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04ROME2319 2004-06-16 12:42:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Rome
Cable title:  

PUBLIC LAW 480 FOOD FOR PEACE PANEL AT ANNUAL

Tags:   EAID EAGR AORC PREF KUNR WFP UN 
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					  UNCLAS  ROME 002319 

SIPDIS


FROM U.S. MISSION IN ROME

DEPARTMENT PASS SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI FOR AMBASSADOR MULFORD AND USAID
DIRECTOR NORTH
AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA FOR AMBASSADOR BRAZEAL AND USAID
DIRECTOR HAMMICK
STATE FOR AS/PRM DEWEY, A/S IO HOLMES, PRM/P, EUR/WE,
EUR/NE, AF, SA AND IO/EDA BEHREND/KOTOK
USAID FOR DA/USAID SCHIECK, AA/DCHA WINTER, AA/AFR, DCHA/FFP
LANDIS, PPC/DP, PPC/DC
USDA/FAS FOR CHAMBLISS/TILSWORTH/GAINOR
GENEVA FOR AMBASSADOR MOLEY, RMA AND NKYLOH/USAID
NAIROBI FOR REFCOORD AND REDSO
KAMPALA FOR REFCOORD AND USAID
DAKAR FOR USAID/OFDA
BRUSSELS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS AND USAID/LERNER
NSC FOR JDWORKEN AND AFRICA DIRECTORATE
OMB FOR TSTOLL
USUN FOR TAMLYN AND MLUTZ

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID EAGR AORC PREF KUNR WFP UN
SUBJECT: PUBLIC LAW 480 FOOD FOR PEACE PANEL AT ANNUAL
SESSION OF THE WORLD FOOD PROGRAM EXECUTIVE BOARD, ROME, MAY
26, 2004

REF: (A) ROME 2196, (B) ROME 2243

-------
SUMMARY
-------



1. USUN-Rome organized (on the margin of the Annual Session
of the WFP Executive Board) a panel to celebrate the
fiftieth anniversary of Public Law 480, the Agricultural
Trade Development and Assistance Act that was signed into
law in 1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Ambassador
Tony Hall hosted USAID Deputy Administrator Frederick W.
Schieck, Indian Ambassador to the UN Rome Organizations
Himachal Som, and Ethiopian Ambassador Mengistu Hulluka.
They spoke on the five decades old program, described by
WFP's Executive Director Jim Morris (ref A) as "the largest
single humanitarian program in history." Schieck informed
that "over the past 50 years, the USG has contributed more
than U.S. dollars (USD) $50 billion to finance more than 367
million metric tons of food to over 150 food insecure
countries. More than 3.3 billion people worldwide have been
recipients of U.S. food assistance." Indian Ambassador Som
remarked that India has benefited immensely from PL 480
"through schemes which continue even today, towards
achieving important social objectives impacting on critical
issues of child and women development services, helping
create food security, and developing support to critical and
marginalized peoples." Ambassador Hulluka noted Ethiopia's
gratitude for the PL 480 support over the years provided by
the United States and pledged his government's support "to
working closely with all of you in successfully breaking the
cycle of hunger and famine in the Horn of Africa region."
End Summary.



--------------------------


Background


--------------------------





2. Next month the United States commemorates the fiftieth
anniversary of PL 480, which was signed into law in July
1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The U.S. organized
(on the margin of the Annual Session of the WFP Executive
Board on May 26) a PL 480 panel to look at its past
achievements, present realities and future prospects. WFP's
Executive Director Jim Morris, in his opening remarks to the
Annual Session of the Executive Board on May 24 (ref A),
described PL 480 as "the largest single humanitarian program
in history."



3. The panel was chaired by Ambassador Tony Hall; the
panelists were USAID Deputy Administrator Frederick W.
Schieck, Indian Ambassador to the UN Rome Organizations
Himachal Som, and Ethiopian Ambassador Mengistu Hulluka.

This cable summarizes remarks of the three panelists. Their
complete statements will be posted this month on the US
Mission Rome website.



--------------------------


Opening comments by Ambassador Hall


--------------------------





4. Ambassador Hall served as moderator and welcomed the
panelists and guests. There were about 50 people in
attendance, including about a dozen other Ambassadors from
different regions of the world. Selections from his opening
statement follow:

"In 1954, then President Eisenhower signed the law that
created this innovative program, which matched the bounty of
America's farmers with the needs of hungry people around the
world. After the Second World War, the United States
responded to the needs in Europe by feeding everyone in need
- friends and foes alike - through the Marshall Plan. We
started a precedent that we would not use food as a weapon,
but would instead feed those in need, regardless of
ideology.

I am proud that we still use food for peace, as a tool to
aid those who are less fortunate. I am pleased that the
United States still provides food to those in need, even if
we disagree with their governments. As President Reagan
said in reference to the Great Famine in Ethiopia in 1984,
`a hungry child knows no politics.' While some of us may
disagree on the finer points of food aid, and discuss that
in forums here in Rome and elsewhere, it is always important
to remember the beneficiaries - the men, women and children
who desperately need the food they are provided. Many would
die without it." End of Ambassador Hall's opening comments.




--------------------------



--------------------------


USAID Deputy Administrator Schieck's statement on PL 480
Food for Peace


--------------------------



--------------------------





5. USAID Deputy Administrator Schieck informed that "over
the past 50 years, the USG has contributed more than $50
billion to finance more than 367 million metric tons of food
to over 150 food insecure countries. More than 3.3 billion
people worldwide have been recipients of US food
assistance.Confronted with ever growing numbers of
emergencies and some 800 million acknowledged chronically
food insecure in the world, USAID recognizes that any type
of assistance must not increase dependency, disrupt local
markets or discourage local agricultural productivity.
USAID and its implementing partners continue to take careful

steps to conduct analyses on each program to prevent harmful
results." He described a number of MYTHS related to food
assistance: "a) buying locally is always the best way to
meet world food aid needs; b) food aid basically acts as an
impediment to local production and invariably harms local
markets; c) the United States continues to use food aid as a
means of surplus disposal; and d) the United States
continues to carry out massive bilateral food aid programs."



6. He concluded that the United States "remains open to
exploring how we might deepen our cooperative efforts with
other donors in order to achieve further coherence in our
combined responses to fighting global hunger."



--------------------------



--------------------------


Indian Ambassador to the UN Organizations in Rome, H.E.
Himachal Som


--------------------------



--------------------------





7. Summary of comments by Ambassador Som:

"Let there be no doubt that India has benefited immensely
from the PL 480 Food Aid Program, first in feeding its
millions in critical years of acute food shortage in the
fifties and sixties. Secondly, when this period was over,
thanks to the Green Revolution by the mid 1970s, to monetize
this assistance to help the creation of a number of
important food-related activities and reach the goal of self-
sufficiency in these areas; to create, through an innovative
food for work programme, of a number of critically important
agriculture-related infrastructure projects from small
village level activities to pharaonic works like the
Rajasthan Canal. Finally, through schemes which continue
even today, towards achieving important social objectives
impacting on critical issues of child and women development
services, helping create food security, and developing
support to critical and marginalized peoples. Some of these
are mammoth in vision and scope and are exemplary Government-
to-Government partnership efforts, like the Integrated Child
Development Services covering 400,000 of the 650,000
villages of India. Indeed, the non-convertible Rupee funds
created by the huge U.S. dollar (USD) $ 8.56 billion, PL 480
loans, have been utilised also in innumerable innovative and
imaginative ways like procurement of books for U.S.
libraries, for cultural and academic exchanges, science and
medical research, providing scholarships and towards meeting
local expenses of U.S. Embassy in India, etc. The PL 480
funds were even used to help feed the absolute destitute
through organizations like Mother Teresa's Sisters of
Charity."



8. Ambassador Som went on to say: "idealism.ennobled U.S.
Government's act of pragmatism. It was pragmatic to use the

funds created by the sale of excess farm production - a help
to the U.S. farmers, while furthering U.S. foreign policy
objectives around the world. It was idealistic to use the
bulk of such funds for not only feeding the hungry, but
addressing the assistance to sustain and help the most
vulnerable sections of the society, especially the rural
poor - women and children. It was again pragmatic as well
as idealistic, to use the loans for capacity building - for
reducing dependence and help towards achieving self-
sufficiency."



--------------------------



--------------------------


Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Ambassador to the UN
organizations in Rome, H.E. Mengistu Hulluka


--------------------------



--------------------------





9. Summary of comments of Ambassador Mengistu Hulluka:

"Securing a sustainable supply of food has been a priority
for the Ethiopian government and donors for twenty years.
The major famine of 1984-85 was followed by further food
shortages in 1988-1989, 1992, 1994, 1999-2000, and 2002-


2003. (There have been 15 droughts since 1965.) These all-
too-frequent occurrences indicate that disasters are
becoming increasingly endemic in Ethiopia.

Over the period 1994-2003, humanitarian food assistance to
Ethiopia totaled 5.62 million tons, of which the U.S.
contributed 2.86 million tons (50.8 percent).

We are committed to making serious efforts to prevent
famines.We are grateful for the PL 480 support over the
years provided by the United States and we look forward to
working closely with all of you in successfully breaking the
cycle of hunger and famine in the Horn of Africa region."



--------------------------


Comment


--------------------------





10. WFP's Executive Board's Annual Session provided a
wonderful off-shore forum to commemorate the fiftieth
anniversary of America's PL 480 Food for Peace. We are
grateful for DA Schieck's visit, his staff's hard work, and
the opportunity to showcase, in a UN-setting, a model U.S.
program. The United States is WFP's leading food aid donor
(USD $8.77 billion, 1992-2003), played the key role in
promoting the creation of this remarkable institution, and
has over the past dozen years provided outstanding American
leadership to the organization in Catherine Bertini and Jim
Morris. And it was largely PL 480 that drove United States
contributions through WFP in 2003 to USD $1.47 billion, the
largest voluntary donation to the UN and to a humanitarian

agency in history. In sum, PL 480 fifty years on - alive,
relevant, and still very much needed. Hall


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2004ROME02319 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED