Kissinger Report and Population Control

The “National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM 200): Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests” was ordered during the Nixon presidency. The paper is also referred to as the “Kissinger Report” given Henry Kissinger’s obvious involvement as the Secretary of State at the time. The report was declassified in 1989.

National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM 200): Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests

The document, including the cover page, is 123 pages in length. The first 17 pages are the “Executive Summary”. The next fifty pages or so are “Part One: Analytical Section” followed by “Part Two: Policy Recommendations”. (Table of contents shown at the bottom of the page.) Both the analysis and policy recommendations make references to the UN World Population Conference.

Population control—that is, the reduction of fertility and birth rates—is justified under the usual vague concern of inadequate resources and “economic development”, that more children lead to lower quality of life. This line of reasoning assumes the rigged debt-based financial system and that acquiring and distributing adequate resources to be impossible without reducing population growth. It also assumes that the preference for large families is due to people not knowing better and don’t know about contraception.

Of course, this is ultimately not about the quality of life, it is about “national security” as stated in the title. The following are a few key excerpts merely in the order presented in the report.

On p.57 and p.58, it recognizes the lack of resources to be a problem—that is, a (political) problem for the US government and not because it cares about the suffering of others:

Where population size is greater than available resources, or is expanding more rapidly than the available resources, there is a tendency toward internal disorders and violence and, sometimes, disruptive international policies or violence. The higher the rate of growth, the more salient a factor population increase appears to be. A sense of increasing crowding, real or perceived, seems to generate such tendencies, especially if it seems to thwart obtaining desired personal or national goals.

Also, reducing the number of the next generation reduces the number of potential adversaries:

The young people, who are in much higher proportions in many LDCs, are likely to be more volatile, unstable, prone to extremes, alienation and violence than an older population. 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.

On p.77, it recommends deliberately taking a subtle approach, recognizing that overt action “from the outside” may not have the desired changes:

While some have argued for use of explicit leverage to force better population programs on LDC [less-developed country] governments, there are several practical constraints on our efforts to achieve program improvements. Attempts to use “leverage” for far less sensitive issues have generally caused political frictions and often backfired. Successful family planning requires strong local dedication and commitment that cannot over the long run be enforced from the outside. [**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.**]
Short of leverage, there are many opportunities, bilaterally and multilaterally, for U.S. representations to discuss and urge the need for stronger family planning programs. … In these sensitive relationships, however, it is important in style as well as substance to avoid the appearance of coercion.

This is reiterated on p.81:

It is vital that the effort to develop and strengthen a commitment on the part of the LDC leaders not be seen by them as an industrialized country policy to keep their strength down or to reserve resources for use by the “rich” countries. Development of such a perception could create a serious backlash adverse to the cause of population stability. Thus the U.S. and other “rich” countries should take care that policies they advocate for the LDCs would be acceptable within their own countries. (This may require public debate and affirmation of our intended policies.) The “political” leadership role in developing countries should, of course, be taken whenever possible by their own leaders.
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 above continues with qualifications of “concern” for human rights. But one may be naïve to think that to be anything other than to maintain an image.

On p.83 is a short list of recommendations for consideration. These are worded as questions so, to take the most optimistic interpretation, it suggests that the government should, at minimum, be open to the following:

● Should the U.S. make an all out commitment to major limitation of world population with all the financial and international as well as domestic political costs that would entail?
● Should the U.S. set even higher agricultural production goals which would enable it to provide additional major food resources to other countries? Should they be nationally or internationally controlled?
● 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?
● Is the U.S. prepared to accept food rationing to help people who can’t/won’t control their population growth?
● Should the U.S. seek to change its own food consumption patterns toward more efficient uses of protein?
● Are mandatory population control measures appropriate for the U.S. and/or for others?
● Should the U.S. initiate a major research effort to address the growing problems of fresh water supply, ecological damage, and adverse climate?

It is noteworthy that water supply problems, the enforcement of “climate change” measures, and the promotion of meat alternatives can be seen today.

Part of the whole “education” thing seems to be more about brainwashing. From p.102:

That U.S. agencies stress the importance of education of the next generation of parents, starting in elementary schools, toward a two-child family ideal.

In addition to using aid as well as funding education and “health services” to bring about the desired reduction in population growth, there is “fertility and contraceptive research”. On p.110, there is the recommendation to research sterilization. Whilst there is no mention of forced sterilization, the fact that it is to be researched is already, at minimum, tacit approval of encouraging voluntary sterilization.

Sterilization of men and women has received wide-spread acceptance in several areas when a simple, quick, and safe procedure is readily available. Female sterilization has been improved by technical advances with laparoscopes, culdoscopes, and greatly simplifies abdominal surgical techniques. Further improvements by the use of tubal clips, trans-cervical approaches, and simpler techniques can be developed. For men several current techniques hold promise but require more refinement and evaluation. Approx. Increased Cost $6 million annually.

When it comes to population control, abortion is expected to be mentioned (p.114 to p.117):

No country has reduced its population growth without resorting to abortion.

Recognizing cultural sensitivities and legal obstacles regarding abortion, the paper does not recommend anything specific. Although it goes on to state that “foreign assistance fund” will not be used to “(i) procure or distribute equipment provided for the purpose of inducing abortions as a method of family planning”, it promotes more indirect methods:

[…will not be used for] (iii) information, education, training, or communication programs that promote abortion as a method of family planning. However, A.I.D. will continue to finance training of LDC doctors in the latest techniques used in obstetrics-gynaecology practice, and will not disqualify such training programs if they include pregnancy termination within the overall curriculum. Such training is provided only at the election of the participants.

Also, even if abortion is not directly promoted, the research thereof conveniently is based on the excuse, amongst others, that there is “[w]idespread lack of safe abortion technique”.

As for “dissemination of family planning and health information”, it recommends the use of satellites despite political and financial constraints. On p.120:

Where applicable in such countries satellite technology should be used when cost-effective. Research should give special attention to costs and efficiency relative to alternative media.

Obviously, there is no mention of the internet but it is noteworthy to see much information has been pushed on the internet and in turn social media in recent decades.

Paragraph 29 of the Executive Summary (p.9 to p.10) states the numerical objective:

While specific goals in this area are difficult to state, our aim should be for the world to achieve a replacement level of fertility, (a two-child family on the average), by about the year 2000. This will require the present 2 percent growth rate to decline to 1.7 percent within a decade and to 1.1 percent by 2000 compared to the U.N. medium projection, this goal would result in 500 million fewer people in 2000 and about 3 billion fewer in 2050. Attainment of this goal will require greatly intensified population programs. A basis for developing national population growth control targets to achieve this world target is contained in the World Population Plan of Action.

To what extent the paper’s recommendations have been implemented is arguable but, if one can believe the statistics, it is interesting to note that the growth rate has dropped significantly since even if the profile does not quite match.

Natural population growth (%) 1950–2022, (
Natural population growth (%) 1950–2022, (


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