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Aggressive population control campaigns in Africa have their roots in American foreign policy going back nearly 60 years. US authorities concluded that rapid population growth in the developing world  threatened America’s access to cheap resources necessary for their consumerist lifestyle. Unknown to many in the countries targeted, and against protests from the Catholic Church, America has pretty much achieved its objectives.

In The Color Purple, Alice Walker creates a scene in the forest village of Olinka in which the villagers grow increasingly excited about the approach of a new road. When the expatriate engineers reach the very edge of their village, without having participated in the planning of the road and with no knowledge of its final destination, the Olinka hold a feast in celebration. The next day the engineers resume work, driving the road through the heart of Olinka village and destroying everything in their path. It can be said a lack of due diligence on the part of the Olinka was their downfall.

In 1958, US President Eisenhower is on record as follows:

As far as he could see, continued the President, the only solution to this problem throughout the world was finding an effective two cent contraceptive. Otherwise no matter what we do, as these reports indicate, we keep falling behind in our efforts to raise the standard of living in so many parts of the world where it is desperately low.” [1]

The problem he was referring to was the escalating population rate in developing countries. While wanting to emulate Europe in extracting minerals from developing countries, the United States was not committed to the investment in keeping those countries somewhat alive. This is clear from this memorandum to President Johnson dated 1965:

“While you're thinking about foreign aid, here's a fascinating statistic. A recent study claims that if economic resources in many LDCs were devoted to retarding population growth rather than accelerating production growth, these resources could be 100 times more effective in raising output per capita! In many of these countries, spending only about one percent of their present overall development outlays on reducing births could be as effective in raising per capita output as the other 99%.

…. The process of getting these countries to the stage of self-sustaining growth, and thus reducing the longer term foreign aid burden on us—could be greatly foreshortened.” [2]


Population growth was not the only geo-political challenge Eisenhower faced. By 1959 the foreign policy priority in India was to prevent the country from becoming Communist. The U.S.S.R. had offered India a 5-year lump sum grant to support India’s 5-year economic plan. U.S.A. officials felt they had to match those terms but were constrained; they could only be sure of annual appropriations by Congress. India’s non-aligned position would make aid to India less palatable to Congress. [3]

Nevertheless, President Eisenhower was upbeat about India’s self-sufficiency target of ten years. Treasury Secretary Dillon noted that among governments of the least developed countries, President Nehru’s was the most aware of the problem of the predicted population explosion and had a fertility reduction policy, implemented by sterilization or abortion with positive results in Kerala at least. It was hoped an inexpensive contraception could be found and perhaps a widespread education programme launched.

Regarding India’s proposed forcible sterilization of men, their objections centred less on human rights grounds, and more on practicability;

We recommend that U.S. officials refrain from public comment on forced-paced measures such as those currently under active consideration in India. The Indian Government's demand for accelerated action is understandable, but there are moral considerations as well as practical obstacles to involuntary sterilization programs (inadequacy of medical, legal, and administrative facilities), and they might have an unfavorable impact on existing voluntary programs.”[4]

The rest of the world

Eisenhower remarked that these problems were compounded in South America by ‘religion and dogma’ while Turkey, Morocco and Malaysia all had cultural issues with family planning. The rest merely lacked the competence to implement programmes, cited were: Egypt, Kenya, Ghana, Haiti, Iran, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Mali, Botswana, Nepal, Ecuador and Liberia.

China, Thailand, Republic of Korea, Colombia, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Tunisia, Singapore, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Mauritius, and Barbados had succeeded in reducing their growth rates while the outlook was hopeful in Indonesia and the Philippines.

By 1973, population growth in developing countries had reached crisis point. Three members of the Population Crisis Committee met with Ambassador Porter, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and foreign policy officials to discuss it,

“Ambassador Porter said… our population programs were not closely enough connected to our overall aid programs but were handled too separately….there was no use pumping in aid funds and food without closer correlation with population programs…. He believed we should not put large amounts of money in aid programs in developing countries without thinking over the long-term consequences. He said he agreed that population growth in developing countries is a definite threat to the peace, not just an economic problem.”

National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM200)

In 1974, National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger circulated the National Security Study referred to as Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests (NSSM200). [5] The recipients, the Secretaries for Defense and Agriculture, the Director of the C.I.A., the Deputy Secretary of State and the Administrator of International Aid, were directed to consider the issue of world population. As the title suggests, it was to be considered in terms of the best political and economic interests of the U.S.A. The Committee was explicitly instructed that ecological, sociological and other issues were secondary.

The study predicted a sharp increase in world population with growth in the least developed countries (LDCs) outpacing the rate in the West. While the populations of developed countries were expected to increase by 40% by 2075, populations were expected to grow 5-fold in South and South East Asia and Latin America and 7-fold in Africa and to double in East Asia during the same period.

Rapid population growth would lead to food shortages in the future, the least developed countries being unable (even in the absence of crop failure) either sufficiently to increase food production or to afford to import the deficit. Income per capita would be undermined; chronic unemployment and underemployment intensified; finances diverted from productive investment to health, education and other services; family savings and domestic investment would fall while expenditure on food imports would rise, all leading to a low and stagnant standard of living.

Anticipated socio-economic effects of this population growth were: child abandonment, juvenile delinquency, petty thievery, organized brigandry, food riots, separatist movements, communal massacres, revolutionary actions and counter-revolutionary coups in turn driving  demographic trends such as urban migration. The political fall-out would be factionalism and insurgencies potentially leading to a drop in foreign investment in the developing world and nationalization of foreign businesses.


What made this a political concern for the U.S.A. was its potential to militate against the enabling environment required for foreign investment in mineral exploration and long-term extraction projects. With only 6% of the world’s population, the United States in the 1970s consumed 30% of the world’s natural resources and demand was expected to grow with continuing industrialization.

The political, economic and social stability of mineral supplying countries was essential to an uninterrupted supply of minerals. Projections showed world population reaching 6 to 8 billion in 2000 and 10 to 13 billion by 2075, anything above which was thought to be unsustainable. NSSM 200 was formally adopted under National Security Decision Memorandum 314 in November 1975.

National Security Decision Memorandum 314 (NSDM)

This is the background to the strenuous fertility reduction programmes currently in place in East Africa and elsewhere. One option was, in the short term, proactively to lower the population growth rate in LDCs, aiming for an average family size of two children and hope that economic and social progress would lead to the viability of and preference for smaller families in the long term.

Potential methods included;

·     making available family planning services, information and technology; especially for the world’s poorest in the 11 countries in which the U.S. had a strategic interest,

·     immediately providing family planning services and materials based on current technology, while

·     encouraging research into cost-effective, durable, safe and acceptable methods amongst federal agencies with increased funds made available for annual research grants,

·     integrating fertility reduction programmes in established primary health services delivered at village level,

·     commercializing supply of the Pill, i.e. making it available over the counter without a clinical examination or prescription as in the West.

Fair trade as a driver of development

Nowhere in NSSM200 and ensuing action plans is the option of fair trade considered as a potential driver of development. It would have been logical given that the Committee acknowledged the causal relationship between industrialization and development on the one hand and falling mortality and birth rates on the other. Post-War Britain is given as an example of a country which made the ‘demographic transition’ from a position of falling mortality rates (as a result of availability medicines) driving rising fertility rates to, later, falling mortality with a simultaneously declining fertility rate (as a result of development and the smaller families it allowed.)

The purchase price of minerals paid to LDCs is mentioned only in the context of the detrimental effect on American interests any rises in commodity prices would have if suppliers in LDCs were to form a cartel as had recently happened with oil suppliers. The development of commodity-supplying countries flowing from higher earnings from their natural resources was thus deferred.

Kissinger is emphatic, without citing any authorities, that the relationship between development and falling birth rates is not fully understood and it becomes clear he is preparing the ground for mass fertility reduction as the only effective intervention, a sort of war on fertility. He is adamant that even if the universal target for LDCs of two children per family by 2000 were reached, the population explosion and its adverse effects could not be avoided without such an intervention.

Imported corruption: Another barrier to development

In addition to unfair trade, the present-day LDCs are further disadvantaged by massive losses of tax revenues. Yves Engler in his essay Canadian firms rob Africa as NGOs preach charity in  Pambazuka News discusses the extent of the financial loss caused by tax evasion by  Canadian investors.  Engler states that 40% of international mining countries are domiciled in Canada. He cites a $1.5 billion potash mine in Congo Brazzaville which avoided taxes by paying officials a $100,000 bribe; and Barrick Gold in Tanzania found guilty of avoiding $41.25 million in taxes on profits of over $400 million.

To form an idea of the magnitude of these losses to LDCs, consider the foreign grants made to neighbouring Uganda. $41 million is more than the direct budget support for FY2016/17 pledged by Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands for the water, health and justice law and order sectors. [6] The amount exceeds Uganda’s projected expenditure on the Tourism, Trade and Industry sector in 2016/17. [7] This means aid merely replaces some of the income lost through corruption exported to LDCs.

Of the 4l countries party to the OECD Convention on Combating Foreign Bribery, only 4 actively enforce the convention and resolve major cases. Even those four prefer to reach out of court settlements which, if they are secret, can only fuel local corruption. [8]

Many exporters of corruption are countries ranking high on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, for example firms in Sweden the third cleanest, New Zealand the fourth and Norway the 5th in 2015, were found to be guilty of paying bribes to government officials in the developing world in return for various operating privileges. Canada ranks number 10 in transaction cleanliness. [9]

During the initial discussion of the NSSM, officials noted world food production was keeping pace with if not exceeding population growth. In other words, there was no crisis at the time. A fair income from the large and (at the time) growing market in commodities, especially if value had been added, would have enabled LDCs to accomplish that which Kissinger said would be possible only after a few generations from 1974 namely, by the 21st century: African countries would have been able to cover their own requirements for farm inputs, food, medicines and education programmes.

Consequently there would have been no food shortages, there would have been greater industrial development including value addition to commodities and the demographic transition – a drop in population growth would have followed. But fair trade would also have meant curtailing consumption in the United States and Europe. Some were aware of this. A senior White House staffer commented in writing in 1967,

“The implications of all this are very concrete for wealthy nations like the United States and Western European powers. These countries must face the explosive [emphasis added] political questions of paying taxes to help developing nations. Will we pay higher prices for imported goods from these nations? Will we be willing to work out some alteration of our trading policies to guarantee a fair and stable price for agriculture products and raw material? [Emphasis added]” [10]

Another point on which the NSDM model fails is in its assumption that heightened and increasing consumption in the U.S.A. and other highly developed countries was both a sustainable proposition and an inoculation against the social ills predicted for LDCs. The world financial crisis of 2008 proved it was neither. In fact many of the projected consequences of rapid population expansion for LDCs have now manifested in the U.S.A.; gross income inequality, chronic unemployment and involuntary part-time workers (the under-employed) and a stagnating standard of living amongst many, all of which contributed to the 2016 presidential election result.

Rampant consumption has not protected the U.S.A. from child hunger, juvenile delinquency, petty thievery, organized brigandry (read gangs), factionalism (racial tension, terrorism), and communal massacre (read mass shootings) either.


Then there was the matter of the Catholics. The Vatican’s position was that “all directly contraceptive practices are morally wrong.” In order to win over those whose cultures (read religion) presented a barrier to ‘anti-natalism’ the Administration sought guidance from Pope Paul’s 1967 Encyclical on population: The Development of Peoples, (or Populorum Progressio). [11] Special Assistant to the Secretary of State on Population Matters, P. Claxton, made the following analysis:

1.  Paul VI acknowledges the impact population growth has on development as follows:

 “…accelerated demographic increase adds its own difficulties to the problems of development: the size of the population increases more rapidly than available resources, and things are found to have apparently reached an impasse.”

2.   Claxton goes on to say the encyclical,

“states plainly (“it is certain”) that public authorities can intervene both “by favoring the availability of appropriate information” and “by adopting suitable measures.”

3.  Claxton concludes first that,

“The statement that public authorities can intervene is new and potentially of wide applicability. It should open the way for United Nations, national, state, and municipal authorities to provide appropriate information—presumably, but not plainly, meaning birth control information.”

4.  Claxton then concludes,

“They may also adopt “suitable measures”—a phrase perhaps intentionally left vague but apparently intended to be different from the “radical measures” that are rejected and may well be interpreted to include provision of some kind of fertility control program. There are two limitations on the “suitable measures:” (a) They must be in conformity with “the moral law,” which is not defined, but may refer to the standing doctrine on birth control—or may not; and (b) They must respect the rightful freedom of married couples, which is not a material limitation in practice.

5.  And finally he states the encyclical goes further than Vatican II statements on birth control saying what was ‘new’ was (1) the faithful were urged to consider, in deciding to add to their families, the potential effect on the welfare of existing children, the health of the mother and the impact on the community; (2) the decision is to be made with full knowledge  and (3) is a matter for the consciences of future parents (enlightened by God’s law). [12]

It was decided in future,                           

we should avoid the language of "birth control" in favor of "family planning" or "responsible parenthood," with the emphasis being placed on child spacing in the interests of the health of child and mother and the well-being of the family and community.” [13]

In short, Special Assistant Claxton’s interpretation of Populorum Progressio was that, in the light of the looming population crisis, the Vatican had softened its stand on birth control and was in fact willing to consider suitable measures as long as they are governed by ‘moral law’ - which the Special Assistant said did not necessarily refer to the standing Vatican II doctrine - and respected the rights of married couples to make their own decisions.

Claxton’s spin on Populorum Progressio was debunked the following year when Pope Paul VI published Humane Vitae (or Human Life), upholding the Church’s ban on artificial contraceptives. Claxton had to correct a misleading impression of the Vatican’s position that he had given in an interview with Time magazine.

Development: the Vatican’s view

What was left out of Claxton’s analysis of Populorum Progressio is equally relevant and important. In it, Pope Paul puts the population crisis in context. First he gives the background: exploitative colonial agricultural practices led to the emergence of a number of single cash-crop exporting nations with only one major source of income. These commodities, bought at low prices anyway, are further subject to significant fluctuations in price. 

It will be remembered that in the Congo (now DRC) Congolese were prohibited from engaging in any economic activities alternative to rubber-tapping on pain of having their hand’s amputated. In Uganda the British and American allies had a monopoly on buying and selling Ugandan cotton and coffee. The penalty for African growers adding value to their cotton by ginning it was 5 years in prison or Shs500,000 (the exchange rate with the British pound was 1:1).

To correct the imbalance, Paul VI states, fair trade alone, is insufficient as long as it is defined by transactions freely entered in to but by parties unequal in negotiating power:

when two parties are in very unequal positions, their mutual consent alone does not guarantee a fair contract [emphasis mine]; …this principle was set down with regard to a just wage for the individual worker; but it should be applied with equal force to contracts made between nations: trade relations can no longer be based solely on the principle of free, unchecked competition, for it very often creates an economic dictatorship. Free trade can be called just only when it conforms to the demands of social justice.”

“…Now in trade relations between the developing and the highly developed economies there is a great disparity in their overall situation and in their freedom of action. In order that international trade be human and moral, social justice requires that it restore to the participants a certain equality of opportunity.

“Here again international agreements on a broad scale can help a great deal. They could establish general norms for regulating prices, promoting production facilities, and favoring certain infant industries. Isn't it plain to everyone that such attempts to establish greater justice in international trade would be of great benefit to the developing nations, and that they would produce lasting results?”[14]

The Vatican’s holistic approach to human development is supported by the initial reasoning of NSSM200 which is that underdevelopment and its associated socio-economic consequences is inextricably linked to and probably causes high rates of population growth. Populorum Progressio states that the consumerism of highly developed countries, made possible by their exploitation of what became vulnerable countries, is at the root of underdevelopment. The logical conclusion had to be that in order to prevent high fertility rates in the future there had to be less consumerism and exploitation by highly developed countries. Birth control is necessary but not sufficient for development.

Implementation plans

In July 1976 the first annual report of the International Population Task Force (set up to implement NSDM 200)[15] was presented to President Gerald Ford. By this time policies had crystallized. Countries were now divided into two categories; the ‘Big 13’ major population countries and the rest. The former were sub-divided into the committed (India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Mexico, Colombia) and non-committed (Brazil, Egypt, Turkey, Nigeria and Ethiopia. The latter two, Nigeria and Ethiopia, were seen as being oblivious to the issues.)

For the committed, leaders and opinion leaders would be encouraged to take ownership of the family planning project which would then be incorporated in primary health care extension services from village level upwards.

 “We must nevertheless be selective and low-key in our approaches, lest population programs otherwise be seen as primarily serving U.S. interests rather than those of other countries. That is why it is so important that the LDCs take more of a lead on population issues at international conferences and at home.”[16]

Peer pressure to have fewer children would be created by co-opting opinion leaders at village level and training them in advocacy. In the original NSSM200 it was proposed that promising allies from amongst leading politicians and opinion leaders be flown to UN HQ for training.

NSDM implementation partnerships with the international community

The World Bank, WHO, UNDP, UNICEF, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and NGOs were to play a central role in implementing fertility reduction in the developing world.

The NSDM Task Force (which was all American) was concerned UNFPA was at the time focused on general consciousness-raising at the expense of family planning service delivery. It resolved that 80% of UNFPA’s budget should now go on specific country programmes,

“We recommend that we use our influence through our UN delegation and in donor and recipient nation capitals to seek such a shift.”

UNFPA was also to be encouraged to shift away from financing academic research by agencies such as FAO, ILO, UNESCO, UNICEF, and WHO, and focus on practical programmes.

“As a result, we support the current trend in UNFPA to administer more of its own projects and the related need for increased staff and monitoring capability. We recommend, however, that UNFPA maintain liaison with the SAs [specialized agencies] to ensure that SA projects support fertility reduction.”

The U.S.A. government grant to UNFPA was to be significantly increased.

Operations were to commence in 8 major population countries in which the U.S.A. was not yet implementing family planning. It was proposed funds be provided for advocacy for fertility reduction by IPPF and other NGOs in those countries “roughly according to the directions we outline….”

The World Bank’s potential participation was limited by the fact it was not mandated to finance consumables like contraceptives, however consultants were engaged to propose a role for the Bank in the fertility reduction effort. It was also recommended the Bank work with UNFPA to fund requests for assistance from developing countries.

Research into population control

Funding was to be provided for bio-medical research. The goal was to;

·     find new methods such as reversible sterilization and once-monthly methods,

·     study the relationship between nutritional status and fertility,

·     field-test internationally promising new family planning methods.

Provision for researching and understanding the demographic transition which sees birth rates fall as a result of development was not made at this point even though Kissinger mentions at least twice that he does not understand it.

The U.S.A.’s commitment to LDC development is questionable given the modest assistance proposed: some funds were to be made available for rural development to increase household incomes and lead eventually to a pattern of smaller families. The interventions were limited to Food-for-Work type activities and PL-480 which involves auctioning American farm surpluses in aid-recipient countries and applying the proceeds as aid locally. This guarantees American farmers a market for their surpluses while suppressing demand for local produce.

Conversely, the magnitude of American commitment to fertility reduction in LDCs is apparent from its persistence over a period of decades; the level of resource mobilization (promoting the Bucharest Conference and committing, by 1969, $125 million per year) [17]; co-option of UN agencies; the participation of their president as a spokesman for the project and its willingness to influence UN agencies.

The World Population Day was instituted with the aim of propagating population control thinking. The Bucharest Conference followed with high-level negotiations with LDC governments carried out in preparation. [18]

The fertility wars

Most of sub-Saharan Africa has been the grateful recipient of preventative health care programmes; MMR vaccinations, treated mosquito nets, guinea worm eradication and HIV/Aids and TB control. They have a direct impact on infant and neonatal mortality which in turn are drivers of high birth rates. The Catholic Church is a major and the oldest health services provider (since before independence) with 58 hospitals, 83 health centers, 311 dispensaries, and 18 medical training schools in Kenya alone.

Elements of early NSSM200 discussions are currently visible in the availability of one-type-suits-all contraceptive pills over the counter in East Africa. Diplomatic language has evolved further than in the 1970s - fertility reduction is now rights-based: reproductive rights. Religious and cultural sensitivity has fared badly as under-age girls may be given access to birth control without the knowledge or consent of their parents.

Kenya 2014

In 2014 the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), informed by the Kenya Catholic Doctors’ Association, issued a public statement claiming that the new tetanus vaccine against Maternal Neonatal Tetanus for women and girls donated to Kenya by Unicef and WHO was a clandestine mass-sterilization agent, and warned the public to refuse it. The outburst was all the more resonant as the Church is known to be slow to react to anything, especially allegations. Roma Mora, Rome delays. Rome is prudent. Only a situation perceived to be potentially directly life-threatening could have elicited from them the reaction that it did.

Similar allegations of clandestine mass sterilization had come out of Northern Nigeria in 2003. There were links to American foreign policy in the Middle East. The polio vaccine was rejected at the urging of political and religious leaders and unfortunately, Uganda, polio free for a brief period, was re-infected by a traveler from West Africa.

In Kenya, samples of the tetanus vaccine were purloined and passed on to the bishops’ conference. They were distributed for testing in Kenya and South Africa. The results showed the presence of beta-HCG, a hormone which when combined with the tetanus vaccine either suppresses conception or causes the abortion of fetuses. The vaccine was available to 2.3 million girls and women of child-bearing age, 14 – 49 years (the age of consent in Kenya is 18.) The bishops issued a warning to the faithful (40% of Kenya’s population) against accepting the treatment.

Government’s response was predictably vigorous as coverage of target populations with vaccination is a major concern of the health sector and is relied on as a development indicator. It usually creeps up only incrementally and any discouragement of participation in vaccination programmes would have long term effects.

The Minister of Health issued a denial, stating the samples were tested and approved by WHO and there was no beta-HCG present in them. The bishops called it a lie, another first. Being the conduit through which an alleged abortifacient was reaching the population must have seemed like a huge responsibility in which, if their independent lab tests were correct, they were culpable. reported that the head of the Kenya Coalition of Catholic Doctors testified before Parliament to the effect that beta-HCG would not occur naturally in the tetanus vaccine and is not required in its manufacture. Dr Ngare Muhame cited irregular protocols. The campaign was launched at a reception at a swanky hotel and the occasion became known to the majority of health sector workers only after the fact; the drugs were transported to vaccination centres under police guard and administered mainly by personnel independent of the health centres. All remainders were taken away at the close of each exercise. Furthermore, the programme involved five shots of vaccine rather than the usual three. It was stated that when a similar 5-shot regime was used in Mexico, Nicaragua and the Philippines, miscarriages began to happen three years later.

The KCCB found external support in Dr. Donna Harrison, an Ob/Gyn and executive director of the American Association of Prolife Obstetricians and Gynecologists who has experience of testifying before Congress and the Food and Drug Administration as an expert witness. She confirmed the science: beta-HCG can be used as an abortifacient when combined with the tetanus vaccine and there could be no reason for beta-HCG to be present in the vaccine. If the vaccine was deliberately adulterated she said, “…it would be like lacing ice cream with LSD,…It’s that level of wrongness, [and it] raises huge concerns about population control agenda and genocide.”[19]

The argument escalated to unprecedented heights. Government claimed to have carried out its own tests with negative results: a distortion of the truth and misleading, according to the bishops. Government, they said, tested only (unadulterated) samples taken from the general medical stores and not the batch in contention.

Unicef pronounced the KCDA and KCCB beta-HCG positive test results ‘misinformation’ and took out newspaper advertisements to assure the public the vaccine was safe. In a bid for the moral high ground they lamented that the scandal was undermining faith in the health service. The BBC correspondent covered this angle, reporting the vaccine to be ‘safe and certified’ and pointing out the dangers of discouraging compliance. Tetanus had a mortality rate of one child a day at the time.

Allegations of intimidation of Kenyan doctors corroborating the KCDA claims surfaced. Eventually it was agreed to carry out joint tests.

The final report by KCCB issued in February 2015 stated that;

·     the Kenyan Government had withdrawn from the Joint Committee and joint testing was not done,

·     the Kenyan Government had tested regular vaccines from regular batches and presented the negative results for those as proof  that the vaccines in the contentious batch were not adulterated.

·     30% of the samples obtained from the new campaign and tested by the KCCB were positive for beta-HCG.

The joint denials by Unicef and WHO and a collaborating Kenyan leadership were disingenuous in as far as they required the public to believe what they said just because they said it. To insist the vaccine was sourced from ‘pre-qualified’ suppliers and therefore safe, means nothing. If an attempt were being made to sterilize women clandestinely, the parties responsible would naturally begin by compromising the pre-qualified suppliers.

Going back to 1968, in Humanae Vitae, Paul VI asks,

“Who will prevent public authorities from favoring what they believe to be the most effective contraceptive methods and from mandating that everyone must use them, whenever they consider it necessary?”

There is a Luganda saying, “Whenever he who has been bitten by a snake sees a centipede….” Given what we now know about the lengths to which the powerful will go to further their own interests at the expense of the vulnerable, and that there is a recent precedent for eugenics and clandestine sterilization in the United States and that Palestinian and other children die in their thousands on live TV and still remain invisible; KCCB, KCDA and particularly the whistle-blower ought to be commended for their due diligence.

* Mary Serumaga is a Ugandan writer.

End notes

[1] Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-60 Vol. 4 Doc. 230. Memorandum of Discussion at the 388th Meeting of the National Security Council 285, December 3, 1958.

[2] Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968, Vol, 24, Doc. 272. Memorandum From Robert Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson, Washington, April 27, 1965.

It is the accompanying note that removes any lingering doubt that LDC development was not the bottom line, Kromer wrote: “Mac—Here's a little flank attack that I think might just penetrate LBJ's defenses. It's a hard dollar and cents argument for taking a more serious view of birth control in the LDCs. Any harm in just trying this out on LBJ? It might score, and he did tell Gaud he wanted to talk aid this week. The study mentioned is a paper by Steve Enke, a RAND economist. Didn't want to overload LBJ but you ought to read it.”

[3] Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-60 Vol. 15 Doc. 2, Memorandum of Discussion at the 408th Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, May 28, 1959.

[4] Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Vol. E–14, Part 1, Documents on the United Nations, 1973–1976 Doc.125. Memorandum NSC–U/DM–130A from the Chairman of the National Security Council Under Secretaries Committee (Robinson) to President Ford, Washington, July 29, 1976.

[5] Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Vol. E–14, PART 1, Documents of the United Nations, 1973–1976, Doc. 104. Memorandum of Conversation, Washington, June 8, 1973

[6] source: Government of Uganda, Budget Speech, 8 June 2016 Annexe 3

[7] source: Government of Uganda, Budget Speech, 8 June 2016 Annexe 4

[8] Exporting Corruption: Progress Report 2015, Transparency International.

[9] Paul VI comments, “We would also say a word to…industrialists, merchants, managers and representatives of large business concerns. It often happens that in their own land they do not lack a social sense. Why is it, then, that they give in to baser motives of self-interest when they set out to do business in the developing countries? Populorum Progressio, Encyclical of Pope Paul VI on the Development of Peoples, March 26, 1967, para. 70. 

[10] Memorandum from John Rielly of the Vice President's Staff to Vice President Humphrey, Washington, April 14, 1967. Source: Minnesota Historical Society, Papers of Hubert H. Humphrey, Vice Presidential Files, 1965-68, 150.E.14.10(F), Box 933. No classification marking.

[11] Populorum Progressio, Encyclical of Pope Paul VI on the Development of Peoples, March 26, 1967. 

[12] Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, Vol. XXXIV, Energy Diplomacy and Global Issues, Doc. 285. Information Memorandum from the Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Population Matters (Claxton) to Secretary of State Rusk, April 2, 1967.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Populorum Progressio, Encyclical of Pope Paul VI on the Development of Peoples, March 26, 1967, paras 58-61. 

[15] Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Vol. E–14, PART 1, Documents on the United Nations, 1973–1976, Doc. 125. Memorandum NSC–U/DM–130A from the Chairman of the National Security Council Under Secretaries Committee (Robinson) to President Ford, Washington, July 29, 1976.

[16] Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Vol. E–14, PART 1, Documents on the United Nations, 1973–1976, Doc. 125. Memorandum NSC–U/DM–130A from the Chairman of the National Security Council Under Secretaries Committee (Robinson) to President Ford, Washington, July 29, 1976.

[17] Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Vol. E–14, PART 1, Documents on the United Nations, 1973–1976, Doc. 108. Briefing Memorandum from the Secretary of State’s Special Assistant for Population Matters (Claxton) to Secretary of State Kissinger, Washington, October 5, 1973. Para.2.

[18] Ibid.




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  • lindsay.lilburn's picture

    You should put your cultural and religious issues aside. The Planet simply cannot support the population growth Africa currently has. Your continent is in massive ecological debt already. To say the West has some duty to provide for the shortfall of a population that massively exceeds local natural resources is BS. Don't blame this on the West or expect that with your out-of-control population you have a God-given right to the same quality of life as people the West. In most Western countries the quality is of life is as a direct result of not over-populating. China is an exception - this massively over-populated country industrialized and now contributes over 1/2 the ecological debt of the planet. Thanks to them there's no more room for improvement of quality of life for the rest of us. If India and/or Africa industrialize the planet is pretty much done-for ecologically. Get your population back to 1970s level - then you can talk about improving quality of life comparable to the West. Live within your means.

    Oct 15, 2017