289. Minutes of NSC Ad Hoc Group on Population Policy Meeting1

Minutes of the NSC Ad Hoc Group on Population Policy Meeting, July 7, 1977

I. Attendance

The Chairman called the first meeting of the NSC Ad Hoc Group on Population Policy to order at the State Department on July 7, 1977, and the following representatives were present:

  • Ambassador Marshall Green, Chairman
  • Dr. Jessica Tuchman, National Security Council
  • Mr. Lindsey Grant, Department of State
  • Ms. Liane Atlas, Department of the Treasury
  • Mr. John H. Rowe, Department of Defense
  • Mr. Harry Wilhelm, Department of Agriculture
  • Mr. Meyer Zitter, Department of Commerce
  • Dr. S. Paul Ehrlich, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
  • Mr. Sander Levin, Agency for International Development
  • Dr. Gerry Hawkins, U.S. Information Agency
  • Mr. Richard Kolsky, Council of Economic Advisors
  • Major Daniel S. Costello, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Dr. Paul F. Bente, Jr., Council on Environmental Quality
  • Dr. Warren E. Thompson, National Science Foundation
  • Mr. Gilbert Omenn, Office of Science and Technology Policy
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In addition, the following were present:

  • Mr. Clifford R. Nelson, Department of State, OES/ENP/PO
  • Mr. Samuel Baum, Department of Commerce, Census
  • Mr. Elliot Schwartz, Department of the Treasury, OASIA
  • Mr. William Falkner, Department of State, IO

1. As this was the first meeting of the NSC Ad Hoc Group on Population Policy, introductions were made. The Chairman pointed out that the First Annual Report of the Interagency Task Force on Population Policy (now renamed the NSC Ad Hoc Group on Population Policy) was accepted by the White House,2 and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs had recently reaffirmed basic population policy as set forth in NSDM–314.3

II. Procedural Items

2. The Chairman suggested that, given their related interests, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the International Health Office at the White House under Dr. Bourne might be included on the Task Force. There was no objection to the inclusion of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, but it was suggested that we wait on the International Health Office pending the reorganization of the White House Staff, now in progress.

3. The Chairman reminded the Ad Hoc Group that it had two basic requirements contained in the policy papers.4 One called for the development of performance criteria and the other for the presentation of an annual report on population matters. Given the lapse in meetings of the Group and its predecessor Task Force, he suggested that the Group set the end of the year as a deadline for the submission of the second Annual Report.5 The representative of the NSC Staff pointed out that there were a number of ongoing studies related to foreign assistance as well as North/South issues which would be due by the middle of September anticipating probable development-related initiatives in the early fall. At the same time, also on the basis of these studies, OMB would be making some key decisions in the Budget Cycle, and the annual report should be a vehicle for making sure population issues were adequately covered in all these efforts.

4. In describing the content of the Annual Report and his feeling that our embassies in the field should be consulted, the Chairman pointed out that it would be difficult to telescope the process too much [Page 958] and still have a useful report. The State Department representative pointed out that other ongoing studies such as the Year 2000 study of population, resources and the environment would not be ready for the fall initiatives but hopefully would be the basis for longer term thinking.6 The representative of the Department of Agriculture felt that there were resources in the private sector groups such as the Population Council which would make useful contributions to the Ad Hoc Group’s work.

5. The representative of AID suggested that the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Group should talk with Mr. Van Dyk, who is chairing an interagency development assistance study group to ascertain what role population will play in their analyses. The Treasury Department representative felt that, whatever the time frame of the report, it should be based on an evaluation of our present population assistance efforts and indicate what new directions our assistance should take to improve performance.

6. It was agreed that the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Group would consult with Mr. Van Dyk and other members of his Study Group and work with them to ensure proper attention to population issues in the strategies as they are being developed. The Chairman agreed to get into Mr. Van Dyk’s hands as soon as possible a paper setting forth key points for consideration by the Study Group.7

7. It was also agreed that, with a somewhat shorter deadline than previously envisioned, the Chairman would draft an outline for the next annual report which hopefully could be submitted in October. He would also prepare as soon as possible a telegram asking key Embassies for responses to questions about progress and prospects in population programs.8 This would provide useful background for the annual report which he hoped could be more country-specific than the previous one. Several members pointed out that, if such field replies could be received in the next several weeks, they might also be of use in connection with the various interagency development studies and recommendations referred to by the NSC member. The Chairman said he would try to get telegraphic replies back as soon as possible, though he noted the inevitable delays in such matters.

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III. Presidential Study on Population, Resources, and Environment

8. Mr. Lindsey Grant, the State Department representative, made a presentation on the study requested by the President in his Environmental Message of May 23.9 The emphasis of the study will be the relationship of population, resources, and the environment. While a prospectus has not been finalized, there is broad agreement on what should be involved. The base of the project would be population projections, changing consumption levels, and technological change. Those changes will in turn have impacts on resource requirements and the environment. Under those broad areas a variety of topics will be covered, along the following lines:

Population and consumption levels

  • Technological change (which affects resource requirements and pollution levels)
  • Consumption requirements:
    • Food (cultivated, livestock, fisheries)
    • Fibers (natural and artificial)
    • Other resources
  • Resources and inputs:
    • Farmland
    • Rangeland (including semi-desert)
    • Forests
    • Minerals
    • Water (quantity and quality)
    • Energy
  • Waste disposal (from consumption and production—urban agriculture, industrial, energy byproducts, radioactive materials)
  • Climate (both as a variable in the above inputs and as it may be influenced by the activities described)
  • Environmental implications including:
    • Atmospheric pollution
    • Ocean contamination
    • Resource degradation (land, forests, water, and minerals)
    • Ecosystem degradation (interaction of issues above plus biotic impoverishment)
    • Pollution and health

9. The procedure envisioned for the study will be the appointment of an overall Executive Director reporting to a steering group composed of the principal agencies. Each topic above will be developed by a “group captain” who will have wide latitude in developing that section of the report. While the “group captain” will probably come from a [Page 960] government agency most closely involved in the topic, he can seek the assistance of others as he sees fit who have expertise in these areas. Many of the agencies represented on this Ad Hoc Group will have to be involved in various stages of the process. A key step will be the integration of all these elements and an effort to demonstrate the impact of decisions taken in one sector upon the other sectors. The hoped-for result would be to develop a regular means of increasing our understanding of the lateral implications in these important areas of decisions taken in other sectors.

IV. Performance Criteria

10. The Chairman then briefly introduced the materials on performance criteria which had been circulated to the members.10 He asked all the members of the Ad Hoc Group to study the presentation on performance criteria (which had been painstakingly worked out between State and AID in consultation with Treasury) and obtain whatever internal clearances they felt necessary. If any agency has major disagreements or proposed changes, they should be in contact with Ambassador Green’s office for a discussion of them. After a period of three weeks, if there are no major disagreements or changes, the Chairman will forward the criteria to the NSC in fulfillment of the requirement. The Ad Hoc Group will then be faced with questions concerning the application of the criteria and with what countries it should be used. At a future session, this issue can be taken up.

11. Having covered the agenda, the Chairman asked if any of the representatives had any issues to raise. There were no additional issues but the Chairman urged any members of the Group to contact him with ideas which they might have on subjects that the Group should take up.

12. It was agreed that, in order to advance the date of the annual report, there might have to be another meeting of the Ad Hoc Group later in the summer.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Global Issues—Oplinger/Bloomfield Subject File, Box 41, Population Policy: 7/77–2/80. No classification marking. A directory of Ad Hoc Group members is attached but not printed. Simmons sent a copy of the minutes to Tuchman, Grant, Nachmanoff, Rowe, Wilhelm, Levine, Shultz, Levin, Sanders, Hawkins, Nordhaus, Costello, Andrews, Bente, Averch, Keatley, Mink, Van Dyk, and Froebe under a July 18 memorandum, in which he noted that he had drafted the minutes on July 8. (Ibid.)
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E–14, Part 1, Documents on the United Nations, 1973–1976, Document 125.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 280.
  4. Not further identified.
  5. See Document 308.
  6. See Document 337.
  7. Attached but not printed is a July 13 memorandum from Green to Van Dyk describing the nature of the population problem, summarizing U.S. policy, and outlining program funding.
  8. Telegram 167895 to multiple diplomatic and consular posts, July 19, asked for information regarding host country demographics, population programs and policies, non-population programs, and food production. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770268–0920)
  9. See footnote 4, Document 284.
  10. Not found.