By Brian Clowes, Ph.D.
The Formalization of United States Population Policy
The United States National Security Council is the highest decision-making body on foreign policy in the United States. On December 10, 1974, it promulgated a top secret document entitled National Security Study Memorandum 200, also called The Kissinger Report. Its subject was “Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests.” This document, published shortly after the first major international population conference in Bucharest, was the result of collaboration among the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Departments of State, Defense and Agriculture.
NSSM-200 was made public when it was declassified and was transferred to the U.S. National Archives in 1990.
Although the United States government has issued hundreds of policy papers dealing with various aspects of American national security since 1974, NSSM-200 continues to be the foundational document on population control issued by the United States government. It therefore continues to represent official United States policy on population control, and is posted on the USAID web site.
NSSM-200 is critically important to pro-life workers all over the world, because it completely exposes the unsavory and unethical motivations and methods of the population control movement.
The Purpose of NSSM-200
The primary purpose of U.S.-funded population control efforts is to maintain access to the mineral resources of less-developed countries, or LDCs. NSSM-200 says that 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.
In order to protect U.S. commercial interests, NSSM-200 cited a number of factors that could interrupt the smooth flow of materials from LDCs to the United States, including a large population of anti-imperialist youth, whose numbers must be limited by population control. The document identified 13 nations by name that would be the primary targets of U.S.-funded population control efforts. Under the heading of “Concentration on key countries” we find:
Assistance for population moderation should give primary emphasis to the largest and fastest growing developing countries where there is special U.S. political and strategic interest. Those countries are: India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand, Egypt, Turkey, Ethiopia and Columbia [sic]. … At the same time, the U.S. will look to the multilateral agencies, especially the U.N. Fund for Population Activities which already has projects in over 80 countries to increase population assistance on a broader basis with increased U.S. contributions. This is desirable in terms of U.S. interests and necessary in political terms in the United Nations.
According to NSSM-200, elements of the implementation of population control programs could include:
- the legalization of abortion;
- financial incentives for countries to increase their abortion, sterilization and contraception-use rates;
- indoctrination of children; and
- mandatory population control and coercion of other forms, such as withholding disaster and food aid unless an LDC implements population control programs.
NSSM-200 also specifically declared that the United States was to cover up its population control activities and avoid charges of imperialism by inducing the United Nations and various non-governmental organizations—specifically the Pathfinder Fund, the International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF) and the Population Council—to do its dirty work.
This document has directly and inevitably encouraged atrocities and massive human rights violations in dozens of the nations of the world. Just four examples are shown below.
- Peru. During the years 1995 to 1997, nearly a quarter of a million Peruvian women were sterilized as part of a program to fulfill then-president Alberto Fujimori’s family planning goals. Although this campaign was called the “Voluntary Surgical Contraception Campaign,” many of these procedures were obviously coerced. In fact, women whose underweight children were on government food programs were threatened with the withholding of this food if they refused to be sterilized, and others were kidnapped from their families and forcibly sterilized.
- China. For many years, the United States government has funded the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). One of the main targets of UNFPA money is the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and its widely-criticized forced abortion and “family planning” program. According to its own documents, the UNFPA has donated more than $100 million to China’s population control program; financed a $12 million computer complex specifically to monitor the population program; provided the technical expertise and personnel that trained thousands of Chinese population control officials; and presented China with a United Nations award for the “most outstanding population control program.” Those unfamiliar with the countless abuses perpetrated under this program might consider visiting such sites as Women’s Rights without Frontiers and Population Research Institute for evidence.
- Uganda. Uganda became the first African country to roll back its adult HIV infection rate, from 21 percent in 1991 to about six percent in 2004, a 70 percent decrease. The nation accomplished this amazing feat by discouraging condom use and by changing the behavior of the people. The population control groups could not allow this success to interfere with their inflexible template, so they aggressively undermined President Yoweri Museveni’s program. Timothy Wirth, president of the United Nations Foundation, called this highly effective program “gross negligence toward humanity.” The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Population Services International, CARE International, and others are pushing condoms as hard as they can in Uganda, and the HIV infection rate is creeping up once again. This is perhaps the most egregious example of population control ideology trumping the science of proven HIV prevention programs.
- India. In 2014 there was renewed international attention on India’s continuing forced sterilization program after dozens of women were killed and many more harmed due to the assembly line procedures being done in grotesquely unsanitary conditions. In truth, this has been happening all along, but the stories rarely make it to the mainstream press. This continues to be financed by the US and other Western governments and foundations.
Outline of the Population Control Strategy in NSSM-200
NSSM-200 explicitly lays out the detailed strategy by which the United States government aggressively promotes population control in developing nations in order to regulate (or have better access to) the natural resources of these countries.
The following outline shows the elements of this plan, with actual supporting quotes from NSSM-200:
- The United States needs widespread access to the mineral resources of less-developed nations (quote shown above).
- The smooth flow of resources to the United States could be jeopardized by LDC government action, labor conflicts, sabotage, or civil disturbances, which are much more likely if population pressure is a factor: “These types of frustrations are much less likely under conditions of slow or zero population growth.”
- Young people are much more likely to challenge imperialism and the world’s power structures, so their numbers should be kept down as much as possible: “These young people can more readily be persuaded to attack the legal institutions of the government or real property of the ‘establishment,’ ‘imperialists,’ multinational corporations, or other—often foreign—influences blamed for their troubles.”
- Therefore, the United States must develop a commitment to population control among key LDC leaders, while bypassing the will of their people: “The U.S. should encourage LDC leaders to take the lead in advancing family planning and population stabilization both within multilateral organizations and through bilateral contacts with other LDCs.”
- The critical elements of population control implementation include:
- Identifying the primary targets: “Those countries are: India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand, Egypt, Turkey, Ethiopia and Colombia.”
Enlisting the aid of as many multilateral population control organizations as possible in this worldwide project, in order to deflect criticism and charges of imperialism: “The U.S. will look to the multilateral agencies, especially the U.N. Fund for Population Activities which already has projects in over 80 countries to increase population assistance on a broader basis with increased U.S. contributions.”
- Recognizing that “No country has reduced its population growth without resorting to abortion.”
- Designing programs with financial incentives for countries to increase their abortion, sterilization and contraception-use rates: “Pay women in the LDCs to have abortions as a method of family planning. … Similarly, there have been 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.”
- Concentrating on “indoctrinating” [NSSM-200’s language] the children of LDCs with anti-natalist propaganda: “Without diminishing in any way the effort to reach these adults, the obvious increased focus of attention should be to change the attitudes of the next generation, those who are now in elementary school or younger.”
- Designing and instigating propaganda programs and sex-education curricula intended to convince couples to have smaller families, regardless of social or cultural considerations: “The following areas appear to contain significant promise in effecting fertility declines, and are discussed in subsequent sections … concentrating on the education and indoctrination of the rising generation of children regarding the desirability of smaller family size.”
- Investigating the desirability of mandatory [NSSM-200’s language] population control programs: “The conclusion of this view is that mandatory programs may be needed and that we should be considering these possibilities now.”
- Considering using coercion in other forms, such as withholding disaster and food aid unless a targeted LDC implements population control programs: “On what basis should such food resources then be provided? 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?”
- Throughout the implementation process, the United States must hide its tracks and disguise its programs as altruistic: “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. … The U.S. 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:
- The right of the individual couple to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of children and to have information, education, and means to do so; and
The fundamental social and economic development of poor countries in which rapid population growth is both a contributing cause and a consequence of widespread poverty.”
Point (6) above cannot be emphasized enough. The motivation for population control is purely selfish. Therefore, the organizations promoting population control must engage in a massive program of deception. They must present their programs as supporting personal freedom, or as concern for the welfare of poor nations.
The Basic Question: Is Population Control Necessary?
There is growing awareness that the world “population explosion” is over or, indeed, that it never actually materialized. When the population scare began in the late 1960s, the world population was increasing at a rate of more than two percent per year. It is now increasing at less than one percent per year, and is expected to stop growing in about the year 2040, barely a generation from now.
NSSM-200 predicted that the population of the world would stabilize at about 10 to 13 billion, with some demographers predicting that the world population would balloon to as high as 22 billion people. Now we know that the population of the world will reach about eight billion, and then will begin to decline.
The worldwide application of the strategies recommended in NSSM-200 has resulted in regional population growth rates decelerating so fast that they are already causing severe economic and social problems in Europe, the former Soviet Union, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Many developing nations are now aging even more rapidly than the developed world, which foretells of even more severe problems for their relatively underdeveloped economies. The developed nations had the opportunity to become rich before they became old; if a nation becomes old first, it will never become rich.
From the very beginning, the concept of a “population explosion” was an ideologically motivated false alarm specifically designed to allow rich nations to pillage the resources of the poorer nations. The resulting push for population control in LDCs has borne absolutely no positive fruit in its decades of implementation. In fact, population control ideologies and programs make it even more difficult to respond to the impending grave crisis looming in the form of a disastrous worldwide “population implosion.” It is time to begin urging families to have more children, not less, if we are to avoid a worldwide demographic catastrophe.
The first step in such a massive change in policy is, of course, to change our vision and our values. In order to do this, we must repudiate old ways of thinking and outmoded ways of accomplishing our objectives.
NSSM-200 represents the worst aspect of the “advanced” nations meddling in the most intimate affairs of lesser developed nations. It symbolizes as no other document does the face of the “ugly American.” It advocates violating the most precious freedoms and autonomy of the individual through coercive family planning programs.
NSSM-200 does not emphasize the rights or welfare of individuals or of nations, just the “right” of the United States to have unfettered access to the natural resources of developing nations. The United States and the other nations of the developed world, as well as ideologically motivated population control NGOs, should be supporting and guiding authentic economic development that allows the people of each nation to use their resources for their own benefit, thereby leading to an enhancement of human rights worldwide and healthier economies for all.
No human relationships are closer or more intimate than those found in the family. Yet the “developed” world has spent more than 45 billion dollars just since 1990 attempting to control the number of children born to families in developing nations through the widespread imposition of abortion, sterilization and birth control under the umbrella terms “family planning services” and “reproductive health.”
All that the tens of billions of dollars of population control expenditures have accomplished is to make hundreds of millions of large poor families into small poor families. If this massive amount of money had instead been put to the service of authentic economic development—better schools, drinking water, roads, health care—hundreds of millions of people would be living much better lives now.
(This article was updated in January 2017)