277. Memorandum From the Administrator of the Agency for International Development (McPherson) to Secretary of State Shultz1


  • UNFPA Contribution Procedures

I wanted to provide you some background on current discussions with the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). We are discussing procedures with them for assuring that U.S. funds are not used by them to fund abortion and involuntary sterilization. In [Page 777]fairness to UNFPA, they have made representations to us that they are not funding such activity.

I should note that we view this as an issue applicable to the entire UNFPA program, not as limited to or targeted at any specific country. Because Congressional and public interests have high-lighted UNFPA work in China, we are trying to be very careful in our discussions to keep the focus on country programs which we support.

Our contribution to UNFPA is a Congressionally earmarked portion of AID’s population account. Congress routinely earmarks more than we propose. This year the earmark is $38,000,000. AID’s contributions are commingled with all other contributions into a common fund and support UNFPA’s programs in a large number of countries. Although we “attribute” our commingled funds to projects not involving abortion, critics continue to argue that U.S. financial support does result in a share of U.S. funds supporting each of UNFPA’s projects.

Since AID, as a general matter, is prohibited by law from funding abortion and involuntary sterilization, we believe that we should avoid such funding, when practical, even when done through multilateral organizations.

Accordingly, we are trying to devise a mechanism whereby we can avoid sitting in judgment over each national program conducted by UNFPA, and yet assure that AID funds do not flow to prohibited uses.

One mechanism would be to establish a separate bank account which would fund activities the U.S. clearly supports. Other mechanisms might be possible and we are anxious to look at all options. In the meantime, we have not sent the latest check to UNFPA.

We will keep you advised.

M. Peter McPherson2
  1. Source: Department of State, Country Files, Miscellaneous Population Files, 1974–1992, Lot 93D393, UNFPA—General—1982–1985. No classification marking.
  2. McPherson signed his initials above his typed signature.