The Life and Death of NSSM 200 The Life and Death of NSSM 200 - Index to Contents The Life and Death of NSSM 200 - Index of Contents Stephen Mumford Bio Index of Issues Comments from Reviewers


"The Life and Death of NSSM 200 is a tour de force. It explains incisively, with extraordinary documentation, how the Vatican works, time after time, to torpedo its opposition in the realm of population policy. Dr. Mumford focuses almost surgically on the Catholic hierarchy's strategies and motives in the sinking of the NSSM 200 study recommendations, and those of the Rockefeller Commission on Population Growth and the American Future on which I served from 1970 to 1972. Much the same strategies and motives were put in play by the Vatican, behind the scenes, at the 1992 UN Conference on the Environment, in Rio. There is a direct relationship, of course, between population growth and environmental degradation, especially deforestation and desertification. Yet in the 1000 page report on the Rio meeting there is no mention of this relationship, and what must be done about it. --Why? The UN requires consensus for full approval of policy statements. I was a member of the U.S. delegation to the Rio Conference, and I watched Argentina and The Philippines serve as surrogates for the Vatican as they blocked all efforts to include any mention of the population/environment relationship. The outcome of the environmental conference was, in this respect, a disgrace. Mumford's book vividly illuminates why the Vatican behaved as it did in Rio, as well as in its total annihilation earlier of NSSM 200. The book is the scholarly equivalent of investigative journalism at its best, and performs an invaluable service for us all."

U.S. Congressman, 1965-1994
New York

"The Life and Death of NSSM 200 does a major service in calling attention to the strong link between world overpopulation and U.S. national security. The point needs to be hammered home. Americans have perhaps begun to see the connection in the cases of Somalia, El Salvador, and Haiti, but the media unfortunately continues to concentrate on proximate and superficial political events. Population policy should be central to foreign policy."

Pellegrino University Professor, Harvard University
Museum of Comparative Zoology
The Agassiz Museum
Cambridge, MA

"The greatest danger to humanity is, without doubt, the tremendous increase in human population together with depletion of resources to fulfill human needs and desires. President Nixon was aware of this more than 25 years ago when he appointed the Commission on Population growth and the American Future, and again in 1974 when he directed a study of the implications of worldwide population growth on U.S. security. Dr. Mumford makes a telling argument as to the reasons these two reports were never implemented. The book is extremely interesting and a most important document. It is well worth reading."

Former President, Sierra Club
Albert Schweitzer Award Laureate
San Francisco

"In his new work, The Life and Death of NSSM 200, Stephen Mumford points out that you can't have a foreign policy without a population policy. An engrossing book."

Former Governor of Colorado,
Executive Director, Center for Public Policy and Contemporary Issues, University of Denver

"With courage and scholarship, Stephen Mumford has during 20 years stood as a rock against the media code-of-silence tide which has fostered the incessant anti-democratic and anti-American machinations of the Vatican and Catholic Bishops -- glaringly revealed in the 1975 `Bishops' Pastoral Plan for Prolife Activities.' "To rescue its tyrannical religious empire from encroaching scientific enlightenment, the Roman Catholic Church asserts the dogma of papal infallibility and thereby seeks to establish Vatican control of reproductive rights and democratic processes. The extent to which they succeeded during the 1970s and 80s in suppressing highest-level U.S. determinations of actions needed to protect the security of the U.S. and the world from explosive population increase -- derailing the world-leading U.S. population/family planning assistance program -- makes for dismal but essential reading for every true patriot concerned about our democratic future and the global environment."

Population Health Imperatives
Seattle, WA
Former Director, 1966-79,
Office of Population, USAID
Department of State

"The Life and Death of NSSM 200 is essential reading for every serious scholar and activist in world population matters --and all others interested in this subject, central to the survival of our environment and ourselves. It is the best source of the actual documents of the early and developmental period of United States and world-wide policies and programs. It belongs in every library with a serious collection on this subject. "This book presents NSSM 200 itself, which consolidated the policies and programs of the Johnson, Nixon and Ford administrations. Although after its approval by President Ford in November 1975, internal and external religious and ideological forces of opposition were able to prevent its publication, they were in fact frustrated because it was available to all members of the United States government involved in administering population policies and programs. It was and has remained the basis for U.S. and world policies and action, absorbed and expanded in the Recommendations of the International Population Conference at Mexico City in 1984 and the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development at Cairo in 1994. "Those who have not read it will not know the history of the great work they are involved in."

World Population Society
First Special Assistant to the Secretary of State
for Population Matters

"Steve Mumford's illuminating disclosure of Vatican pressure on U.S. international population policy is a powerful message, not only for the American public but for the United Nations as well. The Holy See delegation has accelerated its efforts at recent U.N. conferences to block universal access to modern contraceptives. Mumford's book provides chilling insight into why the Vatican's permanent observer status at the U.N. -- whereby it uses its influence at the world's most important secular forum to spread religious dogma -- should be reconsidered. The Life and Death of NSSM 200 is must reading for all students of public policy."

-- WERNER FORNOS, President
The Population Institute
Washington, DC

"The Roman Catholic Church has been steadfastly opposed to all mechanical or chemical means of birth control. Stephen Mumford brings to bear overwhelming evidence that, from its beginning, the doctrine of Papal infallibility committed the Church to rejecting the reality of a world population crisis and led, indeed, to highly successful efforts to block timely U.S. interventions and responses (including strict immigration control). This is a dramatic expos‚ of the undermining of democratic institutions and political will, in the service of interests antithetical to U.S. population stabilization and the long-term survival of the nation."

Editor, Population and Environment
Professor of Psychiatry (Anthropology)
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Nashville, TN

"This book gives extremely helpful background information about the hidden coordination of Vatican and American policy with regard to population growth and birth control. It is high time that certain problematic maneuvers of the Vatican are discussed in public."

-- DR. HANS KÜNG, Catholic theologian
Professor of Ecumenical Theology and
Director of the Institute for Ecumenical Research
University of Tübingen, Germany

"This sobering book raises a grave question: will it be possible to assure the reproductive rights of women and men, internationally recognized for the first time by the landmark 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development? In a well-documented account, Mumford tells how in December 1974 the U.S. government adopted a policy on world population crucial for peace and development; how the policy was concealed in a restricted document (NSSM 200) for 14 years because of political influence by the Catholic Church; and how the Vatican and the Catholic Church have undermined and thwarted implementation of population policy vital for the security of the United States and other nations. Every American should be concerned about this alarming cover-up and subversion of democratic decision-making."

Adjunct Professor Emerita
UCLA School of Public Health
Past President
American Public Health Association

"In The Life and Death of NSSM 200, Dr. Mumford gives us a uniquely clear account of how the Vatican manipulated the American government, causing it to distance itself from the compassionate control of population. Tragically, the relevance of this keen analysis grows with every new population-fueled horror."

University of California
Santa Barbara, CA

"In the long run the security of the United States cannot be divorced from the security of all nations. Nor can our security be measured solely in military terms...The information in this book will be of enormous value to those in the U.S. and elsewhere who wish to encourage elected officials to recognize the need to develop policies and programs that address the problems resulting from the world's rapid population growth."

Rear Admiral, USN (Ret.)
President, Center for Defense Information
Washington, DC

"A fascinating and disturbing insight into a population policy that could have changed the world but for the machinations of the Vatican."

Chief Executive
Marie Stopes International

"In his new book, Stephen Mumford details with meticulous care the demise of a sensible population policy for the U.S., as commissioned by President Nixon and later buried by one political faction after another, since it was opposed by the Vatican and other religious right-wing leaders -- of whom politicians seem to be ever afraid. Dr. Mumford has spoken out on overpopulation as a danger to national security for years, and we are now seeing the chaotic anarchy that continued rapid population growth brings. "Political instability is the result of population pressures. So is environmental destruction. For over 20 years Mumford has been a lead scientist in the evaluation of all kinds of medical fertility control, including the quinacrine pellet nonsurgical method of sterilization. The book also shows that in the battle to save the papacy, the Vatican has no qualms about infiltrating U.S. politics, and has done so to purposely erode our democracy. If our political will had not been destroyed by the Catholic hierarchy, and the recommendations of NSSM 200 had been implemented in 1975, the world would be a safer place today."

Save Our Earth
Former Director, Zero Population Growth
of Los Angeles

"Stephen Mumford's book, The Life and Death of NSSM 200 is a consummate and engrossing study of how the Vatican has worked ceaselessly to negate U.S. population policy. The alliance of Fundamentalist and Catholic conservatives has heightened this attack. With the increasing power of the right-wing in Congress, family planning and abortion rights are in severe danger. Mumford has been a pioneer in analyzing this onslaught on the right of women to control their fertility. His writing and campaign deserve to be brought to the widest possible audience.

Abortion Rights Mobilization
Founding Chair,
National Abortion & Reproductive Rights Action League
"Feminist of the Year Award," Feminist Majority Foundation

"For the Global Women's Rights Movement nothing is more important than control over our bodies and reproduction. This fundamental human right that forms the basis of all democratic institutions and equality is under attack as never before by the Vatican and the organized Catholic Church. Joined by the Christian Right in this unholy alliance, their push for absolute power takes place on the battlefield of population control, using women's fertility and lives as pawns. The high stakes and ruthless political power campaigns involved are clearly set out and lucidly explained in the new book by Stephen D. Mumford. This is essential reading."

Editor and publisher WIN NEWS
(Women's International Network)
Lexington, MA

"The Vatican City's population policy is for `No Growth.' It's birth rate is zero (presumably) and it has a zero net immigration policy: it admits for residence only replacements for those who exit by death, transfer or defection. The message to the rest of the world is: `Do as I say' not `Do as I do.' "Let Steve Mumford tell you the story of the Vatican's effort to get others to live by rules that the Vatican itself won't abide. I say: `If you don't play the game, you can't make the rules.'"

Founder, The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)
Editor and Publisher, The Social Contract

"Those who are new at efforts to promote population stabilization are often amazed to discover the prescience embodied in the 1972 report of the Commission on Population Growth and the American Future -- and dismayed by the lack of implementation which followed it. Dr. Mumford's new book sheds light on the maneuvers which prevented development of an effective population policy stemming from these recommendations and those of the subsequent study requested by President Nixon and known in the White House as `NSSM 200.' In California we suffer on a daily basis the diminished quality of life effected by years of our third world population-growth rates, a result of our national failure to develop a population policy."

Executive Director,
Californians For Population Stabilization

"To understand the demise of NSSM 200 is to begin to understand why U.S. policymakers still will not act to solve the problem of population growth. Dr. Mumford's book represents decades of intensive scholarship and is an important contribution to this controversial and complex subject. We are grateful that this book is being published."

Executive Director
Carrying Capacity Network
Washington, DC

"Even if last year's UN Conference on Population and Development in Cairo had accomplished little else, the behavior of the Vatican contingent vividly demonstrated the essence of what Steve Mumford has been saying all along: Namely that the pope and the Catholic hierarchy are "the enemy" of family planning and world population stabilization, and should be labeled and dealt with as such. "Mumford is a forerunner. A few people like him are needed, it seems to me, in the dynamics of most effective social movements. The family planning movement has had its share of forerunners. These are men and women willing to make a fuss, often quite tiresome to their colleagues, to send up flares, in order to alert us all -- to some crisis unfaced, some major human need unmet -- and to energize a constructive response. I hope publication of Dr. Mumford's new book -- The Life and Death of NSSM 200 -- will cause the forces of influence in the population field to turn toward him, rather than against him. Then his work can be seriously discussed on its merits."

Pioneer Population Activist

"Since President Nixon ordered the NSSM 200 study, world population has increased by 50 percent. Thanks in large part to that report's suppression, the world is much closer to the global disaster that will inevitably follow failure to bring population and resource use into line with our planet's carrying capacity. Steve Mumford is to be commended for bringing this important document to light and for exposing those who are making it unnecessarily difficult to solve the population/ecology problem."

Executive Director
Americans for Religious Liberty
Silver Spring, MD
President, American Humanist Association

"What may be perceived as `Catholic-bashing' in Stephen Mumford's The Life and Death of NSSM 200 should not be allowed to detract from this book's important argument: Roman Catholic theology and moral teaching in the area of population growth are a danger to humanity. "More people means more intense problems for the planet, for nations, and for the United States -- problems of security, as more and more people contend for the same amount of real estate and for other resources. Dr. Mumford performs a great service in bringing back into focus the bold initiatives of Richard Nixon and the Rockefeller Commission, and in bringing to light the resulting National Security Study Memorandum 200 and its fate."

Retired Presbyterian (USA) minister, and
Managing Editor of The Social Contract

"In The Life and Death of NSSM 200, Stephen Mumford exposes the depressing story of America's retrenchment from the opportunity and commitment to lead the world in population control. The book is reminiscent of what Arnold Toynbee would call `The Great Refusal.' Like Moses, the U.S. could only view the promised land and then back away. . . . The religious right and the Catholic hierarchy unquestionably now possess the clout with government, media and industry to frustrate the commitment, and to stifle the will, of the one nation that has the resources, and once had the vision and energy, to lead the world in salvation from uncontrolled human fertility."

Former Senior Pastor
Pullen Memorial Baptist Church
Pastor, Community Church
Raleigh, NC

"One must read this book to comprehend an ominous threat to each of us: the explosive growth of the anti-population control movement and its initiative to enact a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting abortion."

Agricultural Scientist
West Palm Beach, FL

"I have read every word and am profoundly impressed by the book's scholarship and the author's passion. Having struggled in the field all my adult life, I am in a position to say that NSSM 200 is a brightly shining light where light is most needed."

Dublin, NH

"Stephen Mumford's latest book makes extremely disturbing reading. In our daily life here in India, we see the impact of the campaign by the Vatican -- the misery of life in the urban slums and the starvation of the rural poor. All of this cries out at the injustices of religious politics, and is a far cry from what Jesus preached! We fully agree that it is the politics of religion that have derailed population control programs here in this country. The Vatican, either directly or through its proxies, has seen to it that population programs do not get ahead. China and Indonesia have done far better in curbing population growth, because there is minimal influence of the Vatican except through the WHO. India has a Catholic population with influence far in excess of its population percentage. Their greatest influence comes from the wonderful charity work done by the good nuns and padres. However, such profoundly humanitarian service obscures the ways the Vatican has crippled our population programs. The nuns and priests are not at fault -- they are merely innocent pawns of the Vatican. I will be making The Life and Death of NSSM 200 available to policy makers throughout our population programs."

Obstetrician and Gynecologist
Chief Investigator for South India
International Federation for Family Health

"In his new book, The Life and Death of NSSM 200, Dr. Mumford takes full advantage of the hitherto hidden --and most intriguing --archival material. It reveals with great clarity how the Catholic hierarchy subverted the efforts of our government, including two Presidents, to carry out the recommendations of perhaps the most comprehensive studies ever undertaken aimed at finding humane and effective ways to stop the world's disastrous population growth. Thus, the Vatican usurped control of US population policy, and left us with no policy at all."
World Academy of Art and Science
Carmel, CA

"To the large army of Americans who have so successfully introduced effective control of fertility to the American citizen, but who have failed so miserably as world leaders toward population control, here is the reason. "A large cadre of America's brightest and best have given us, for the first time in human history, safe and absolute control of fertility (effective contraception backstopped by abortion). Everyone involved in this mission recognizes the dangers of overpopulation. Yet major efforts to control world population growth have fallen flat. Why? Here is your answer. "The Roman Catholic Hierarchy has taken an immoral position on population control, inimical to the entire world, in an effort to protect its own power. This is what Steve Mumford's penetrating new book is all about."

Seattle, WA

"The Life and Death of NSSM 200 fairly and accurately describes overpopulation and its disastrous consequences for humanity, and the implacable opposition by the Vatican to the effective control of population growth. It is far and away the best and most courageous book I have seen on these subjects."

Population Scholar
Wrightsville Beach, NC

"Very few have Dr. Mumford's insight or have done sufficient research on the role of the Vatican in population to appreciate, understand or believe what this book, The Life and Death of NSSM 200, contains. . . . Mumford's factual account of the harm that the Vatican has done and is doing regarding population and related vital areas of human welfare and global survival will alarm any thinking person regardless of their religious persuasion. . . . His book has the potential of being a best-seller and of major impact."

Executive Director
Institute for Development Training,
Ordained minister, Reformed Church in America

"The Life and Death of NSSM 200 is an eye-opener. We have often questioned how the United States can advise other nations to stabilize their populations without having a plan to stabilize our own. Now we understand what happened to the plan. To establish a realistic U.S. Population Policy, we must first expose and neutralize the foreign machinations of the Vatican."

Poulsbo, WA

"All other efforts on behalf of social and environmental problems are useless unless population is stabilized. This must be faced forthrightly . . . . In his latest book, The Life and Death of NSSM 200, Dr. Stephen Mumford goes to great lengths to document the tragic behind-the-scenes record of how traditional U.S. separation of church and state has been cynically subverted. . . . Yet environmental and other groups shy away from the population issue. It's this fear of controversy, of stepping on sensitive toes. It's the old conflict between showing integrity by facing up to a problem, and thereby risking possible loss of influence or members, or of sticking to a relatively safe agenda. We must buck up our courage and get on with the job we all know must be done -- stabilize world population."

Family farmer and environmentalist

"Stephen D. Mumford's The Life and Death of NSSM 200 should be required reading for every member of the religious community who professes a genuine concern about population growth and the health and fate of humanity."

Ordained Episcopal priest,
Vice-Chair, New Hampshire Citizens for a Sustainable Population

"I am delighted to see Stephen Mumford continuing the campaign for a rational approach to population with his The Life and Death of NSSM 200, which I have read with great interest. Rome is even more sinister than I thought! "Tragically, the Church bears part of the responsibility for the recent catastrophe in intensely Catholic Rwanda. Were it not so opposed to contraception, Rwanda's population might not have increased in quite the way it has done, its carrying capacity might not have been exceeded in the way it has been, its population pressure would not be as intense as it is now, and the genocide that is endemic in the region might not have escalated in the way it has done." Honorary Research Fellow
The University of Leeds

"Reading Dr. Mumford's book brings to mind those saddest of words: "What might have been." The U.S. government's National Security Study Memorandum 200, carried out in 1974, analyzed the population problem and recognized the urgency of addressing it immediately. However, due to a massive, Vatican-led effort, the government's political will was dissipated and the public was confused with disinformation. The result was inaction on the population issue, and we are all paying the price as we see the grim predictions of NSSM 200 come true. "Analyzing the population-denial movement without mentioning the Vatican is like analyzing the Holocaust without mentioning Germany. Yet the Vatican even now receives kid glove treatment from the media, its efforts at the suppression of information and the spread of disinformation are rarely exposed. Dr. Mumford has taken off the gloves and exposed the Vatican's ruthless agenda. One can only hope that this book is widely read, for disinformation that downplays the population problem is still rampant, and propagated by many news sources, including those of the highest reputation."

President, Global Population Concerns -- Ottawa

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