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Chapter 4

National Security Decision Memorandum 314 (NSDM 314) was signed in 1975 by National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft on behalf of President Gerald R. Ford. The new President's forthright approval of virtually all of the NSSM 200 recommendations appeared to set the U.S. on a direct course toward development and implementation of a sophisticated national population policy.


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
         International Development

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:

AID Programs

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 influenced fertility.

Research on broader issues should be undertaken examining the factors affecting change (or lack of change) in the birth rate in different countries.

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 programs.

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 countries.

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 Policy:

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 Quality

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