337. Memorandum From the Vice President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Clift) to Vice President Mondale1


  • Preliminary Recommendations of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger

The following is forwarded in response to your request for a brief review of the preliminary recommendations of the Presidential Com [Page 1068] mission on World Hunger.2 In its preliminary report, the Commission presents only recommendations affecting the organization of the U.S. Government, levels of development assistance, alleviation of famine caused by war, and domestic feeding programs.

The Commission’s preliminary recommendations are that:

—The United States make the elimination of hunger the primary focus of its relationships with the developing countries, beginning with the decade of the 1980s.

—The Director of the International Development Cooperation Agency be accorded Cabinet-level status, so that the objectives of equitable economic development can be more effectively integrated into U.S. national security policy and planning.3

—The United States move as rapidly as possible toward the United Nations’ goal of 0.74 percent of Gross National Product as this nation’s net disbursement of concessional economic assistance. The Commission further recommends that this increase be limited to development (not security or military) assistance, targeted selectively at poor nations strongly committed to meeting basic human needs and rights through self-reliant development, and that appropriations for this purpose be funded on a multi-year basis, and “untied” from domestic economic or political interests. In order to reach the target of 0.7 percent GNP as quickly as possible, the Administration must propose a substantial increase in its next fiscal year submission, with the intent of doubling5 economic development assistance within a few years. The Congress must be prepared to approve the request for increased funding. The Commission emphasizes that the increase must focus on the economic and technical aspects of development assistance and not on security assistance.

—The United States Senate ratify the Additional Protocols to the 1949 Geneva Convention, adopted by the International Conference on Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflict.6

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—The Commission recommends that increased resources be provided to those domestic hunger programs which have a demonstrated record of success, and that a systematic effort to assess the nutritional status of Americans be undertaken. Congress and the Department of Agriculture will have to take steps to assure that food assistance programs, particularly food stamps, respond to increases in inflation and unemployment.

  1. Source: Carter Library, Donated Material, Papers of Walter F. Mondale, National Security Issues, Box 87, National Security Issues—World Food [6/30/1977–12/17/1979]. No classification marking. Sent for information.
  2. Linowitz submitted the Commission’s preliminary report to Carter under cover of a December 6 letter. (Ibid.) Substantial portions of the preliminary report are printed in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. II, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Document 263. It was released to the public on December 10. (Seth S. King, “U.S. Panel Asks Doubling of Aid to Food-Short Lands,” The New York Times, December 11, 1979, p. A11)
  3. Mondale wrote “No” in the margin adjacent to this point.
  4. Mondale underlined the number “0.7.”
  5. Mondale underlined the word “doubling.”
  6. Meeting in Geneva in June 1977, the Conference reached agreement on adding two protocols to the 1949 Geneva Convention, one pertaining to foreign conflicts and the other to domestic conflicts. (“Meeting on Revising Rules of War Ends in Geneva After Four Years,” The New York Times, June 11, 1977, p. 5)