The National Security Council
The National Security Council is designated by law as the highest body within the executive branch of the United States government charged with the planning and implementation of U.S. foreign policy, including the national economic and military assistance programs, intelligence gathering activities, and covert actions.
The Council is composed of the President, the National Security Advisor to the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense, and may also include the Secretaries and Under Secretaries of other executive and military agencies if the President so chooses.
The function of the Council is to advise the President with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign and military policy relating to national security and to coordinate the activities of the military services and other agencies of the United States as these relate to the national interest.
The Council was established under the National Security Act of 1947 to assess and appraise the objectives, commitments and risks of the United States in relation to actual and potential military and security situations, and to make recommendations to the President concerning such risks and appraisals.
It is also responsible for the preparation of Annual National Security Strategy Reports to Congress, which include comprehensive descriptions of national security strategies concerning the worldwide goals and objectives pertaining to the vital interests and national security of the U.S.; the foreign policy, worldwide commitments and national defense capabilities of the U.S.; proposals for the short-term and long-term use of political, economic, military and other instruments of national power to promote the interests of the U.S. and evaluations of the capability of these elements of national power to support the implementation of the national security strategy.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the issue of population growth in developing countries from the perspective of the national interests of the United States and its global military, economic and political strategy.
The United States and its Western allies are declining as a percentage of world population. Whereas 6 percent of the world's people resided in the United States in 1950, the U.S. accounted for only 5 percent of the world's people in 1988, and its population is expected to be no more than 4 percent of the world total by the year 2010. On the other hand, developing countries today comprise about three-fourths of the world population, but they are expected to increase to about 81 percent of the world's people within 20 years, according to a 1988 study prepared for the Office of the Director of Net Assessment at the Department of Defense.
On August 10, 1970, President Richard M. Nixon's National Security Advisor, Henry A. Kissinger, signed a decision directive titled "The New U.S. Foreign Assistance Program" (National Security Decision Memorandum 76). That memorandum stated that the "downward trend in the level of U.S. development assistance should be reversed, and the present level should be raised substantially." It proposed that "U.S. economic policies toward the lower income countries should be coordinated by an interagency Council or committee, at the Under Secretary level, chaired by a Presidential Assistant in the White House." And it recommended that the U.S. propose a United Nations study of "world population problems and measures required to deal with them, as a top priority item in the Second Development Decade."
"Implications of Worldwide Population Growth
for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests"
The Basic National Security Council Study
On April 24, 1974, Henry A. Kissinger sent to the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Director of Central Intelligence, the Deputy Secretary of State and the Administrator of the Agency for International Development, with a copy to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a memorandum titled "Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests" (National Security Study Memorandum 200).
That memo stated: "The President has directed a study of the impact of world population growth on U.S. security and overseas interests. The study should look forward at least until the year 2000, and use several alternative reasonable projections of population growth."
The memorandum requested that those agencies address such issues as "trade problems the U.S. may face arising from competition for resources" and the likelihood that population growth or imbalances will produce disruptive foreign policies and international instability."
It requested opinions on "new initiatives" that might be used to "focus international attention on the population problem" and ways in which the U.S. might "improve its assistance in the population field."
The requested study was specifically to "focus on the international political and economic implications of population growth rather than its ecological, sociological or other aspects," and to include recommendations for "dealing with population matters abroad, particularly in developing countries..." The study was to be coordinated by the Under Secretaries Committee of the National Security Council, and was to have been completed by May 29, 1974 "for consideration by the President."
The study, which was almost 250 pages in length and was also called National Security Study Memorandum 200, was completed on December 10. 1974. Following a review of the study, Kissinger, on October 16, 1975, sent a confidential White House memorandum to the President (by then Gerald Ford) which included the December 10, 1974 study (also NSSM 200). In that memo, he recommended that the President issue a decision memorandum confirming the need for "US leadership in world population matters" and endorsing the policy recommendations of the study, with some minor exceptions. Those additional recommendations consisted of a proposed review of family planning funding levels; "strong emphasis" on motivating leaders of "key developing countries" to accept family planning activities; a series of yearly reports; and a significant level of funding for other developing nations not on the list of "key" countries. That memo included a proposed decision memorandum for the President's signature.
On November 26, 1975, National Security Decision Memorandum 314 (NSDM 314) was issued which endorsed both the policy recommendations in the study and those additional points proposed by Kissinger. It was signed by Brent Scowcroft, and directed to the Secretaries of State, Treasury, Defense,
Agriculture and H.E.W. and the Administrator of the Agency for International Development, with copies to the NSC Under Secretaries Committee, the Directors of OMB and Central Intelligence, and the heads of the Council of Economic Advisers, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Council on Environmental Quality.
National Security Decision Memorandum 76 was declassified on December 18, 1989; the April 1974 Kissinger memorandum was declassified in July of 1989. An additional NSSM 200, a recommendation written on White House stationery to President Ford's Staff Secretary James Connor by L. William Seidman, was declassified on April 18, 1990.
The main research document was declassified by the White House in July of 1989, and released to the public by the National Archives June 26, 1990.
The NSSM 200 study presented a demographic analysis of population growth both in the developed world and in less developed countries (LDCs), with emphasis on the long-range implications of LDC population growth for U.S. political and strategic interests. It also made recommendations for increasing the extent and the effectiveness of U.S. population control efforts overseas, focusing on means for encouraging leaders of developing countries to adopt fertility reduction programs and promoting acceptance of those programs at the grassroots level.
The document has less to do with the internal effects of population growth on less-developed nations ("Malthusianism") than with its projected external impact on U.S. strategic interests. It addressed such issues as the relationship between increasing LDC populations and future U.S. access to resources and favorable trade policies; potential shifts in the world's constituency that might favor the emerging nations of the southern hemisphere; the projected need for larger amounts of foreign aid to maintain stable relationships with less-developed nations; the possibility of accelerated momentum for anti-U.S. or anti-imperialist movements as a consequence of larger numbers of persons in poor nations; and the potential for nationalization or seizure of U.S. commercial investments.
The introduction notes that demands made by LDC populations on world resources "will cause grave problems which could impinge on the U.S., both through the need to supply greater financial support and in LDC efforts to obtain better terms of trade through higher prices for exports."
The study also warns of a "growing political and strategic role" for one developing country in which the U.S. has a particular interest, and a "growing power status ... on the world scene" for another.
The study also identified 13 "key countries" in which there is "special U.S. political and strategic interest." Those nations, listed on page 15 of the introduction, are: India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand, Egypt, Turkey, Ethiopia and Colombia.
The document also makes reference to the comparative high cost of making a politically-significant contribution to the economies of less developed nations, noting "how much more efficient expenditures for population control might be than [would be funds for] raising production through direct investments in additional irrigation and power projects and factories" (page 53). An alternative scenario — that "a series of crop disasters could transform some of them [LDCs] into classic Malthusian cases with famines involving millions of people" — is presented on page 33.
The report acknowledges (page 44-45) that pre-industrialized nations have historically experienced increased human growth during times when their economies have undergone transition:
"Economic theory indicates that the pattern of consumption of raw materials varies with the level of economic activity. Examination of the intensity-of-use of raw materials (incremental quantity of raw material needed to support an additional unit of GNP) show that after a particular level of GNP is reached, the intensity of use of raw materials starts to decline. ...
"Most developed countries have reached this point of declining intensity-of-use. For other countries that have not reached this stage of economic development, their population usually goes through a stage of rapid growth prior to industrialization. This is due to the relative ease in the application of improved health care policies and the resulting decline in their death rates, while birth rates remain high."
The analysis concludes that the loss of markets for U.S. goods that would result in decreased population growth overseas is offset by the continuing advantage the U.S. would enjoy by maintaining a semblance of control over world order.
"From the viewpoint of U.S. interests, such reductions in LDC food needs would be clearly advantageous. They would not reduce American commercial markets for food since the reduction in LDC food requirements that would result from slowing population growth would affect only requests for concessional or grant food assistance, not commercial sales. ... [This] would improve the possibilities for long-term development and integration into a peaceful world order" (page 31).
The introduction (page 11) also attributes to "population factors" the seeds of "revolutionary actions" and the "expropriation of foreign interests." Thus it concludes that the "political consequences of current population factors in the LDCs" (page 10, introduction) may create "political or even national security problems for the U.S."
One special security category addressed by the study concerns U.S. access to minerals which are necessary for military and industrial uses and for which the U.S. must rely on imports. Where these "strategic and critical" materials are concerned, therefore, U.S. economic stakes in the developing world coincide with military considerations.
"The location of known reserves of higher-grade ores of most minerals favors increasing dependence of all industrialized regions on imports from less developed countries. The real problems of mineral supplies lie, not in basic physical sufficiency, but in the politico-economic issues of access, terms for exploration and exploitation, and division of the benefits among producers, consumers, and host country governments" (page 37).
The study (page 37-38) advises that in the absence of political stability in LDCs (or reliable pro-U.S. policies) ...
... "concessions to foreign companies are likely to be expropriated or subjected to arbitrary intervention. Whether through government action, labor conflicts, sabotage, or civil disturbance, the smooth flow of needed materials will be jeopardized. Although population pressure is obviously not the only factor involved, these types of frustrations are much less likely under conditions of slow or zero population growth."
Thus, continues the document (page 43), the control of foreign populations becomes a matter of U.S. industrial and military security:
"Whatever may be done to guard against interruptions of supply ... the U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries. That fact gives the U.S. enhanced interest in the political, economic, and social stability of the supplying countries. Wherever a lessening of population pressures through reduced birth rates can increase the prospects for such stability, population policy becomes relevant to resource supplies and to the economic interests of the United States."
The study points out that "[c]onflicts that are regarded in primarily political terms often have demographic roots" (page 11, introduction), and adds that "revolutionary actions and counter-revolutionary coups" that "result in expropriation of foreign interests ... [are] not in the best interests of either the investing country or the host government." Thus, the "political consequences of current population factors in the LDCs," states the report (page 10, introduction), may create "political or even national security problems for the U.S."
Another significant security concern expressed by this study involves the potential for a shift in the balance of political influence or even military power to the developing world as a consequence of LDC population growth. In this regard, the study focuses on long-term projections of the effects of such demographic transitions on U.S. security.
The memorandum notes, for example, that even with a successful population intervention program in place "population growth rates are likely to increase appreciably before they begin to decline" (page 20). Population growth, it notes, will have different effects in different parts of the continent, and those nations rich in natural resources will be best able "to cope with population expansion" (page 21).
"Nigeria falls into this category. Already the most populous country on the continent, with an estimated 55 million people in 1970, Nigeria's population by the end of this century is projected to number 135 million. This suggests a growing political and strategic role for Nigeria, at least in Africa south of the Sahara (page 21)."
The population of Egypt, too, is projected to increase significantly. "The large and increasing size of Egypt's population is, and will remain for many years, an important consideration in the formulation of many foreign and domestic policies not only of Egypt but also of neighboring countries" (page 22).
Brazil, like Nigeria, "clearly dominates the continent [South America] demographically," according to the document (page 22), having a population that is likely to equal that of the U.S. by the end of the century. Thus the study warns of a "growing power status for Brazil in' Latin America and on the world scene over the next 25 years" (page 22).
The study also acknowledges that the U.S., with six percent of the world's people, consumes a third of its goods.
Population Control: the Political Factors
The document includes a brief discussion of the role of population in social aspirations, conflict and political change. Such factors as racial, ethnic, cultural and religious differences — particularly when there are "differential rates of population growth among these groups" — are examined as underlying causes for shifts in policies or power. Thus differences in the growth rates of populations may play the major role in bringing about political changes and conflicts — whereas "(p)opulation density, the 'overpopulation' most often thought of in this connection, is much less important" (page 67).
Another consideration is the relative youth of high fertility societies as opposed to low-fertility societies. Younger people, who are more prevalent in high-fertility populations, the study advises, can more readily be persuaded to attack such targets as multinational corporations and other foreign influences (i.e. "imperialism") (page 69).
Anti-Western sentiment is illustrated by a U.S. Embassy report from Dacca, Bangladesh (Dacca 3424, June 19, 1974), quoted in detail on pages 7980 of the study:
"Bangladesh is now a fairly solid supporter of third world positions, advocating better distribution of the world's wealth and extensive trade-concessions to poor nations. As its problems grow and its ability to gain assistance fails to keep pace, Bangladesh's positions on international issues likely will become radicalized, inevitably in opposition to U.S. interests on major issues as it seeks to align itself with others to force adequate aid" (page 80).
The document advises "that the President and the Secretary of State treat the subject of population, growth control as a matter of paramount importance..." (page 18). Moreover, executive endorsement of the recommendations — contained in the study included "a global target of replacement fertility levels by the year 2000" (NSDM 314).
A central theme of the study is the need for greater expenditures to combat population growth in the developing world. While it concedes that "bilateral assistance to some of these countries may not be acceptable" (introduction, page 15), it nonetheless proposes an increased USAID population control budget as well as a larger donation for population assistance to multilateral agencies. Three areas of special emphasis are suggested: making population a part of host-country development plans; ensuring wide access to contraceptive technology, and the implementation of those foreign assistance projects "offering the greatest promise of increased motivation for smaller family size" (introduction, page 17).
Because of "the major foreign policy implications of the recommended population strategy" and the "wide agency interests in this topic" (page 25, introduction), the study recommended that responsibility for policymaking and executive review of population activities be vested in the Under Secretaries Committee of the National Security Council. An alternate proposal, that population programs be under the Development Coordinating Council (page 26, introduction) was rejected in National Security Decision Memorandum 314.
The study stressed the need to encourage population policies in the developing countries, and proposed specific recommendations for assuring the cooperation of LDC leaders in implementing a global population strategy. These recommendations fall into four general categories: the use of multilateral agencies to rather than direct U.S. involvement; integration of family planning with other development concerns and diplomatic efforts to persuade leaders of the benefits to them in population planning; supplying economic aid to reward nations who demonstrate good family planning performance; and direct coercion.
The problem of resistance on the part of LDC leaders to population control programs is presented in the context of reactions to a World Population Plan of Action (WPPA), which was presented at the World Population Conference in Bucharest in August of 1974, and to which "the U.S. had contributed many substantive points" (page 86).
"There was general consternation, therefore, when at the beginning of the conference the Plan was subjected to a slashing, five-pronged attack led by Algeria, with the backing of several African countries; Argentina, supported by Uruguay, Brazil, Peru, and, more limitedly, some other Latin American countries; the Eastern European group (less Romania); the PRC and the Holy See" (page 86-87).
Those objections to the WPPA were based on demands for a "new international economic order" as the foundation for social and economic development and also on the belief that attempts by industrialized nations to influence domestic policies were a violation of their sovereignty (page 87). Thus the study stresses the need to apply work with foreign governments and their leaders in a subtle way. "The beliefs, ideologies and misconceptions displayed by many nations at Bucharest indicate more forcefully than ever the need for extensive education of the leaders of many governments, especially in Africa and some in Latin America. Approaches [for] leaders of individual countries must be designed in the light of their current beliefs and to meet their special concerns" (page 96).
An important part of this effort was to involve multilateral agencies that can, in the words of the report (pages 113-114), "encourage further action by LDC governments and other institutions..." To this end, the U.S. should work with other developed countries ...
"... in an international collaborative effort of research in human reproduction and fertility control covering bio-medical and socio-economic factors.
"The US further offered to collaborate with other interested donor countries and organizations (e.g., WHO, UNFPA, World Bank, UNICEF)" in other activities which could include family planning (page 113-114).
Efforts to motivate leaders would be supplemented by an effort to sustain support for such, activities within the U.S. legislative branch, according to the study: "Thus there is need to reinforce the positive attitudes of those in Congress who presently support US activity in the population field and to enlist their support in persuading others" (page 117).
The use of other agencies and branches of government — as well as multilateral institutions — will also play a part in making host countries more receptive to U.S. (bilateral) population control initiatives, particularly in countries where diplomacy is of little practical effectiveness or where there is resistance to population projects: The study notes, for example, that some of the 13 priority countries have already become "receptive to assistance" for population activities, yet in other high priority countries "U.S. assistance is limited by the nature of political or diplomatic relations" — India and Egypt, for example — "or by the lack of strong government interest in population reduction programs (e.g. Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil). In such cases, external technical and financial assistance, if desired by the countries, would have to come from other donors and/or from private and international organizations (many of which receive contributions from AID)" (pages 127-128).
Another directive of the study requests that the U.S. "(a)rrange for familiarization programs at U.N. Headquarters in New York for ministers of governments, senior policy level officials and comparably influential leaders from private life" (introduction, pages 20-21).
Discussion of the role of the World Bank appears in the study as well, although the Bank was not directly involved in providing population assistance at the time. (See page 148: "Involvement of the Bank in this area would open up new possibilities for collaboration," and page 149, "With a greater commitment of bank resources and improved consultation with AID and UNFPA, a much greater dent could be made on the overall problem.").
The document states that the "(U.S. Department of) State and AID played an important role in establishing the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) to spearhead a multilateral effort in population as a complement to the bilateral actions of AID and other donor countries" (page 121). It notes repeatedly the need for the indirect approach to population control in the developing world, and advises, for instance (page 106): "There is also the danger that some LDC leaders will see developed country pressures for family planning as a form of economic or racial imperialism; this could well create a serious backlash."
It acknowledges that the use of multilaterals to achieve U.S. population objectives would require that additional amounts of money be provided to those institutions until such time as population assistance becomes accepted by LDC leaders. But the use of multilateral agencies to achieve the U.S. foreign policy objectives serves an additional purpose:
"It is vital that the effort to develop and strengthen a commitment on the part of the LDC leaders not be seen by them as an industrialized country policy to keep their strength down or to reserve resources for use by the 'rich' countries. Development of such a perception could create a serious backlash adverse to the cause of population stability ..." (page 114).
"The US can help to minimize charges of an imperialist motivation behind its support of population activities by repeatedly asserting that such support derives from a concern with: (a) the right of the individual to determine freely and responsibly their number and spacing of children ... and (b) the fundamental social and economic development of poor countries. ..." (page 115).
The multilateral organization is also thought to have special credibility in generating a commitment to population control among leaders of the developing world.
"Development of a worldwide political and popular commitment to population stabilization is fundamental to any effective strategy. This requires the support and commitment of key LDC leaders. This will only take place if they clearly see the negative impact of unrestricted population growth and believe it is possible to deal with this question through governmental action. The U.S. should encourage LDC leaders to take the lead in advancing family planning. ..." (introduction, page 18).
Such efforts, of course, take time, but the study reports that control of foreign population growth is a unique aspect of U.S. foreign policy in which long-range planning is crucial: "The proposed strategy calls for a coordinated approach to respond to the important U.S. foreign policy interest in the influence of population growth on the world's political, economic and ecological systems. What is unusual about population is that this foreign policy interest must have a time horizon far beyond that of most other objectives" (page 100).
Embassies, too, can potentially use their intelligence capabilities to seize any opportunity for promoting population activities in non-cooperative LDCs.
"The USG would, however, maintain an interest (e.g. through Embassies) in such countries' population problems and programs (if any) to reduce population growth rates. Moreover, particularly in the case of high priority countries to which U.S. population assistance is now limited for one reason or another, we should be alert to opportunities for expanding our assistance efforts and for demonstrating to their leaders the consequences of rapid population growth and the benefits of actions to reduce fertility" (page 128).
The study cautions that, "We must take care that our activities should not give the appearance to the LDCs of an industrialized country policy directed against the LDCs" (introduction, pages 21-22), and further suggests that LDC population management efforts assist "LDC leaders in integrating population factors in national plans, particularly as they relate to health services, education, agricultural resources and development ..." and "relate population policies and family planning programs to major sectors of development: health, nutrition, agriculture, education, social services, organized labor, women's activities, and community development" (introduction, page 21). Later in the study, the concept of integrating family planning with popular health services is suggested as a way to eliminate suspicion, not only on the part of host country officials, but among the general public as well.
"Finally, providing integrated family planning and health services on a broad basis would help the U.S. contend with the ideological charge that the U.S. is more interested in curbing the numbers of LDC people than it is in their future and well-being. While it can be argued, and argued effectively, that limitation of numbers may well be one of the most critical factors in enhancing development potential and improving the chances for well-being, we should recognize that those who argue along ideological lines have made a great deal of the fact that the U.S. contribution to development programs and health programs has steadily shrunk, whereas funding for population programs has steadily increased. While many explanations may be brought forward to explain these trends, the fact is that they have been an ideological liability to the U.S. in its crucial evolving relationships with the LDCs" (page 177).
The study emphasizes the use of persuasion to promote LDC cooperation in population programs, coercion is suggested with regard to AID projects: Page 20 of the introduction suggests that methods "to strengthen population planning in national development plans (should include) (c)onsideration of population factors and population policies in all Country Assistance Strategy Papers (CASP) and Development Assistance Program (DAP) multi-year papers."
Conditioning food aid on population performance is also proposed on page 106 of the study.
"There is also some established precedent for taking account of family planning performance in appraisal of assistance requirements by AID and consultative groups. Since population growth is a major determinant of increases in food demand, allocation of scarce PL 480 resources should take account of what steps a country is taking in population control as well as food productions. In these sensitive relationships, however, it is important in style, as well as substance to avoid the appearance of coercion" (page 106-107).
In addition to the emphasis on using foreign assistance money to create conditions conducive to population control, the report includes an "alternative" viewpoint which holds that "mandatory programs may be needed and that we should be considering these possibilities now" (page 118). Questions raised by such a proposal include:
"Would food be considered an instrument of national power? Will we be forced to make choices as to whom we can reasonably assist, and if so, should population efforts be a criterion for such assistance?
"Is the US prepared to accept food rationing to help people who can't/won't control their population growth?
"... Should the choice be made that the recommendations and the options given below are not adequate to meet this problem, consideration should be given to a further study and additional action in this field as outlined above" (pages 119-120).
Implementation of the Population Strategy
The report points out two major causes for high birthrates, even when government policies are favorable to a population plan: First, some persons simply do not have knowledge or access to birth control. Second, there may be what the report terms "inadequate motivation" to limit fertility. It adds that there has been a "slowness of change in family preferences" even when motivational programs are implemented (introduction, pages 6-7).
The first cause is one which can be remedied by the "supply" approach — providing contraceptives to those who request them. A response to the lack of motivation, however. may involve changing attitudes and beliefs. In order to accomplish this, advises the study, "priority should be given in the general aid program to selective development policies in sectors offering the greatest promise of increased motivation for smaller family size" (introduction, page 17). The report puts it this way:
"It is clear that the availability of contraceptive services and information is not a complete answer to the population problem. In view of the importance of socio-economic factors in determining desired family size, over-all assistance strategy should increasingly concentrate on selective policies which will contribute to population decline as well as other objectives" (page 108).
As stated above, the U.S. approach for persuading LDC governments to adopt family planning-population control projects is to stress the right or the individual to determine freely the number and spacing of children and the fundamental social and economic development needs of poor countries. This position, says the memorandum, will "help to minimize charges of an imperialist motivation behind ... population activities..." (page 115).
The report also suggests that educational programs might have an effect on fertility. A long-term strategy for ensuring acceptance and use of family planning programs in host countries includes the provision of "minimal levels of education, especially for women" and "education and indoctrination of the rising generation of children regarding the desirability of smaller family size" (page 111).
The study also raises the possibility of making direct payments to family planning acceptors (page 138) and reports on "some controversial, but remarkably successful, experiments in India in which financial incentives, along with other motivational devices, were used to get large numbers of men to accept vasectomies."
Increased expenditures for contraceptive research are recommended by the report (page 171), along with the use of long-term injectable contraceptive drugs and permanent sterilization (pages 172-173). The subject of abortion is dealt with in a long footnote on pages 182-184 of the study; federal law prohibits the use of foreign assistance funds for abortion. Nonetheless, the study notes that "abortion statutes of many countries are not strictly enforced" and that even "in some countries with very restrictive laws, abortions can be obtained from physicians openly and without interference from the authorities" (pages 182-183).
The report also analyzes the possibilities of using mass satellite communications for increasing support for population and family planning activities:
"Beyond seeking to reach and influence national leaders, improved world-wide support for population-related efforts should be sought through increased emphasis on mass media and other population education and motivation programs by the UN, USIA and USAID. We should give higher priorities in our information programs world-wide for this area and consider expansion of collaborative arrangements with multilateral institutions in population education programs" (page 117).
But the use of USIA/VOA communications, the document warns, has drawbacks:
"... AID has much relevant experience in the numerous problems encountered in the use of modern communications media for mass rural education. First, there is widespread LDC sensitivity to satellite broadcast, expressed most vigorously in the Outer Space Committee of the UN. Many countries don't want broadcasts of neighboring countries over their own territory and fear unwanted propaganda and subversion by hostile broadcasters. NASA experience suggests that the US must treat very softly when discussing assistance in program content" (page 191).
Nonetheless, the report is favorable to such communication operations, stating on page 198: "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."
Report of the Under Secretaries Committee
National Security Decision Memorandum 314 (November 26, 1975) adopted all the recommendations of NSSM 200, adding only minor recommendations. Those included a statement to the effect that "[c]are 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 that "[i]t is important to enlist additional contributions from other developed and newly rich countries for bilateral and multilateral programs."
The document also stated that population programs "should recognize ,the basic dignity of the individual and his or her right to choose freely family goals and family planning alternatives," and that the NSC "general goal of achieving global replacement levels of fertility by the year 2000 does not imply interference in the national policies of other countries."
It assigned to the 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 of the Under Secretaries Committee was 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," and to report annually thereafter to the President.
The first such report was submitted with a cover letter on NSC letterhead from Brent Scowcroft to the Chairman, Under Secretaries Committee, which contained a short note advising that the report was prepared in response to NSSM 200 and NSDM 314. It stated: "Performance criteria should be developed by AID for population assistance, as required by NSDM 314." The transmittal notice was dated January 3, 1977.
It began by noting the actions taken by a special task force on population matters:
"The first step taken by the Task Force in implementing the new Presidentially approved policies was to ensure that all responsible officials in Washington and the field were informed of the essential content of basic NSC policy on population. It would be difficult to overstress the importance of involvement of our leaders, Ambassadors, and Country Teams in overseas population issues. Our officials must know about the facts of population growth and be fully persuaded of the importance of this issue. They must then find suitable occasion and discreet means to bring the message most persuasively to the attention of LDC leaders whose influence is decisive in shaping national policies and programs." (page 1)
The report included an Annex I, which added that "[i]nstructions have accordingly been sent, most recently by the Secretary of State, to our Ambassadors and country teams in each country where population presents problems, requiring that our Ambassadors and their staffs be informed on population issues and that they find appropriate occasions to raise the matter in discussions with host country leaders. We have already arranged for special population briefings for our Ambassadors assigned to countries with population problems. We are also circulating population information materials to the field and are introducing more population attention into Foreign Service Institute training" (Annex I, page 24-25).
The study also revealed that evaluations from embassies had been "somewhat less concerned than NSSM 200 with regard to the availability of good to meet population growth in the immediate future," but that the same evaluations had placed "even greater emphasis" on "the implications of rising unemployment/underemployment," which, it said, "can only spawn social unrest with serious political and even potential strategic implications" (p. 3-4).
The report concluded that of the 1.8 billion people living in surveyed LDC's, "91 million live in 15 countries (mostly in Africa) where there are no population programs, and some of the governments are pro-natalist."
It also reported responses from U.S. diplomatic and foreign service personnel which suggested that there are "persistent obstacles to acceptance of birth control" and that "program implementation is badly handicapped in a number of countries through lack of executive talent and shortages of professional manpower." It added: "Political sensitivities — re birth control issues — also impede vigorous implementation of the governments' declared family planning policy in some countries" (page 4).
The summary of embassy responses to NSSM 200 concluded that "current LDC population growth poses serious problems, but this is counterbalanced to some extent by encouraging evidence of greater attention to population policies on the part of most of the LDC's, significantly including the three largest: China, India, and Indonesia."
The report reiterated the basic theme of NSSM 200 — that U.S. population control strategy "proceeds from a recognition of the disastrous implications of current population growth rates (including threats to our national security), and yet a counter-balancing recognition that the problem can be significantly eased if the nations of the world take prompt and effective counter-measures. The main task is up to nations handicapped by excessive population growth, which includes almost all the developing world." It urged that these nations receive "outside help" and proposed that it be "our principal task to see that, in cooperation with other donor nations and organizations, we render effective assistance, when requested and desirable" (page 5).
It also addressed the limits that might be placed on voluntarism and individual rights:
"The Task Force recognizes that our approach to world population issues must be based on mutuality and respect for the rights and responsibilities of other countries in developing their own policies and programs. ... There is, however, a degree of growing global interdependence that makes uncontrolled population growth in any one country or area of the world a matter of concern for all" (Annex I, page 24).
The study differentiated between those countries that have "an announced national policy" (the "committed countries") and those in which no population policy was in effect.
Annex I to the report states:
The committed nations include almost all of the countries of East Asia and South Asia plus a scattering of others in Central America (including Mexico), the Caribbean, North Africa, and in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Since this group includes the PRC with over 800 million people, India with over 600 million, as well as other large developing countries like Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines, and Thailand, it means that almost one-half of the world's population live in developing countries whose leaders are committed to population policies and programs. This represents roughly two-thirds of the developing world" (Annex I, page 25).
"Uncommitted countries" are discussed on page 28 of Annex 1.
"LDC countries uncommitted to population programs include most of Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East, with a combined population of about three-quarters of a billion people. Population policies of these nations range from the pro-natalism of a few to the non-commitment of most of the others, where, in varying degrees, family planning is tolerated or even encouraged. Abortion is generally abhorred, and sterilization disfavored" (Annex I, page 28).
The document contends that the "relative lack of concern" about birth control exhibited by these countries is explained by a variety of factors, including "religious influences," "racialism, tribalism, and traditionalism," "preoccupation with other, more immediate issues," a perception that there is "no need to limit population growth," a belief that "economic development will solve the problem," and "ignorance" (Annex I, page 28-29).
The document advanced a three-way plan to overcome these objections. Officials, it said, should "discreetly promote three approaches that are interrelated and have proved highly effective."
The first of these is to "[encourage national leaders to speak out clearly and firmly in support of broad-based population programs, while maintaining discipline down the line to see that population policies are properly administered and implemented, particularly at the village level where most people live." .
Second, the report said, should come programs designed to "[e]ncourage these countries to adopt innovative approaches (which have already proved successful in several countries), designed to root family planning in the villages, relating family planning to the economic interests of the community, and thus creating peer pressures for limiting the size of families."
The third part of the policy development strategy was to consist of training "paramedics, midwives, volunteers, and others to provide general health services, including family planning in villages where these people are known and trusted," according to the report. "This extended personalized family planning advice, to be most effective, must reach women before they become mothers (so first births can be postponed if women so wish) and at least from the moment they have their first child, when spacing of children should be strongly recommended. Sterilization should be offered when the desired family size has been reached" (page 6).
The strategy is discussed in greater detail in Annex I to the report. That section notes that even most "committed countries" have programs that are too weak to "reduce population growth rates sufficiently to avert major disasters." Thus, it notes, three factors must be present to ensure a well-executed population policy. These are: "(1) strong direction from the top; (2) developing community or 'peer' pressures from below; and (3) providing adequate low-cost health-family planning services that get to the people" (Annex I, page 26).
"With regard to (1), population programs have been particularly successful where leaders have made their positions clear, unequivocal, and public, while maintaining discipline down the line from national to village levels; marshalling governmental workers (including police and military), doctors, and motivators to see that population policies are well administered and executed. Such direction is the sine-qua-non of an effective program."
It adds, that, "strong direction" might also include the use of "incentives such as payment to acceptors for sterilization, or disincentives such as giving low priorities in the allocation of housing and schooling to those with larger families" (Annex I, page 26).
A cautious approach is recommended in the process of changing the attitudes of heads of state, particularly in nations where no population policy is in place. African leaders, the report notes, resent what they see as the "genocidal connotations" of a population control campaign. To take the emphasis off the population issue, the task force recommends promoting the idea in "acceptable terms," relating the family planning program to national development and to maternal health or the status of women.
It advises that it might be "especially helpful if the World Bank and UNDP, as well as donor countries ... could find suitable occasions to convey specifics to LDC's showing how population growth is a drag on development in their countries."
Another approach involves the "mutual reinforcement" tactic. "We should see that positive statements on population issues by respected leaders are picked up and played back among neighboring countries," says the document. "While direct programming may not be possible due to the sensitivities of the population issue, USIA, should explore cooperative arrangements with private or multilateral organizations of good standing in the countries in. question. Leaders of developing countries committed to population programs should be encouraged to share their thoughts and concerns on population growth and their, successes in dealing with it in discussions with the non-committed. Wider publicity on the effects of successful family planning programs must be given to encourage others."
The report acknowledges that while the U.S. has encouraged leaders of developing countries to adopt population targets, the United States has no such program of its own. "This detracts somewhat from our effectiveness in urging others to develop programs," the task force concedes. "On the other hand," the document states, "we can point to a de facto policy in the U.S. supported by legislative action, federal funding, and recent Supreme Court decisions" (Appendix I, page 33).
The study also prescribes a process of policy development by which the U.S. would concentrate its development assistance funds on certain "pressure points of the development, process that most encourage lower fertility" (Annex II, page 26). These "pressure points," the report continues, "seem to fall in five major areas" — law and administrative policy (including statements from leadership encouraging smaller families and even legalization of abortion) (Annex II, page 26-27), improving the status of women (Annex II, page. 28), changing the economic cost and benefits of children (through incentives or disincentives) (Annex II, page 28-30), reducing infant mortality (Annex II, page 30), and promoting rural development (Annex II, page 30).
The study also stressed that representatives of the U.S. government avoid making statements about coercive policies like planned for India; because support for such efforts might undermine voluntary birth control projects.
"We recommend that U.S. officials refrain from public comment on forced-paced measures such as those currently under active consideration in India," it said. "The Indian Government's demand for accelerated action is understandable, but there are moral considerations as well as practical obstacles to involuntary sterilization programs (inadequacy of medical, legal, and administrative facilities), and they might have an unfavorable impact on existing voluntary programs. This is not to be confused with a variety of individual and community incentive schemes the Indian authorities have under consideration to promote voluntary sterilization and other forms of contraception" (page 6-7).
It also urged that U.S. overseas personnel responsible for encouraging population policy avoid controversial terms such as "population control" and "birth control," particularly in countries where there were objections to population programs:
"In the case of LDC countries uncommitted to population programs, our efforts must be fine-tuned to their particular sensitivities and attitudes. In the main, we should avoid the language of 'birth control' in favor of 'family planning' or 'responsible parenthood,' with the emphasis being placed on child spacing in the interests of the health of child and mother and the well-being of the family and community. Introduction and extension of primary health services are, in fact, the principal ways of successfully introducing family planning into many of these countries. We should also find ways, such as through informal personal contacts and special graphic presentations, to show leaders how current growth rates detract from their countries' economic development prospects. This, together with economic and demographic training of promising LDC officials, is particularly important in view of widespread unawareness of the economic facts of life, including wishful thinking that economic development will automatically resolve the population problem. ..."
The report added that this might also be necessary to prevent opposition among the American public as well:
"In order to increase U.S. population support for involvement in international population programs, it would be helpful at some suitable time and occasion to have at least a brief public Presidential statement of our international population policy and objectives, in the context of our desire to improve conditions of life for mankind for endless generations to come. In all our statements, we should accent the positive. ..." (page 7).
"We must nevertheless be selective and low-key in our approaches. It is important that the LDC's take more of a lead on population issues at international conferences and at home. 'A great deal of our work must involved personal contacts with men and women of influence in the LDCs and in donor countries, as well as with our Congress, the media, U.S. organizations, and groups of concerned citizens. We must help ensure that international organizations like IBRD, WHO, UNDP, UNICEF, and UNFPA, as well as private voluntary organizations, play an active, positive role in support of population, programs, although we do not believe that further Bucharest-type meetings on population issues would serve any useful purpose at this time. The focus should now be on effective implementation of the Bucharest Plan of Action. ..." (page 8).
The use of institutions and multilateral agencies not directly affiliated with the U.S. is of paramount concern. It not only increases the pressure for the development of adequate population policies, but also obscures the interests of the United States. Says the report:
"In all of these approaches, we must be selective, bearing in mind the danger of population programs otherwise being wrongly seen as serving our interests more than those of other countries. That is why emphasis ... is on private conversation and on getting international organizations and other countries to get out in front. This is particularly true with regard to international conferences involving the LDC's where population issues are relevant. In those circumstances, we should encourage LDC representatives to take the lead. Credit for accomplishment should be theirs, not ours." (Page 34).
The potentially disastrous effect of attempts to directly influence policy in developing nations is attributed, at least in part, to communist influence:
"To the extent family planning is identified with the Western world, particularly the United States, there are even greater inhibitions in some countries toward family planning. This factor may be particularly noticeable in international conferences where Third World countries tend to combine against the West, against capitalism, and in favor of the 'New International Economic Order.' It thus becomes particularly difficult to raise anything smacking of "birth control" in such international conferences, where Communist countries are only too prepared to line up with the Third World against the West, even though some of the Communist countries practice stringent birth control" (Annex I, page 29).
Collaborating With Other Donors
The report advised that an increase in U.S. population assistance funding would be a necessary prerequisite to "our success in getting other donor nations to do more," and that, besides the "traditional donors," U.S. leaders should "encourage the newly rich, oil-producing states to make contributions to the UNFPA ... The most effective channels in this regard are likely to be UNFPA or representatives of countries which have particularly close ties with the oil-producing states." It added that there is a "need for improved coordination efforts amongst donors" who are "giving greater attention to programs which provide improved basic integrated health/family planning/nutrition services with maximum rural outreach. ..."
"For international coordination," the report advised,
"...we recommend a three-tiered mechanism. First, general coordination of the population activities of donor nations could take place in the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), with associated international organizations participating. Second, questions of population program funding levels and the impact of general development programs on fertility could be discussed at other meetings such as the 'Tidewater' Conferences which are attended by heads of donor aid agencies. Third, senior officials specifically concerned with population assistance could discuss program design, recipient country problems, and other technical questions at periodic meetings which focus on specific issues. Efforts are already beginning in this direction" (page 9).
The report also addressed the crucial need for "intermediaries" to carry out U.S. population programs abroad. "The United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) and the private International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) represent the two most important channels for assistance provided through international organizations and private intermediaries. These intermediaries can operate, though sometimes with limited efficiency, in countries where AID's bilateral assistance programs are not now acceptable. In over half of the key 13 NSSM 200 countries, the total U.S. effort is limited to our indirect support for activities of these intermediaries." It complained, however, that "UNFPA has not yet concomitantly shifted its program content emphasis from 'consciousness raising' to the delivery of effective family planning services/information and to efforts to use development policies and programs more generally to affect fertility."
Thus the study concluded that "specialized agencies" of the UN be dispatched to work directly in the implementation of population programs, and that those non-population programs in which they are involved be encouraged for their "secondary fertility reduction effect."
"In the past, the UN Specialized Agencies (SA's), e.g. FAO, ILO, UNESCO, UNICEF, and WHO, have administered most of UNFPA's operational programs using UNFPA funds. The SA's have used only limited amounts of their won resources for population programs and even then only for general and academic purposes rather than country specific and practical ones. ... We recommend, however, that UNFPA maintain liaison with the SA's to ensure that SA projects support fertility reduction. In addition, we recommend that the U.S. delegations to the various SA's be instructed to support coordination with the UNFPA and to push for consideration of secondary fertility reduction effects in SA projects" (page 10).
The role of such specialized agencies — as well as the World Bank — were seen as having advantages similar to those of non-governmental organization acting as an intermediaries in the population control campaign.
"Unlike UNFPA, IPPF and other private population oriented intermediaries do not require explicit country agreements to operate. As private organizations, they require only acquiescence. Through local subsidiary organizations, intermediaries like IPPF can act as local family planning advocates using local community leaders, a role no foreign government or international organization can hope to play. Although contributions to private voluntary population-oriented organizations mean less direct control of programs, we recommend, for reasons enumerated above, the AID continue to extend financial support to these groups provided they can program funds roughly according to the directions we outline in Section VI below and provided they can demonstrate that funds will be used, reasonable efficiency.
"The World Bank Group is the principal international financial institution providing population programs. However, the Bank's policy prevents it from financing consumables such as contraceptives and other family planning commodities. This restricts its ability to finance population projects with its available funds. At present a high-level outside consultant group is evaluating the Bank's population programs. This evaluation and our review of it should help provide a clearer picture of what improvement there might be in the Bank's role and activities in the population field."
The report proposed that the World Bank analyze the secondary effects on fertility of programs to serve such needs as nutrition (page 11) and even urged "that the Bank coordinate with UNFPA to determine if some ... outstanding requests for population assistance can be met."
Intelligence and Research
The study strongly recommended an improved demographic data collection system, and urged (page 12) that U.S. research should concentrate on "increasing the flow of accurate and timely demographic information" through the collection and analysis of data, and census reports, combined with "biomedical research" and studies in the "social sciences."
It proposed that AID expand its contraceptive research efforts and suggested that the agency work with the National Institutes of Health. AID should especially expand its "LDC-based research on comparative effectiveness" studies, it stated, found, and look into the effectiveness of "low cost/village-based services using health auxiliaries and laymen." It should also "continue to address the desirability and feasibility of integrating health, nutrition, and family planning services in a variety of ways in different circumstances."
The links between fertility and socio-economic conditions were of particular interest to the task force:
"AID should expand its social sciences research on the links between fertility and various aspects of development, particularly female education and employment, health conditions (especially of children), incentives/disincentives to encourage small families, income growth and distribution, and laws and policies which are supportive of family planning" (page 13).
The document concluded that "the Interagency Committee on Population Research should develop a plan for the improvement of coordination among the various U.S. public and private agencies to ensure maximum productivity from public outlays. Similarly, the U.S. should encourage closer coordination with the research programs of other international donors to provide maximum exchange of information and earlier exploitation of prospective breakthroughs."
The document also requested that more attention be paid to cost cutting, noting that efforts are needed to determine how the foreign aid budget "can best achieve the most voluntary reduction in fertility with limited funds" (page 14).
Research into effectiveness should also include research into attitudes about fertility.
"Couples need not affirmatively decide to have a child. But they must affirmatively decide to practice family planning. Consciously or unconsciously, they weigh the pros and cons of available means of family planning. Their attitudes toward family planning depend on the type, cost, and accessibility of the services available to them and also on the extent to which they accurately understand those services. Their views on the desirability of a child are most complex, and depend largely on the social, cultural, and economic milieu" (page 15).
"... [F]amily planning services and information alone will not likely bring birth rates down to current LDC target levels, much less to stable population levels which would require an average family of only slightly more than two children. As emphasized at the World Population Conference and elsewhere, many parents apparently want three or more children even when safe, effective, acceptable, and affordable family planning services are readily available. Thus development policies and programs can be specifically tailored to change the social, cultural, and economic milieu to encourage smaller families, thereby effectively complementing better family planning services and information" (page 16).
In addition, intelligence gathering by embassies is important to the policy dialogue process. As the study repeatedly points out, "our efforts to promote family planning amongst uncommitted countries must be fine-tuned to the particular sensitivities in each of those countries. This serves to underline the important role of our Ambassador and his or her country team in each LDC country in terms of advising Washington on how commitment can be best achieved in terms of the particular circumstances of that country and being alert to take timely initiatives on their own to further these objectives" (Annex 1, page 29).
The study admits that present family planning methods are "imperfect." It argues that "family planning should be so easy and. inexpensive that no couple would think of doing without it unless they truly want a child." Cost cutting measures are, therefore, important (Annex II, page 12).
The report finds that some of the "fastest growing and most vigorous programs seem to be moving in the direction of non-clinical and noncommercial distribution of services in villages."
Moreover, the study advises,
"Few developing countries can really afford the clinic route; most now serve only 15-20% of their populations with clinics. To reach the poor majority and keep total program costs manageable, most countries must limit per-user costs by paring services down to bare essentials. This means trying to serve areas beyond easy reach of clinics with paramedics or 'health auxiliaries' — midwives, 'promotoras' and other low-level and possibly multi-purpose workers — instead of physicians.
"... Some [health auxiliaries] do sterilizations safely if well trained and supervised, though AID so far has preferred physicians in the performance of sterilizations" (Annex II, page 13).
"Indeed, a village worker may be more effective in dealing with her peers on a personal subject like family planning than white-coated health technicians. ... Often indeed, they already enjoy the confidence of clients, which facilitates acceptance of new family planning services." (Annex II, page 14).
The identity of the family planning contact is of paramount importance. Thus the task force recommends that the government try "piggy-backing" birth control with health services. "People may more readily accept family planning services as part of a broader health package because the combined services protect their privacy [and] because they have learned to trust health workers," advises the report (Annex II, pages 15-16). "Particularly in Africa, it may be essential to provide both health, nutrition, and family planning services in an integrated way" Annex II, page 17). Nonetheless, it adds, "intermediaries like IPPF [International Planned Parenthood Federation] can have a significant impact by providing "free-standing family planning services." (Annex II, page 17).
The study acknowledges that desired family size "does not depend directly on the availability of family planning services," but rather on a variety of "economic, social, cultural, and personal influences on the family." Therefore, it urges that actions be taken now to "influence future attitudes and expectations on appropriate and acceptable family size." Attitudes on minimum desired family size, it adds, "can also be directly influenced by information and education programs specifically designed to influence them."
Thus the task force recommended further studies as needed to increase the effectiveness of special population "communication campaigns," also known as "information, education and communication" or "IEC." These, the task force urged, should also be "country and culture specific" and related to "specific methods of family planning" or to the "personal needs and aspirations" of an audience (Annex II, page 46).
The study describes the potential for psychological motivation campaigns, using local media to persuade people to use contraceptives. Such efforts, it states, "work best when they are country-specific, when they advertise specific family planning services, when they 'make a case' for family planning in personal health, economic, or other terms, when they involve short, self-contained messages, when they reach many people at once, when they use a variety of approaches, and when they use low-cost media requiring little or no reading" (Annex 11, page 22).
"For AID, use of radio and "comic book" material in preference to higher cost TV and films may be indicated, though radio, TV's, and films can all have major outreach into village life. Any opportunities to "piggyback" a family planning message in existing publications, programs, etc. should naturally be seized. The simultaneous use of multiple channels and media may be crucial to encouraging acceptance particularly as time goes on. Of course, peer pressure can be the most persuasive form of communication, and should be considered" (Appendix II, page 22).
"... The key to success in such programs will be the ability of the health-family planning worker or volunteer to lead his or her neighbors to do something differently. ... How can the worker best motivate on family planning. Similar problems exist at clinics, of course, where much family planning advice is provided by doctors or auxiliaries many of whom expect to be obeyed, not to motivate" (Annex II, page 23).
The frequently-recurring theme of "peer pressures" to limit family size is also discussed in detail in Annex 1:
"[T]here are a number of innovative approaches, like "wives'" ... or "mothers'" clubs in Korea and Indonesia, which are designed to popularize family planning at the village level and to create peer pressure within communities for limiting the size of families. These approaches should be encouraged and shared with other countries. In this connection, we welcome movement in many countries to strengthen the local communities — usually the village — and to create within that village a spirit of social and economic cooperation. Among many other advantages, family planning has a better chance of success when it is rooted in community life and when people can see within their own visible horizons how limiting family size improves health and economic prospects for everyone in that community.
"The very permanence of the community is an important consideration. National governments come and go. Individuals come and go. But communities go on forever. Since population programs must continue for many years to take real effect, a community-wide approach will ensure longevity of programs among new generations. A solid community organization also provides effective means for group involvement, as well as for making family planning services locally available and for monitoring and encouraging their use" (Annex 1, page 27).
The Integrated Approach
The strategy of combining birth control with services that are more popular in the developing world — maternal and child health care, for example — offers a means of increasing acceptance of modern planning methods. "Success of this approach, which is being increasingly adopted by committed countries, depends to a large extent on the quality of paramedics (health workers) and midwives (including auxiliary) and their ability to win the confidence of villagers," the study states. "Once this is achieved, paramedics and midwives can, among their other duties, effectively extend personalized family planning advice. It should reach women when they have their very first child at which time spacing of children should be strongly recommended. Thereafter, personalized advice can be extended on all available means of contraception, including sterilization, the final contraception, when desired completed family size has been reached, as well as medical termination of pregnancy where it is legal and desirable" (Annex I, pages 2728).
Moreover, family planning alone would suffice only "if most parents would be content with two children," says the report: "But if many parents want three, four, five, or more children even when good services are available, then it will be essential to combine services with development policies and programs that also encourage smaller families" (page 6-7).
But this approach is not without significant problems, not the least of which might be a need to increase health care where it lags behind the population program: "In several countries where family planning now has greater outreach than health services, family planning may initially suffer through full integration with health services," says the task force. And some contraceptive methods, such as surgical sterilization, induced abortion and IUD insertions, require professional medical personnel. Thus, says the report, "any attempt to by-pass the medical profession is likely to incur their opposition to the low-cost integrated system."
Plan of Action
The document recommends "increased levels of Title X [population] assistance and sharply increased attention to the potential impact on fertility of other development programs or policies" (Annex II page 1). But it continues:
"It should be stated specifically, however, that non-Title X population funds can be used to explore links between fertility and development and assist in planning, implementing, and evaluating programs designed to affect fertility" (Annex II, page 12).
It also suggests that the U.S. study using "community incentives," such as PL 480 [food] resources to encourage effective family planning programs. "Obviously the same type of program will not do for all countries; thus, our general policy and program strategy must be adjusted considerably for a given country, and an approach developed that makes sense in that country. The overall shape of all AID programs actually operating will depend on what countries we actually assist. Country allocation decisions naturally reflect both U.S. economic and political interests and prospects for meeting program objectives — in this case, reducing world fertility" (page 14-15).
The document calls AID's population program "the world's foremost source of such assistance and a major source of ideas on fertility control," explaining that it operates on both the direct (bilateral) level, "through programs funded by donor consortia, through official multilateral institutions like the U.N. and through intermediaries like IPPF and Pathfinder..." (Annex II, page 43). And it recommends a vastly-accelerated level of funding suggesting that $2-3 billion "could go a long way toward at least getting family planning services well established though probably not on a scale sufficient to achieve anything close to population stability..." (Annex II, page 49).
The NSC Ad Hoc Group on Population Policy submitted three more yearly reports, the last dated April 1980. These, prepared under a Democratic administration, contained little new material in the way of either information or ideas and abandoned the emphasis on national security.
One report advised, however, that Congress had mandated the inclusion of population policy in consideration of development assistance programs.
"AID-State Multi-Year Population Strategies will assist the U.S. country team, the host country, and AID/Washington to gain a better understanding of the dimensions of population problems in individual countries, evaluate existing programs that address those population problems, and determine how the U.S. and other donors can adjust and coordinate their programs to address unmet needs within the context of the conditions, capabilities, and policies of the host countries. For countries with fertility reduction goals, the MYPS will focus on a time frame which is realistically adequate for achieving substantial measurable progress. In countries without specific population policies, the MYPS will focus initially on a time frame during which the mission expects the country to adopt such policies. The MYPS will respond to the legislative mandate of Section 104(d) by viewing development programs and population programs together as part of an overall development strategy and to the National Security Council instruction for evaluating population programs.
"[Section 104(d)] of the International Development and Food Assistance Act of 1977 mandated that development assistance programs give particular attention to the interrelationships between population growth and other aspects of the overall development process ... and that all appropriate development activities be designed to enhance motivation for smaller families. The International Development and Food Assistance Act of 1978 revised and expanded the Section, which now calls for the 'modification of economic and social conditions supportive of the desire for large families,' in, for example, the program area dealing with the status and employment of women. The revised text also specifically requires the coordination of population planning programs with other programs aimed at improving maternal and child health and nutrition and the standard of living of the poor" (Third Annual Report of the NSC Ad Hoc Group on Population Policy, January 1989, pages 20-21).
The same report also advises that the World Bank/IBRD, too, formally adopted an integrated approach to lending and population planning.
"Following a recommendation of an External Advisory Panel on Population, the IBRD has moved to include systematically the analysis of population as a development variable in its major economic reports. These reports for the basis for Bank discussions with its member countries on development strategy and programs. Also, in addition-to separate population projects, population components are being included by the Bank, on an experimental basis, in certain rural development, urban, and education projects" (Third Annual Report of the NSC Ad Hoc Group on Population Policy, January 1989, page 24).
The acceleration of funding for overseas population projects seems also to have subsided during the Carter years. Agency for International Development contracts generally cover activities spanning three to five years, and thus can carry over an entire presidential term. But new obligations during Carter's term did not reflect the continuing trend of escalation that had begun under Nixon and Ford (see, i.e., General Accounting Office, Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate, May 1990, Foreign Assistance: AID's Population Program).
Indeed, funding for population activities peaked at slightly over $200 million in 1977, and began an actual decline. Funding did reach the 1977 level again until 1983, at which time a steep increase in commitments raised total population funding to nearly $300 million during 1985.
A one-page fact sheet distributed by AID's Office of Press Relations in 1989 states that up to that time, a total of $4 billion had been provided for the U.S. overseas' population control program. Of that amount, the statement noted, all but $1 billion had been obligated since 1981. This would suggest that the Reagan administration spent in eight years nearly three times the entire total committed to international population control by Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter combined.
National Security Study Memorandum 200 and related documents remained classified until 1989-1990. Little has been released by the National Security Council for the Reagan era. But in 1988, a study was commissioned by the Commission on Long-Term Integrated Strategy under the Office of the Director of Net Assessment at the Department of Defense. The findings of that study were summarized in the Spring 1989 issue of the Washington Quarterly by an instructor at the National Defense University in Washington.
The Pentagon Study
The Washington Quarterly article was titled "Global Demographic Trends to the Year 2010: Implications for U.S. Security," by Gregory D. Foster et al. It was published with a note explaining that the analysis "was drawn, sometimes verbatim, from commissioned papers" prepared by a number of consultants. These included Ambassador Marshall Green, the former director of Population Affairs at the State Department, who headed the NSC Ad Hoc Group on Population Policy until 1979, as well as several individuals affiliated with institutions receiving AID population contracts or working with such groups (i.e. the Futures Group and Johns Hopkins University, and Dr. Abdel R. Omran).
The study was commissioned to explore "the demographic dimension of international relations" and to "ascertain how important population matters might be to the security interests of the United States," according to the published analysis. More specifically, it offered an assessment of "the extent to which demographic developments are likely to affect the size and composition of military establishments around the world."
The study found that, in general, "demographic factors will produce completely different concerns in the developed world than in the developing world." In the West, Foster wrote, "(d)eclining fertility rates will make it increasingly difficult for the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies and the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies alike to maintain military forces at current levels."
On the other hand, the analysis projected that "exceptionally high fertility rates" in the developing world "could lead to expanded military establishments in affected countries as a productive alternative to unemployment," and that developing nations "may have a built-in momentum to capitalize on unused manpower for purposes of both internal and external security."
The article conceded that changes in population distribution "may or may not produce shifts in the international balance of power over the next two decades." But it added that, "[t]o the extent that the types of conflicts likely to predominate in the years ahead are manpower-intensive regional conflicts, developing states may indeed accrue added power and influence."
It also examined the effects of declining population in the West, projecting that the increasing ratio of elderly people to working-age people would reduce the proportion of productive workers while, at the same time, increase the need for social services, thus reducing available revenues to the military. Moreover, it said, the "aging" of the society "implies a reduction in productivity and the possibility of economic stagnation," and could mean also mean "less overall money exists because the productive population base has shrunk."
Moreover, the population within the United States, too, is changing, "as the proportion of blacks, Hispanics, and Asians increases." The report questions whether the U.S. armed forces will be able to recruit the "quality" of personnel needed for the high-tech future: "One of the most important questions facing the U.S. military in the years ahead under all-volunteer conditions will be not whether it can recruit the required quantity of manpower but whether it can entice the required quantity with the required qualities to join," it states. "Aptitude requirements in certain high-tech jobs currently would disqualify as many as 70 percent of the male population and almost 90 percent of all otherwise eligible women."
"As the population continues to shrink," it continues, "competition to fill vacancies undoubtedly will intensify between the military, colleges; and civilian employers. As this competition intensifies, recruiting costs seem likely to escalate and pay levels will have to be increased to keep pace with the civilian job market. Pumped-up pay or bonuses for enlistment and reenlistment, when combined with other defense expenditures, could seriously squeeze the federal budget."
An even worse scenario is presented for Europe. Foster predicts that a shortage of manpower among NATO countries will bring about "increased tension over conventional burden sharing ... even a heightened possibility that the alliance's forward defense posture will unravel."
The United States, according to the study, is currently the fourth most populous country in the world, having six percent of the earth's population in 1950, but expected to account for only four percent of its people by the early 21st century.
Africa, on the other hand, is the fastest growing region in the world. "Between 1988 and 2010," the study reveals, "Africa's population will more than double to 1.2 billion, about 16.6 percent of the global total. Between 1985-2030 the total increase will be 1.1 billion. Nigeria, with an estimated 103 million people in 1988, is expected to double in size by 2009, triple by 2024, and quadruple by 2035, adding 312 million people to the world's population in 50 years. By 2035 Nigeria is expected to surpass both the United States and the Soviet Union to become the third largest country in the world."
The report adds that Kenya, Ethiopia, Zaire, Tanzania, and South Africa are all "likely to be among the top 25 nations in population by the year 2025."
The study reports that, "[i]n the aggregate and by comparison with other parts of the developing world, sub-Saharan Africa is land rich. The World Bank estimates that as much as a third of the region's land is potentially cultivable, yet less than 6 percent was in use in the late 1970s. In Asia, by contrast, only about 20 percent of the land area is cultivable and already 16 percent of the total is being planted."
But it also predicts that the AIDS epidemic "is the greatest unknown that could invalidate any population projections for the region."
"The World Health Organization estimates that 5-10 million people are infected with the virus worldwide, a count that could reach as high as 100 million by 1991. Some analysts argue that if 100 million people, or 2 percent of the world's population, were infected, total deaths from AIDS in the 1990s could be 50 million. The number infected then could double several more times after that and wipe out some countries in 10 to 20 years."
Nonetheless, the report urges that U.S. policymakers give population control the same priority as new weapons systems.
"As difficult and uncertain as the task may be, policymakers and strategic planners in this country have little choice in the coming decades but to pay serious attention to population trends, their causes, and their effects. Already the United States has embarked on an era of constrained resources. It thus becomes more important than ever to do those things that will provide more bang for every buck spent on national security. To claim that decreased defense spending must lead to strategic debilitation is fatuous. Rather, policymakers must anticipate events and conditions before they occur. They must employ all the instruments of statecraft at their disposal (development assistance and population planning every bit as much as new weapon systems). Furthermore, instead of relying on the canard that the threat dictates one's posture, they must attempt to influence the form that threat assumes."
The analysis closes by acknowledging claims that "the geopolitical security and potency of America and its Western allies are likely to be threatened by a variety of population trends now under way around the world," and stating that such predictions "may or may not be correct." Nonetheless, the report concludes: "The surest and most dangerous way to find out, though, is to ignore the links that exist between population variables and security variables — even if the nature and direction of those links elude current capacity for understanding."
in aid of legislation, with the permission of
INFORMATION PROJECT FOR AFRICA, Inc.
P.0. Box 43345, Washington, DC 20010
FOR THE 11th CONGRESS OF
THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES