Proclamation 5527 -- World Food Day, 1986
September 18, 1986
By the President of the United States of America
We Americans are blessed with nature's bounty. As children, our first prayers teach us to give thanks for the abundance we enjoy. We take for granted our full tables and the peace and security in which we enjoy them.
But, unfortunately, many do not share in our abundance. Hunger stemming from poverty and famine retains its cruel grip in many parts of the world, especially in Africa. This year, hunger is not as widespread as it was in 1985, in part because of the humanitarian spirit of Americans and other donors. No nation has been more generous to those less fortunate. We have sent billions of dollars to help other countries rebuild after war or disaster strikes. We have sent billions of tons of food to feed the hungry. And, we have sent our sons and daughters to work alongside our neighbors to help them help themselves.
The nobility of our purpose was made manifest in the great outpouring of aid Americans gave spontaneously to the victims of the African famine. Our help, both public and private, saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Last year, rain returned to Africa, and famine subsided. But hunger has not been overcome and another natural disaster, brought by locusts and grasshoppers, is bringing the threat of continued suffering.
The world is making progress in ending hunger, albeit slowly. In some countries, civil strife and socialist policies continue to fuel famine. We must continue to work towards peace and incentive policies if we are to eliminate famine caused by poverty, drought, environmental decline, and inappropriate economic policies. Many governments throughout the world have recognized that the health of their nations and their people depends on a strong agriculture, based on free enterprise and competitive markets. To this end, my Administration has encouraged policy reform efforts throughout the world, through our economic assistance programs as well as a new Food for Progress program, under which we provide grants of U.S. food to countries adopting sound agricultural policies.
Since its birth as a nation, the United States has relied on the twin pillars of individual freedom and individual enterprise as the foundations of its national economy. Political and economic freedoms cannot be separated; together, they foster a sense of social, economic, and political responsibility that sustains individual growth and fuels economic development. Without self-reliant, creative citizens, no nation can be self-sufficient politically or economically, nor can it provide sufficient food and fulfill the basic human needs of its people. Free market policies can promote economic growth based on social justice, self-reliance, and the skills of the people.
Today, millions of Americans in more than 3,000 communities will participate in a variety of World Food Day activities. The spirit of voluntarism has never shone more brightly throughout our Nation.
I ask that the American people use this day to reaffirm their commitment to ending world hunger. Ending hunger throughout the world will require a long-term commitment of the public and the private sectors, of people and their governments, and of developing and donor countries. The technological solutions to end world hunger are known to man; now we must demonstrate that we have the will to eliminate hunger and its primary source, poverty.
In recognition of the desire and commitment of the American people to end world hunger, the Congress, by Public Law 99 - 288, has designated October 16, 1986, as "World Food Day'' and has authorized the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this event.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 16, 1986, as World Food Day, and I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate activities to explore ways in which our Nation can further contribute to the elimination of hunger in the world.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eleventh.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:01 a.m., September 19, 1986]
Note: The proclamation was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on September 19.