270. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Clark) to Secretary of State Haig and the Administrator of the Agency for International Development (McPherson)1


  • United States International Population Policy, Assistance and Organization

You are requested to provide a report addressing the questions below related to United States policy, foreign assistance and governmental organization as they relate to international population issues.

• What major factors affect population growth and to what extent?

• What expenditures/programs does the U.S. have for analyzing the implications of population growth?

• What assumptions underlie U.S. policy and assistance and what are the bases for these assumptions?

• What are the objectives of U.S. international population policy and programs and their relationship to U.S. security, foreign policy and other interests?

• What are the present and prospective assistance programs with other countries and contributions to private and United Nations organizations in the population area?

• What have U.S. population assistance programs achieved?

• Are these programs and the activities of the organizations consistent with the U.S. Government’s domestic programs, practices or approach in population matters, and would they in effect be acceptable or practiced in the United States? How is such consistency monitored and what actions are taken in the event of inconsistency?

• More specifically, are U.S. funds contributed to countries or to private or international organizations that finance or encourage coercive measures or abortion? If so, what is the rationale for such programs or contributions?

• Assuming economic growth is a major factor in affecting population growth, what kinds of trade-offs or considerations should be weighed in allocating financial assistance between such programs with other countries?

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• What are the interests, policies and activities or programs in the population area of those governments which the United States cooperates with or assists?

• Are U.S. cooperative or assistance programs entirely voluntary on the part of the foreign government? Does the U.S. in any way condition or link other forms of assistance to acceptance of assistance or programs in the population area? What expenditures does the U.S. have for promoting population programs in other countries and should we have expenditures for promotion?

• What policy and program changes have been made since January 1981, and what principles guide U.S. population assistance programs and contributions? How have the policy, programs and principles been articulated by Administration officials to date?

• Should National Security Decision Memorandum 314 of November 26, 1975,2 and Mr. Brzezinski’s memorandum of May 17, 1977 on this subject be revised and/or updated?3 What guidelines or alternatives for United States policy and assistance programs and other contributions in this area may be desirable or merit further consideration? How should the U.S. Government be organized for population matters and where should prime responsibility for international population affairs reside?

Your report addressing these questions should be forwarded for consideration by July 2.4


William P. Clark
  1. Source: Reagan Library, Guhin, Michael A.: Files, Population/Studies (2). Confidential. Copies were sent to Bush, Weinberger, Schweiker, Stockman, Casey, and Harper.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 263.
  3. See footnote 4, Document 263.
  4. See Document 273.