Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of the administration of Jimmy Carter. This volume documents human rights policy and significant humanitarian affairs from 1977 to 1980, focusing on the institutionalization of human rights policy within the United States Government; world hunger and food policy; international health, water policy, population growth, and international women’s issues. It does not include documentation on specific human rights problems; for U.S. human rights policy with a particular country or region, readers should consult the relevant geographically-focused volume of the Foreign Relations series. Readers interested in the intellectual foundations of U.S. human rights policy should consult Foreign Relations, Volume I, Foundations of Foreign Policy. For information on North-South relations, economic summits, and overall U.S. trade policy, see Foreign Relations, Volume III, Foreign Economic Policy. Readers should also consult Foreign Relations, Volume E–7, Documents on United Nations; Law of the Sea for documentation on other transnational global issues, including space and telecommunications, trust territories, narcotics, and the Olympics.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, Volume II

This volume documents the Carter administration’s efforts to define and implement a broad-based human rights policy. It also illustrates various steps undertaken by the Carter administration to ameliorate hunger, launch a global health initiative, and advocate for women’s rights. The section on human rights focuses on overall human rights policy, including the establishment of the Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs within the Department of State, the creation of human rights coordinating and review groups, issuance of a Presidential Directive on human rights, institutionalization and standardization of human rights reporting, and pursuit of human rights within the United Nations and other multilateral venues. The section on world hunger and food policy documents efforts to revitalize the Food for Peace program (Public Law 480) and connect it more firmly to human rights concerns, the establishment of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger, the administration’s support for both domestic and international grain reserves and a food corps, and the U.S. re[Page VIII]sponse to famine in Kampuchea and East Africa. The international health, population growth, and international women’s issues compilation chronicles the administration’s efforts to initiate a global health program emphasizing food aid, nutrition, family planning, community-based health care, and disease prevention and treatment. It documents the U.S. global population strategy, a strategy that advocated women’s rights, improved living conditions, and integration of family planning in community life. The compilation also illustrates the administration’s efforts to implement the recommendations generated as an outgrowth of the 1975 International Women’s Year conference and details the U.S. preparations for the 1980 United Nations World Conference for Women. Other issues documented in this compilation include U.S. support for the United Nations Water Decade and the preparation and release of the Global 2000 Report, which assessed current environmental and global trends and posited probable outcomes by the century’s end.


The editor wishes to acknowledge the assistance of Ceri McCarron, Albert Nason, Brittany Parris, and James Yancey of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library; David Langbart, Don Mcllwain, and Herbert Rawlings-Milton of the National Archives and Records Administration; and Deborah Miller of the Minnesota Historical Society. The editor would also like to thank former Vice President Walter F. Mondale for granting permission to use documentation from his files at the Minnesota Historical Society. The Historical Staff of the Central Intelligence Agency helped to arrange access to CIA files.

The editor conducted the research for this volume and selected and annotated the documentation under the supervision of Kathleen B. Rasmussen, Chief of the Global Issues and General Division, and the direction of Susan C. Weetman, the former General Editor of the Foreign Relations series. Dean G. Weatherhead coordinated the declassification review under the supervision of the Chief of the Declassification and Publishing Division Carl Ashley. Erin F. Cozens and Thomas I. Faith performed the copy and technical editing. Do Mi Stauber Inc. prepared the index.

Kristin L. Ahlberg, Ph.D.