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Exchange of Letters With Dr. Jean Mayer About a Follow-up Meeting of the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health

January 21, 1971

Dear Dr. Mayer:

It was particularly thoughtful of you to write to me about the Williamsburg meeting. It should be an extremely useful review of the work accomplished over the past year since the original White House Conference. I understand that you have already done a great deal to develop plans for this follow-up conference, and I want you to know how much I appreciate not only your encouraging comments but also your readiness to continue helping us out.

With best wishes,



[Dr. Jean Mayer, School of Public Health, Harvard University, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115]

Note: The President's letter was dated January 19, 1971, and released January 21.

Dr. Mayer was Special Consultant to the President in 1969 with responsibility for planning the first White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health.

Dr. Mayor's letter, dated January ,, and released with the President's letter, read as follows:

Dear Mr. President:

I would like to congratulate and thank you for calling the follow-up meeting on the Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health as you indicated you would a year ago. By doing so you have demonstrated that White House conferences can, indeed, become important tools in national planning rather than simple exercises in the listing of desirable reforms.

During the intervening year, I have seen my role as a prodder to try to get members of the administration, officials at the state and local level, industry and voluntary associations to do more to fulfill the national pledge expressed by you to eliminate hunger and malnutrition from America for all time. Let me assure you that while I have constantly pushed for more action, I have been very much impressed with the progress made this year under your leadership. The number of poor children receiving free school lunches has doubled, the number of our poor fellow citizens benefiting from food stamps has tripled. We now have an excellent School Lunch Act and a Food Stamp Act, which, while not perfect, is a definite improvement over what we had before. The F.D.A. and the Department of Agriculture have changed their regulations so as to facilitate improvement of the quality of our food supply by industry. In turn, the leadership of industry has made a serious start towards putting nutrition at the forefront of their preoccupations. Voluntary organizations, particularly the women's organizations and the churches, have been most supportive of these efforts and have often stepped in when local authorities have been less effective than they might have been.

I want to assure you that I will do what I can to make sure that the Williamsburg follow-up meeting takes cognizance of these achievements, and publicizes the fact that under your leadership more has been done in the area of hunger and malnutrition in the past year than had been done in decades before.
Sincerely yours,

[The Honorable Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States, The White House, Washington, D.C.]

Richard Nixon, Exchange of Letters With Dr. Jean Mayer About a Follow-up Meeting of the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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