Attributed to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger:
“Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the third world, because the US economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries.”
We found no good evidence to support attributing the above quotation to Kissinger.
On Facebook, we ran across a post consisting of a photo of Henry Kissinger, secretary of state in the administration of President Richard M. Nixon. The photo of Kissinger was accompanied by a supposed quotation:
Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the third world, because the US economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries.
The graphic carried the logo of azquotes.com, one of a number of websites that offer collections of quotations. A Google search for the quotation resulted in a number of hits attributing it to Kissinger.
We found the quotation suspicious because “depopulation” does not often occur as a policy recommendation compared to concepts like limiting population growth.
Sifting the Evidence
To find the origins or the original context of a quotation, we start with searches for the full quotation. From the search results, we look to see whether the quotation is attributed to more than one person. We also look for the speech or document where the statement originated. If the sites making up the search hits do not seem reliable, we restrict the search to .gov and .edu domains.
We did not find an attribution for the whole quotation. But when we broke the quotation into pieces we found a big hunk in NSSM 200, also known as “Implications of Worldwide Population Growth For U.S. Security and Overseas Interests (THE KISSINGER REPORT).” NSSM stands for “National Security Study Memorandum.” The government document was published in 1974 and made public in 1980.
Whatever may be done to guard against interruptions of supply and to develop domestic alternatives, the U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries. That fact gives the U.S. enhanced interest in the political, economic, and social stability of the supplying countries. Wherever a lessening of population pressures through reduced birth rates can increase the prospects for such stability, population policy becomes relevant to resource supplies and to the economic interests of the United States.
NSSM 200 has no “depopulation” proposals. It does outline how population pressures may lead to disruption of supplies of minerals, leading in turn to economic problems in the United States and elsewhere.
With the latter half of the quotation pinned down, we tried to find the origin of the first half.
The first half of the quotation starts appearing in the year 2000 on the Internet, at least from what our searches can tell us. Websites come and go, plus the quotation might have appeared in hard copy before it ever appeared on the Internet.
Black activist Louis Farrakhan specifically attributed both parts of the quotation to NSSM 200 on a Web page listing its last update in 2007:
In a national security memo dated April 24, 1974 titled, “Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for the United States Security and Overseas Interest,” Henry Kissinger, the Secretary of State under Richard Nixon, indicated: “Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the Third World.” Depopulation—to depopulate something means: “To ravage, to ruin, to reduce the population of, especially by violence, disease, etc.” Mr. Kissinger continued, “The United States economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries”—this means they are going to destroy the population of mainly Third World countries.
Anti-nuclear activist Leuren Moret made similar statements during a 2007 interview with Press TV of Iran:
Dr. Henry Kissinger proposed in his memorandum to the NSC that ‘depopulation should be the highest priority of US foreign policy towards the third world.’ He cited reasons of national security, and because the US economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries… wherever a lessening of population can increase the prospects for such stability, population policy becomes relevant to resources, supplies and to the economic interests of the US.
Implications of world wide population growth for US security & overseas interests”, national security memo 200, April 24, 1974
The original quote mashup may have come from Farrakhan or Moret, or another source entirely. Unless the two are using an entirely different version of NSSM 200, we don’t see how attributing the first part of the quotation to Kissinger is the least bit justified. The first part of Kissinger’s supposed statement simply does not occur in NSSM 200. Not even taken as a loose paraphrase.
Though we cannot absolutely prove Kissinger never said the words attributed to him by Farrakhan and Moret, among others, the available evidence offers no support for the idea that the first part of the quotation came from Kissinger.
We note that WikiQuote.org reached a similar conclusion.
“NSSM 200 Implications of Worldwide Population Growth For U.S. Security and Overseas Interests (THE KISSINGER REPORT).” USaid.gov. U.S. Department of State, 10 Dec. 1974. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.
“Quotes › Authors › H › Henry A. Kissinger › Depopulation Should Be the Highest Priority…” AZQuotes.com. AZQuotes.com, n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.
Treacher, Jim. “The White Man Created Ebola To Kill Black People, Says Noted Scientist Louis Farrakhan.” The Daily Caller. The Daily Caller, 02 Oct. 2014. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.
Farrakhan, Louis. “Justifiable Homicide: Black Youth in Peril, ‘An Executive Decision’ -Part 2 Continued.” The Final Call. FCN Publishing, FinalCall.com News, 30 Sept. 2014. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.
Ostovar, Afsaneh. “Wall Street Czars Depopulating the World.” Whale.to. Whale.to, 25 Oct. 2007. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.
Ostovar, Afsaneh. “Wall Street Czars Depopulating the World.” Press TV, Press TV, 25 Oct. 2007. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.
“Talk:Henry Kissinger.” Wikiuote.com. Wikimedia, n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.