Dr. Stephen Joseph and Eugene N. Babb, the officials of the Agency for International Development who resigned in protest over the administration's position on selling infant formula in developing nations, were honored last night at a Chevy Chase party.
Hostess of the event was former Peace Corps official Perdita Huston, who said she wanted to have the party, even though she'd never met Joseph or Babb, "because I was impressed by their dignified and measured disagreement with the administration on the infant formula vote,"
At a meeting of the World Health Organization last week, the United States cast the sole "no" vote on a voluntary international code to restrict the marketing in Third World nations of infant formulas and other substitutes for breast milk. Voting against the United States were 118 nations. It has been reported that about a million babies a year die from formula prepared under unsanitary conditions.
Some 100 people came to Perdita Huston's party, invited by word of mouth. Also present were the families of Joseph, formerly AID's top health official, and Babb, previously the agency's top agriculture and rural development officer. "We wanted the families, the children and wives, to see how others respected [Dr. Joseph and Babb].
The men, still hoping the administration will change its mind, will speak out on the issue under the aegie of INFACT, the Infant Formula Action Coalition, which has coordinated the international boycott against the Nestle Company, one of the major distributors of formula in the Third World.