Population Control

One of the greatest threats to the well-being of mankind is the burden of excessive population growth. If things continue as they are, this planet, which at the beginning of the century supported about 1.6 billion lives, and which now supports-often inadequately-some 3.7 billion lives, will be called upon to sustain about 7.5 billion human beings by the end of this century. Already there are many areas of the world where population growth makes improvements in standards of living intolerably slow, if not impossible. And this is most often true where living standards are lowest. The world is already experiencing a population explosion of unprecedented dimensions. We are, in short, in a rush toward a Malthusian nightmare. That surely is not our destiny.

Therefore, while respecting fully the rights, the consciences and the responsibilities of other nations, we have taken steps on three fronts to help curtail the growth of world population. First, in line with my statement on population in July of 1969, the United States has embarked on a major effort to support private decisions that will slow the growth of our own population. Second, the United States has given active support to the work of the United Nations agencies in this field. We have again pledged to match contributions from other countries to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, this time up to a total of $12.5 million for 1971. Third, when it is requested of us, we extend technical and financial assistance to the family planning programs of developing nations.