20 Oct: State Dept: IN Emb Telegraph: Population & Detente

State Dept: 109. Telegram 12233 From the Embassy in India to the Department of State, October 20, 1973, 0705Z. Subject: Population and Detente.

109. Telegram 12233 From the Embassy in India to the Department of State, October 20, 1973, 0705Z

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TELEGRAM
Department of State
New Delhi 12233

P R 200750Z OCT 73

FM AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7480

INFO AMEMBASSY DACCA
AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
AMEMBASSY COLOMBO

NEW DELHI 12233

E.O. 11652: GDS

TAGS: SPOP

SUBJECT: POPULATION AND DETENTE

1. I MET MONDAY WITH GENERAL WILLIAM DRAPER AND FORMER SENATOR JOSEPH TYDINGS, BOTH OF WHOM ARE WELL KNOWN TO YOU. FOR REASONS I CANNOT COMPLETELY FATHOM, THEY ARE ESCORTING A GROUP OF JAPANESE FAMILY PLANNERS AROUND THE WORLD. NOTWITHSTANDING THAT, WE HAD AN EXCELLENT IF CHEERLESS TALK ABOUT THE CONTINUING GRIM PROSPECTS FOR SOUTH ASIA.

2. THIS IS A SUBJECT THAT HAS LONG INTERESTED ME. WHILE IN THE WHITE HOUSE IN 1969, I WROTE THE PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE TO CONGRESS ON POPULATION, THE FIRST SUCH DECLARATION OF NATIONAL POLICY EVER. IT MET GREAT ENTHUSIASM IN THE CONGRESS– SENATOR TYDINGS AND SPEAKER MCCORMACK INSTANTLY SAW ITS IMPORTANCE– AND THE UPSHOT WAS THAT THE DOMESTIC SIDE OF POPULATION POLICY WAS PRETTY WELL SETTLED FOR DECADES TO COME.

3. ONE REASON THE PRESIDENT DECIDED TO ADDRESS HIMSELF SO EXPLICITLY TO U.S. DOMESTIC POLICY WAS THAT IN HIS JUDGMENT OUR PRONOUNCEMENTS AND ACTIONS IN THE INTERNATIONAL FAMILY PLANNING FIELD WOULD BE UNWELCOME AND MIGHT APPEAR HYPOCRITICAL UNLESS WE WERE SEEN CLEARLY TO BE PUTTING OUR OWN HOUSE IN ORDER. THE MESSAGE ALSO SPOKE TO THE INTERNATIONAL ISSUES, BUT LESS FIRMLY AND DECISIVELY, IN PART BECAUSE THERE SEEMED LITTLE WE COULD DO, BUT ALSO BECAUSE WE ALL SENSED THE IMPORTANCE OF FIRST SETTLING OUR OWN AFFAIRS ON THE DOMESTIC SIDE AND CHARTING OUR OWN COURSE FOR THE FUTURE, A PROCESS INITIATED BY THE PRESIDENT AND CONTINUED BY THE COMMISSION ON POPULATION GROWTH AND THE AMERICAN FUTURE WHICH HE APPOINTED.

4. FOUR YEARS LATER, SO FAR AS I CAN TELL, THE UNITED STATES STILL LACKS ANY COHERENT POLICY WITH RESPECT TO WORLD POPULATION GROWTH, THOUGH IT HAS BEEN CONSCIENTIOUS AND GENEROUS IN ITS CONTRIBUTIONS TO MULTI-LATERUL AGENCIES. THE TIME MAY BE UPON US FOR SOME FURTHER ATTENTION TO THESE MATTERS; AS THE PRESIDENT INDICATED IN HIS 1973 FOREIGN POLICY REPORT, 1974 WILL BE WORLD POPULATION YEAR, A CONFERENCE HAS BEEN CALLED FOR AUGUST, AND THE UNITED STATES HAS PLEDGED FULL COOPERATION.

5. I NEED NOT LIMN FOR YOU THE POPULATION PROBLEM IN INDIA, EXCEPT TO OFFER TWO VIGNETTES. WHEN I RETURNED TO NEW DELHI PAST WEEK, THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF THE EXCELLENT “WHILE YOU WERE AWAY” SUMMARY PREPARED BY THE EMBASSY STAFF ASSERTED “WHILE YOU WERE AWAY, THE POPULATION OF INDIA GREW BY 1.1 MILLION PERSONS” SECOND VIGNETTE: THE POPULATION EXPERT AT THE FORD FOUNDATION OFFICE HERE ROUTINELY REFERS TO THE ADVENT OF “THE SECOND INDIA,” SINCE REPUTABLE DEMOGRAPHERS ARE AGREED THAT IF IT CONTINUES ON ITS PRESENT COURES INDIA’S POPULATION WILL DOUBLE BY THE END OF THIS CENTURY.

6. NO ONE CAN KNOW THE CONSEQUENCES FOR THIS SOCIETY OF THE STRAINS INHERENT IN A BILLION PEOPLE LIVING ON ITS LAND AREA, BUT THE SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL TENSIONS WILL BE VERY GREAT INDEED. I EXPECT THEY WILL POSE A GRAVE THREAT TO PEACE AND STABILITY IN SOUTH ASIA AS A WHOLE, FOR THE PROBLEM IS NOT CONFINED TO INDIA. BANGLADESH IS DOUBTLESS THE MORE TRAGIC CASE. AND SRI LANKA IS ALREADY PAYING A PRICE IN HUNGER, POVERTY AND INSTABILITY FOR ITS ENORMOUS POPULATION GROWTH ON A FIXED OR DECLINING RESOURCE BASE OVER THE PAST QUARTER CENTURY.

7. FOR REASONS I CANNOT FULLY FATHOM, THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA IS TURNING AGAINST ITS OWN FAMILY PLANNING PROGRAMS. DRAPER AND TYDINGS SIMPLY SUGGEST THAT THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT HAS A DEEPLY INGRAINED PRO-NATAWRST OUTLOOK AND IS INCAPABLE OF MOTIVATING ITSELF TO BUDGET LARGE SUMS FOR FAMILY PLANNING OR TO RUN EFFECTIVE PROGRAMS WITH THE MONEY THEY DO BUDGET.

AS I COME TO UNDERSTAND THE HINDU FAMILY STRUCTURE SOMEWHAT BETTER, ITS CLEAR THAT CHILDREN ARE PERHAPS THE MOST PRIZED POSSESSION, AND THE MORE OF THEM THE BETTER. LURKING IN THE BACKGROUND, AT THE POLITICAL LEVEL, MAY ALSO BE A CONTINUING AWARENESS THAT, AS MANY MILLIONS AS INDIA HAS, CHINA HAS MORE.

8. THE UNITED STATES HAS GOT BURNED IN FAMILY PLANNING IN INDIA, AND THE GOI HAS MADE ABUNDANTLY CLEAR BOTH TO AID AND TO THE PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS THAT IT IS AN AREA WHERE THEIR FUNDS MAY BE ACCEPTED BUT THEIR ADVICE AND TECHNICAL ASSISTENCE ARE NOT WANTED. IT’S CLEAR THAT THE ONLY SORT OF HELP INDIA WILL ACCEPT IN FAMILY PLANNING WILL BE MULTI-LATERAL ASSISTANCE, AND EVEN THERE SHE IS NOT LIKELY TO ASK FOR IT. DRAPER REPORTS ENORMOUS DIFFICULTY EVEN IN GETTING THE GOI TO SEEK MODEST FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FROM THE U.N. FAMILY PLANNING AGENCY.

9. WE WILL, OF COURSE, RESPECT THEIR WISHES. I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH SECRETARY SHULTZ’ STATEMENT IN NAIROBI THAT “AID STIMULATES DEVELOPMENT ONLY WHERE THERE EXISTS THE WILL AND COMPETENCE TO UTILIZE IT EFFECTIVELY.” WHETHER THE COMPETENCE IN POPULATION PLANNING EXISTS HERE– OR ANYWHERE– I LEAVE TO THE EXPERTS. AS FOR THE WILL, I CALL YOUR ATTENTION TO NEW DELHI 12011 AND REST OF THE MESSAGES IN THE SORRY SAGA OF THE INDIAN FAMILY PLANNING BUDGET.

SUBJECT: POPULATION AND DETENTE

10. WE ARE NOT ABOUT TO DO FOR THE INDIANS WHAT THEY REFUSE TO DO FOR THEMSELVES, NOR DO I EXPECT THE AMERICAN PUBLIC TO RETAIN MUCH ENTHUSIASM IN THE FACE OF THIS EVIDENCE. IN WASHINGTON AND SINCE RETURNING TO DELHI I HAVE BEEN IMPRESSED — NAY AWED — BY THE STRENGTH AND DEPTH OF FEELING ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY PLANNING AND THE DISMAY WITH WHICH THE BUDGET CUTS HAVE BEEN GREETED.

11 NONETHELESS, THE PROBLEM WORSENS IN SOUTH ASIA, AND THE UNITED STATES WILL NOT BE BLIND TO IT, NOR, I TRUST, WILL THE OTHER GREAT POWERS. THOUGH THIS WILL SEEM A BAD WEEK TO MAKE THE POINT, I THINK A PARTIAL SOLUTION OVER THE LONG RUN MAY LIE IN US-SOVIET COOPERATION, AND IN WHATEVER ABILITY WE AND THE SOVIETS MIGHT JOINTLY MUSTER TO PERSUADE THE NATIONS OF SOUTH ASIA THAT A REDUCTION IN POPULATION GROWTH IS NECESSARY TO THE PEACEFUL, STABLE WORLD WE SEEK. IN ADDITION, WITH SOVIET-AMERICAN LEADERSHIP, AND WITH CONTRIBUTIONS TO MATCH, THE OTHER NATIONS OF THE WORLD AND THE INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS MIGHT BE INDUCED TO CONCENTRATE MORE RESOURCES ON THIS AREA.

12. I DO NOT PROPOSE THAT WE START WITH INDIA. THE POLITICAL DIMENSIONS OF SOVIET AND AMERICAN ACTIVITY HERE ARE TOO GREAT, AND INDIA’S MISTRUST OF OUTSIDERS MEDDLING IS TOO DEEP. BUT WHAT ABOUT BANGLADESH, A POTENTIAL BASKET CASE OF A NATION IN WHICH WE, THE SOVIETS AND — NOT SO INCIDENTALLY — INDIA ALREADY HAVE HEAVY INVESTMENTS AND LASTING COMMITMENTS? MIGHT THAT NOT BE THE PLACE TO COMMENCE A DEMONSTRATION OF THE WAYS IN WHICH DETENTE CAN LEAD TO PARTIAL SOLUTIONS TO OTHER PROBLEMS MENACING WORLD STABILITY? I DO NOT, OF COURSE, MEAN TO PRESCRIBE FOR A COUNTRY I HAVE NEVER SEEN, NOR TO INTRUDE ON DACCA’S OWN VIEW OF THE MATTER. PERHAPS MUCH IS QUIETLY GOING FORWARD THAT I DO NOT KNOW, AND IN ANY CASE I PRESUME LARGE INITIATIVES THERE WILL AWAIT THE ARRIVAL OF A NEW AMBASSADOR.

13. I UNDERSTAND THAT THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL IS BEGINNING A STUDY OF THE STRATEGIC IMPLICATIONS OF POPULATION GROWTH, AND OF ITS CONSEQUENCES FOR WORLD PEACE.

I WOULD HEARTILY ENDORSE SUCH A STUDY, AND URGE THAT IT MAKE USE OF THE MOST DISTINGUISHED DEMOGRAPHERS AND ADVANCED SOCIAL SCIENCE TECHNIQUES, MUCH AS THE ROCKEFELLER COMMISSION DID WITH AMERICAN DOMESTIC POPULATION GROWTH. IT MAY WANT TO TAKE SOUTH ASIA AS ITS FIRST AREA OF CONCERN.

14. FINALLY, MAY I SAY THAT THE LIKES OF DRAPER, WITH THEIR DOGGEDNESS, THEIR APOLITICAL SELFLESSNESS AND THEIR REMARKABLE SET OF CONTACTS AROUND THE WORLD SHOULD BE ASKED TO HELP AS IT SUITS OUR PURPOSES. THEY CAN SAY THINGS WE CAN’T, AND PEOPLE — EVEN IN INDIA — SEEM TO LISTEN. SOMETIMES.

MOYNIHAN

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  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to Dacca, Islamabad, and Colombo. Telegram 209070 to London forwarded this message to Claxton, who was attending a meeting in London. Telegram 12555 from London forwarded this message to key NSCand Department of State officials (both ibid.).
  2. Moynihan offered observations about population policy in India, population control more generally, and détente with the Soviet Union

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