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


No reader should feel that the findings presented in this book are outdated and irrelevant today. Quite the contrary -- the information set forth here is as relevant now as when first written by the many authorities whose works are referenced herein.

The Rockefeller Commission and the NSSM 200 reports, contained in this volume, were undertaken in the 1970s. They were broad, intensive examinations, by our highest government officials, of the gravity of the population problem. Both reports offered appropriate responses to the issue.

Just how much do the recommended responses of President Nixon's time, over two decades ago, fit the facts and needs of today? The June 1, 1994 draft of President Clinton's Presidential Decision Directive (PDD), which outlined the problem and was prepared for the President's signature by the National Security Council (NSC), but since then has simply disappeared, emphatically answers this question.

A senior government official who had read an advance copy of this book was also an official reviewer of the PDD. This official recognized that I would have a keen interest in such a document and was kind enough to send me a copy. The advance draft of this Directive was to be finalized on June 3, 1994. This five page PDD, as well as a cover letter dated June 1 from Jane Bradley of the NSC, are presented below. As can be seen from the cover letter, the U.S. Departments of State, Health and Human Services, Treasury, the Agency for International Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency were officially involved in the preparation of this document. According to senior government officials who worked on the document, the PDD was never issued.

Thus, the same cycle has now been repeated, in almost the same way. The first cycle began in the 1970s, with the development of a rational U.S. population policy at the highest level, and ended with destruction of the policy before it could be implemented -- destruction by the Vatican and its allies. The second cycle ended in the 1990s with burial of Mr. Clinton's Presidential Decision Directive.

The PDD was killed -- suppressed -- just as the Rockefeller Commission Report and the NSSM 200 reports were before it. Nothing came of this 1990s' attempt to address the issue of global overcrowding -- despite the gravity of the threat to U.S. security posed by overpopulation and described in the draft PDD.

As Yogi Berra is said to have said, "It's deja' vu all over again!"

Nearly two years after the burial of the PDD, however, Secretary of State Warren Christopher courageously decided to pursue the proposed policies alone. He announced a new State Department policy which was consistent with the never-issued PDD in a speech at Stanford University in California. An April 18, 1996 Washington Post article by reporter Thomas W. Lippman, was headlined, "Christopher Puts Environment High on Diplomatic Agenda: Abuse of Natural Resources Imperils U.S. Interests Secretary of State Says", and summarized Christopher's speech. According to Lippman, the Stanford address had been planned and refined by Christopher and his aides for months.

The article begins, "Secretary of State Warren Christopher has seen the future and finds it alarming.

"He sees parched fields, poisoned air, toxic waters, rampant disease and societies driven to armed conflict by competition for dwindling resources -- all potentially threatening to Americans.

"In that vision, those calamities resulted not from nuclear war but from worldwide abuse of the environment and overpopulation.

"It was those threats that impelled Christopher last week to proclaim a new definition of national security and a worldwide shift in the objectives of U.S. diplomacy. Christopher set environmentalism as a top priority, in addition to traditional goals such as preserving peace and promoting prosperity, in a speech outlining what senior aides said he hopes will be the legacy of his four years of directing the nation's foreign policy. . . .

"'Environmental forces transcend borders and oceans to threaten directly the health, prosperity and jobs of American citizens,' Christopher said . . . `Addressing natural resource issues is frequently critical to achieving political and economic stability and to pursuing our strategic goals around the world. . . . A foreign policy that failed to address such problems would be ignoring the fundamental needs of the American people.'

"While continuing to grapple with `traditional' security issues, Christopher said, `we must also contend with the vast new danger posed to our national interests by damage to the environment and resulting global and regional instability.'"

Lippman goes on to describe the details of Christopher's policy. He also reports, "These decisions were not made overnight. The Stanford speech followed a spirited struggle within the State Department, which traditionally has emphasized political analysis and balance-of-power diplomacy, not pesticides or greenhouse gases."

Opposition to Christopher's policy, both within the State Department and without, was immediate. Lippman reports: "The approach has been criticized by some national security analysts, members of Congress and even State Department veterans as soft-headed and an inappropriate or ineffective use of diplomatic resources. . . . Many professional diplomats and foreign policy analysts . . . have expressed doubts about Christopher's approach, questioning the seriousness of the problems or diplomacy's usefulness in addressing them."

Unfortunately, given the success of the opposition to population growth control witnessed for more than two decades, we cannot be optimistic that Secretary Christopher's initiatives will succeed no matter how admirable his intentions. The new consensus necessary for success is nonexistent in the State Department and elsewhere in the government. Later in this book the opposition to Secretary Christopher's position and its institution will be described in detail.

Like the realities described by the authors of the Rockefeller Commission and NSSM 200 Reports, the opposition remains unchanged today.

The following PDD and its cover letter have been reformated to fit the book page.

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