National Security Study Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests (NSSM200) was completed on December 10, 1974 by the United States National Security Council under the direction of Henry Kissinger.
The basic thesis of the memorandum was that population growth in the least developed countries (LDCs) is a concern to US national security, because it would tend to risk civil unrest and political instability in countries that had a high potential for economic development. The policy gives "paramount importance" to population control measures and the promotion of contraception among 13 populous countries to control rapid population growth which the US deems inimical to the socio-political and economic growth of these countries and to the national interests of the United States since the "U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad" and the countries can produce destabilizing opposition forces against the US.
It recommends for US leadership to "influence national leaders" and that "improved world-wide support for population-related efforts should be sought through increased emphasis on mass media and other population education and motivation programs by the UN, USIA, and USAID."
Thirteen countries are named in the report as particularly problematic with respect to US security interests: India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Turkey, Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil. The countries are projected to create 47 percent of all world population growth.
It also raises the question of whether the US should consider preferential allocation of surplus food supplies to states deemed constructive in use of population control measures.
The paper takes a look at worldwide demographic population trends as projected in 1974.
It is divided into two major sections: an analytical section and policy recommendations.
The analytical section discusses projected world demographic trends and their influence on world food supply, minerals, and fuel. It looks at the relation between economic development in the least developed nations and investigates the implications of world population pressures on US national security.
The policy recommendations is divided into two sections. A US population strategy and action to create conditions for fertility decline. A major concern reiterated in the paper concerns the effect of population on starvation and famine.
"Growing populations will have a serious impact on the need for food especially in the poorest, fastest growing LDCs.[least developed countries] While under normal weather conditions and assuming food production growth in line with recent trends, total world agricultural production could expand faster than population, there will nevertheless be serious problems in food distribution and financing, making shortages, even at today's poor nutrition levels, probable in many of the larger more populous LDC regions. Even today 10 to 20 million people die each year due, directly or indirectly, to malnutrition. Even more serious is the consequence of major crop failures which are likely to occur from time to time.
"The most serious consequence for the short and middle term is the possibility of massive famines in certain parts of the world, especially the poorest regions. World needs for food rise by 2.5 percent or more per year (making a modest allowance for improved diets and nutrition) at a time when readily available fertilizer and well-watered land is already largely being utilized. Therefore, additions to food production must come mainly from higher yields.
"Countries with large population growth cannot afford constantly growing imports, but for them to raise food output steadily by 2 to 4 percent over the next generation or two is a formidable challenge."