333. Memorandum From Secretary of State Vance to President Carter1


  • S&T Cooperation with Developing Countries

This memorandum asks you to make certain decisions regarding U.S. positions for the UN Conference on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD) which begins August 20, 1979 at Vienna. The primary focus of the U.S. presentation at this Conference will be the proposed U.S. Institute for Scientific and Technological Cooperation (ISTC), which has now been approved by the House and Senate. Three other issues, which were reviewed by a PRC on July 23,2 require decisions by you.

1. Bradford Morse, head of the UN Development Program, has suggested that the UNDP create a special $250 million two-year fund to provide scientific and technological aid to developing countries. (This would be an alternative to the developing countries’ more grandiose proposal for a $2 billion UN science and technology fund.) The PRC [Page 1058] consensus was that the U.S. Delegation should support the UNDP proposal in principle, provided that the new program focuses on training and other S&T activities that do not duplicate or overlap with ISTC’s programs. However, the PRC did not reach a decision on the level of U.S. financial support for such a program. Hence, the U.S. delegation is not now in a position to make a commitment at UNCSTD on a U.S. contribution to the fund.

After further consideration of the funding issue, I believe that it would be preferable for the U.S. delegation to be able to state at the Conference that the U.S. would be prepared to contribute up to $25 million to the fund annually for two years, provided certain conditions were met and subject to the approval of our Congress. The U.S. contribution would in any event not exceed 20% of whatever total was agreed upon for the fund.

I recommend that you authorize the U.S. delegation to indicate at UNCSTD that the U.S. would contribute up to $25 million annually for two years to a UNDP special fund for science and technology provided that the following conditions are met:

—The fund’s activities would not duplicate ISTC, UNDP or other multilateral assistance efforts in science and technology, and would meet a legitimate need.

—The other donor states, including members of OPEC, contribute a fair and reasonable share; and

—Consultation with key members of the Appropriations Committees indicates a generally favorable Congressional reaction.

These provisos will ensure that the U.S. does not commit itself until it is clear that the fund will be of genuine value to the LDC’s. At the same time being able to support the initiative will greatly strengthen the hand of the U.S. delegation in shaping the nature of the fund and inducing other nations to contribute their full share. Father Ted Hesburgh, who will lead the U.S. delegation at Vienna, strongly agrees with supporting the UNDP initiative; he wants the U.S. delegation to be well equipped to exercise real leadership at the Conference. Clem Zablocki, who will be a member of the delegation (which includes 20 Congressmen and 1 Senator) favors a specific U.S. commitment to the fund and also counsels prior consultations with the Appropriations Committees. With a favorable decision from you we can consult with key members and go forward if the Congressional reaction is receptive.3

2. The PRC consensus was that the U.S. should propose that the UN Conference call, as the seven heads-of-government did at the Tokyo Summit, for:

[Page 1059]

—an increase in bilateral S&T aid to help LDCs expand their energy production; and

—the World Bank to coordinate these national aid activities, so that they will add up to a coherent and concerted program.4

3. The PRC consensus was that the U.S. should urge the UN Conference to call for greatly expanded national and multilateral aid for agricultural research in LDCs, as agreed at Tokyo. To this end, the Chairman of the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research should be asked to develop plans for a significant increase in real terms over five years in the support provided by the Group to the highly effective International Agricultural Research Centers. In these plans the Chairman would be asked to give particular attention to promoting the application of research results in developing countries. The U.S. would not commit itself, at this time, to a specific increase in its CGIAR contribution. The FY 1979 U.S. contribution to the CGIAR is $26 million. In the future this contribution will come from the budget of the ISTC.5

I intend to submit to you next week a proposed Presidential Directive to U.S. agencies to maximize their LDC-oriented S&T,6 which could be cited by our delegation at the Vienna Conference as further evidence of our commitment to doing more for the developing countries in this area.

  1. Source: Carter Library, Records of the Office of the Staff Secretary, Presidential File, Box 141, 8/7/79. Confidential.
  2. See Document 332.
  3. Carter did not indicate his preference with respect to this recommendation.
  4. Carter indicated his approval of this recommendation.
  5. Carter indicated his approval of this recommendation.
  6. Not found. No Presidential Directive on science and technology was issued.