanied by a presidential statement of appreciation, coupled with your issuance of instructions for Executive Branch review of the Commission’s proposals and submission of recommendations and other views for your decision.

Attached, for your approval, are:4

(1) A draft presidential statement, which has been cleared by the speechwriters.

(2) A directive which we would issue on your instructions, charging Tom Ehrlich, Director of IDCA, with responsibility for orga [Page 907] nizing Executive Branch review and submission of recommendations dealing with international activities.


Memorandum From President Carter to Secretary of State Vance, Secretary of Agriculture Bergland, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (McIntyre), and the Director of the International Development Cooperation Agency (Ehrlich)5


  • Review of the Report of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger

The President has requested that the Director of the International Development Cooperation Agency arrange for thorough review by all directly interested Executive Branch departments and agencies of recommendations regarding international action of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger. The conclusions of this review, regarding both immediate and deferred action, should be submitted by August 1, 1980. Preliminary comments should be submitted by early June, before the Venice Summit.

Jimmy Carter
[Page 908]


Draft Statement6


The Report of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger represents a challenge to all Americans. I commend the members of the Commission for their comprehensive analysis and thoughtful proposals.

As Chairman Sol Linowitz has noted, few of the measures recommended by the Commission will be easy, and many of the most important will take time. Some will be difficult to implement quickly in the face of fiscal restraints imposed by our fight against inflation. But I agree with the Commission that our national security and our fundamental values compel us to mount a growing effort to build a world without hunger. I intend to make that effort.

I have today directed the appropriate Departments and Agencies of the federal government to examine promptly the Commission’s proposals and to recommend to me both immediate and longer term action. The Commission’s report will be a spur to new achievement; it will not gather dust in the files.

I intend to share the Commission’s basic message with other national leaders in June at the Economic Summit Conference in Venice, where I will make specific proposals for collective action.

I urge the Congress and all Americans to join me in a renewed commitment to mobilize the world’s resources in a larger, more effective, and continuing effort to overcome world hunger.7

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Subject Chron File, Box 93, Food: 1979–1980. No classification marking. The President initialed at both the top and the bottom of the page. Brzezinski also initialed the memorandum. A notation in an unidentified hand reads: “all taken care of Saturday” (April 26). Another copy is in the Carter Library, White House Central Files, Subject Files, Box FG–224, Executive, FG–311, 11/1/79–1/20/80.
  2. Owen, under a March 27 handwritten note to Brzezinski, transmitted a copy of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger’s report to the President under a March 26 covering memorandum, in which he commented that Linowitz could formally present the report to Carter at a meeting of religious and other leaders, as previously suggested in both his February 8 and March 10 memoranda to the President (see Documents 268 and 271). After summarizing various key conclusions, Owen noted: “You can respond initially to the Commission’s international food security recommendations by signing the new Food Aid Convention and urging passage of the Food Security Bill, e.g., at a suitable ceremony, as suggested in my earlier memo. Other explicit responses can be deferred pending your consideration of the results of interagency reviews of the Report, which we will arrange.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Subject Chron File, Box 93, Food: 1979–1980)
  3. The final report is entitled Overcoming World Hunger: The Challenge Ahead, Report of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger—March 1980 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1980). Press reports on the final report include Warren Brown, “World Hunger Threat to Peace, Presidential Panel Reports,” The Washington Post, April 27, 1980, p. A–18 and “Panel Urges Action to Avert a World Food Crisis,” The New York Times, April 27, 1980, p. A–23. In June 1980, the Commission released a 29-page abridged version of the report and a 201-page Technical Papers volume (both Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, June 1980).
  4. The President approved both recommendations.
  5. No classification marking.
  6. No classification marking.
  7. A notation at the end of the Presidential statement reads: “ok, J.” The statement was released on April 26; see Public Papers: Carter, 1980–81, Book I, p. 777.