National Security Study Memorandum 200

NSSM 200 was the definitive interagency study of world population growth and its implications for United States and global security, requested by President Nixon in 1974. The study was undertaken by the National Security Council, the CIA, the Defence, Agricultural and State Departments, and the Agency for International Development. Among its conclusions:

“World population growth is widely recognized within the Government as a current danger of the highest magnitude calling for urgent measures… There is a major risk of severe damage (from continued rapid population growth) to world economic, political, and ecological systems and, as these systems begin to fail, to our humanitarian values.”

The United Sates at that time aimed to provide all developing countries with family planning by 1980 and to have all countries with fertility rates of 2 by 2000.

My comment: Most of the world worked this out for themselves and acted effectively, though rather slowly in India. The only big region of the world to fail to act is Africa and the Greater Middle East. All the severe damage to systems feared by the NSSM 200 contributors can now be seen in this region, and it has left Europe with an insoluble migrant problem.

The Vatican’s greatest success in preventing the poor from obtaining family planning was its blocking of NSSM 200 by threatening to use the Catholic vote against the government if it introduced it. If Nixon had completed his second term I believe he would have made NSSM 200 law, but Presidents Ford and Carter needed the Catholic vote and so NSSM 200 never saw the light of day.