280. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Tarnoff) to the Acting Staff Secretary of the National Security Council (Hornblow)1


  • Retention of Interagency Task Force on International Population Policy

The Department of State suggests the retention of the existing Interagency Task Force on International Population Policy. The reason for retaining the Task Force is that there is work to be done on the population issue, work that requires organized interagency cooperation.


For over ten years, the Agency for International Development has run a program of technical assistance to developing countries seeking to cope with their population problems. AID is now working to integrate its population activities into other aspects of its assistance programs. The Department of State has given increasing diplomatic attention to population issues, bilaterally and multilaterally, including the convening of the World Population Conference in Bucharest in 1974.2 State is now considering the inclusion of the population issue as an element of the North-South dialogue. The Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the CIA are concerned with the security implications which population growth has for our country. The Departments of Agriculture, Treasury, and the Council of Economic Advisers have interests in the economic and food supply issues, and more recently, the Council on Environmental Quality has had an active interest because of the environmental implications involved. There is a continuing requirement for coordinating and meshing these interests and programs.

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The agenda we envision if the Task Force is retained includes four basic areas:

1. Greater attention to the interaction of population and development, focusing on those aspects of economic development (income generation for lower income groups), social policy (greater opportunities for women), and political organization (grass-roots participation) that tend to reduce desired family size and improve living standards.

2. Improvement in evaluating the impact and cost-effectiveness of our present population assistance program (a requirement stemming from NSDM 314).3

3. Continuation of monitoring activities in the key large population growth countries as indicated by NSDM 314, and development of a strategy for each of those countries, engaging our diplomatic and assistance efforts.

4. Enlistment of greater support for population programs on the part of other industrial nations and international organizations (e.g., World Bank, Regional Development Banks, UN Development Programme).

Finally, a coordinated and on-going effort is needed to adjust our overall development policy in order to place appropriate emphasis on LDC self-help measures, and to improve the scope and effectiveness of population programs.

Peter Tarnoff
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P770061–0539. Unclassified. Transmitted to Tarnoff under an April 15 covering memorandum from Froebe, in which she outlined the disposition of outstanding Under Secretaries Committee items, commenting: “I’m sure you didn’t realize when you accepted your new job that one of your duties would be that of father to the Under Secretaries Committee orphans!” Froebe recommended that Tarnoff approve and sign the memorandum to Hornblow. Tarnoff added the following handwritten comment on the April 15 memorandum: “Louise: Thanks. I’m glad that most of the orphans are finding homes . . . elsewhere. Peter.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P77061–0543)
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E–14, Part 1, Documents on the United Nations, 1973–1976, Documents 115117, for additional information concerning the 1974 Bucharest World Population Conference.
  3. NSDM 314, November 26, 1975, specified a coordinated approach to international population policy issues. See ibid., Document 122.