Action to Develop World-Wide
Political and Popular Commitment to Population
A far larger, high-level effort is needed to develop a greater
commitment of leaders of both developed and developing countries to
undertake efforts, commensurate with the need, to bring population
growth under control.
In the United States, we do not yet have a domestic population
policy despite widespread recognition that we should supported by
the recommendations of the remarkable Report of the Commission on
Population Growth and the American Future.
Although world population growth is widely recognized within the
Government as a current danger of the highest magnitude calling for
urgent measures, it does not rank high on the agendas of
conversations with leaders of other nations.
Nevertheless, the United States Government and private
organizations give more attention to the subject than any donor
countries except, perhaps, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. France makes
no meaningful contribution either financially or verbally. The USSR
no longer opposes efforts of U.S. agencies but gives no support.
In the LDCs, although 31 countries, including China, have
national population growth control programs and 16 more include
family planning in their national health services at least in some
degree the commitment by the leadership in some of these countries
is neither high nor wide. These programs will have only modest
success until there is much stronger and wider acceptance of their
real importance by leadership groups. Such acceptance and support
will be essential to assure that the population information,
education and service programs have vital moral backing,
administrative capacity, technical skills and government
1. Executive Branch
a. The President and the Secretary of State should make a point
of discussing our national concern about world population growth in
meetings with national leaders where it would be relevant.
b. The Executive Branch should give special attention to briefing
the Congress on population matters to stimulate support and
leadership which the Congress has exercised in the past. A program
for this purpose should be developed by S/PM with H and AID.
2. World Population Conference
a. In addition to the specific recommendations for action listed
in the preceding sections, U.S. agencies should use the prestige of
the World Population Plan of Action to advance all of the relevant
action recommendations made by it in order to generate more
effective programs for population growth limitation. AID should
coordinate closely with the UNFPA in trying to expand resources for
population assistance programs, especially from non-OECD,
The U.S. should continue to play a leading role in ECOSOC and
General Assembly discussions and review of the WPPA.
3. Department of State
a. The State Department should urge the establishment at U.N.
headquarters of a high level seminar for LDC cabinet and high level
officials and non- governmental leaders of comparable responsibility
for indoctrination in population matters. They should have the
opportunity in this seminar to meet the senior officials of U.N.
agencies and leading population experts from a variety of
b. The State Department should also encourage organization of a
UNFPA policy staff to consult with leaders in population programs of
developing countries and other experts in population matters to
evaluate programs and consider actions needed to improve them.
c. A senior officer, preferably with ambassadorial experience,
should be assigned in each regional bureau dealing with LDCs or in
State's Population Office to give full-time attention to the
development of commitment by LDC leaders to population growth
d. A senior officer should be assigned to the Bureau of
International Organization Affairs to follow and press action by the
Specialized Agencies of the U.N. in population matters in developing
e. Part of the present temporary staffing of S/PM for the
purposes of the World Population Year and the World Population
Conference should be continued on a permanent basis to take
advantage of momentum gained by the Year and Conference.
Alternate View on 3.c.
c. The Department should expand its efforts to help Ambassadorial
and other high-ranking U.S.G. personnel understand the consequences
of rapid population growth and the remedial measures possible.
d. The Department would also give increased attention to
developing a commitment to population growth reduction on the part
of LDC leaders.
e. Adequate manpower should be provided inS/PM and other parts of
the Department as appropriate to implement these expanded
4. A I D. should expand its programs to increase the
understanding of LDC leaders regarding the consequences of rapid
population growth and their commitment to undertaking remedial
actions. This should include necessary actions for collecting and
analyzing adequate and reliable demographic data to be used in
promoting awareness of the problem and in formulating appropriate
policies and programs.
5. USIA. As a major part of U.S. information policy, the
improving but still limited programs of USIA to convey information
on population matters should be strengthened to a level commensurate
with the importance of the subject.
(END OF NSSM 200)
National Security Council
Memorandum (NSSM) 314
November 26, 1975
NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20506
CONFIDENTIAL (GDS) November 26, 1975
National Security Decision Memorandum 314
TO: The Secretary of State
The Secretary of the Treasury
The Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Agriculture
The Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare
The Administrator, Agency for
SUBJECT: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for United
States Security and Overseas Interests
The President has reviewed the interagency response to NSSM 200
and the covering memorandum from the Chairman of the NSC Under
Secretaries Committee. He believes that United States leadership is
essential to combat population growth, to implement the World
Population Plan of Action and to advance United States security and
overseas interests. The President endorses the policy
recommendations contained in the Executive Summary of the NSSM 200
response, with the following observations and exceptions:
Care must be taken that our AID program efforts are not so
diffuse as to have little impact upon those countries contributing
the largest growth in population, and where reductions in fertility
are most needed for economic and social progress.
Research and Evaluation
An examination should be undertaken of the effectiveness of
population control programs in countries at all levels of
development, but with emphasis on the LDC's. The examination should
include an evaluation of AID program efforts as well as other
efforts by national or international groups. The study would attempt
to determine the separate effect of the population program, taking
account of other economic or social factors which may have also
Research on broader issues should be undertaken examining the
factors affecting change (or lack of change) in the birth rate in
Funding for Population Programs:
The President desires that a review be undertaken quickly to
examine specific recommendations for funding in the population
assistance and family planning field for the period after FY 1976.
The President wishes a detailed analysis of the recommended funding
levels in the NSSM 200 study bearing in mind his desire to advance
population goals. This analysis should include performance criteria
to assure that any additional funds are utilized in the most
effective manner. The appropriate level of funding of multilateral
programs which effectively support this objective should be included
in this review. The Chairman of the USC is responsible for preparing
this analysis which is due 60 days from the date of this NSDM.
The Role of Other Countries:
Emphasis should be given to fostering international cooperation
in reducing population growth in pursuing the recommendations of the
World Population Plan of Action. It is important to enlist
additional contributions from other developed and newly rich
countries for bilateral and multilateral programs.
Basic Approach to Developing Countries' Population Programs:
Leaders of key developing countries should be encouraged to
support national and multilateral population assistance
The objective of the United States in this field is to work
closely with others rather than to seek to impose our views on
others. Our efforts should stress the linkage between reduced
population growth and the resultant economic and social gains for
the poorest nations. In all these efforts, we should recognize the
basic dignity of the individual and his or her right to choose
freely family goals and family planning alternatives.
National and World Population Goals:
The President believes that the recommendation contained in
paragraph 31(c) of the Executive Summary dealing with the
announcement of a United States national goal is outside the scope
of NSSM 200. Of course, domestic efforts in this field must continue
in order to achieve worldwide recognition that the United States has
been successfully practicing the basic recommendations of the World
Plan of Action and that the nation's birthrate is below the
replacement level of fertility. In order to obtain the support of
the United States citizens for our involvement in international
population programs, it is important that they recognize that
excessive world population growth can affect domestic problems
including economic expansion as well as world instability.
Concerning the consideration of World Population Goals in
paragraph 31(b), it should be understood that the general goal of
achieving global replacement levels of fertility by the year 2000
does not imply interference in the national policies of other
The Under Secretaries Committee, in conjunction with all
appropriate agencies of the Executive Branch, may wish to make
further recommendations to the President on these subjects.
Coordination of United States Global Population
Implementation of a United States worldwide population strategy
will involve careful coordination. The response to NSSM 200 is a
good beginning, but as noted above, there is need for further
examination of the mix of United States assistance strategy and its
most efficient application.
The President, therefore, assigns to the Chairman, NSC Under
Secretaries Committee, the responsibility to define and develop
policy in the population field and to coordinate its implementation
beyond the NSSM 200 response.
The Chairman is instructed to submit an initial report within six
months from this date on the implementation of this policy, with
recommendations for any modifications in our strategy, funding
programs, and particularly, the identification of possible
deficiencies. Thereafter the Chairman is instructed to submit
reports to the President annually.
The Chairman is authorized to request other appropriate bodies
and agencies to assist him in this task as required. For the purpose
of implementing this NSDM, the Under Secretaries Committee should
include' in addition to the addressee members, ex officio
representatives of the following agencies:
Council on Environmental Quality
Office of Management and Budget
The President's Science Adviser
cc: The Chairman, NSC Under Secretaries Committee
The Director, Office of Management and Budget
The Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers
The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Director of Central Intelligence
The Chairman, Council of Environmental