661.009/8–1648: Circular airgram
The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Missions Abroad 1
Subject: Prevention of Export of Atomic Energy Materials and Equipment to Soviet Countries2
Reference is made to various communications between the Dept and certain of the posts listed at the close of this airgram pursuant to which (a) Emb London and US authorities in Germany have taken steps to secure establishment of controls similar to those used in US to prevent export or trans-shipment of atomic energy materials to countries and areas under Soviet domination and (b) Stockholm and Bern have been instructed regarding specific cases of this nature.
Dept, in collaboration with AEC, has also taken steps to encourage establishment of controls over export of these materials from Canada, Japan, South Korea and Brit Occupation Zone of Germany. Assurances have been received from UK and Canadian Govts that suitable procedures will be initiated and it is expected that US occupation authorities in Japan and Korea and US and UK authorities in Germany will be able to secure reasonable degree of control in their respective areas.
The use of diplomatic channels to secure control objectives in field of atomic energy has been considered in the light of contemplated activities of ECA. As indicated in Dept’s recent cable of July 26 (sent London as 2793, repeated to other OEEC capitals)3 US contemplates [Page 740] seeking by negotiations through US Special Rep under EC Act (Harriman)4 cooperation of all participating countries with respect to export to Eastern Europe of items important to the war potential of the USSR, envisaging establishment of controls similar to those now in effect in US, pursuant to powers vested in Dept of Commerce under the Second Decontrol Act of 1947.5 In connection with consideration of the broader program, the question was of course raised as to whether atomic energy materials should be included. As a result of discussions between representatives of the Dept and ECA, ECA has expressed its concurrence with Dept’s view that approaches to Govts of OEEC countries looking toward establishment of suitable controls over export of atomic energy items should be made separately through diplomatic channels. This view based primarily on belief that since control of such materials is of high security interest both to US and to such countries, and also since monetary value of materials is not likely to be an important factor in their foreign trade, use of ECA leverage, or any appearance of its use, is neither appropriate nor necessary. It is agreed that Dept (acting on behalf of AEC) will keep ECA fully informed and consult from time to time on activities re AEC items.
In order to achieve similar cooperation of all friendly countries capable of supplying materials of usefulness in Soviet atomic energy development, it is desired that the posts numbered 1 to 6 designated for action at the end of this airgram, initiate discussions with the Govts of the countries of respective assignment to ascertain 1) the extent to which these materials are produced or capable of being produced in each respective country, 2) whether any significant orders for delivery to Eastern Europe are now pending, 3) what supervision or controls either informal or official are now exercised over export of these items, and 4) whether it may be desirable to offer technical assistance of USAEC to delineate specific items of importance in atomic energy field. Depending on the outcome of these initial discussions as reported to the Dept, the various Officers in Charge will be instructed as to further required action. Posts 7 through 15, for whom this airgram is sent at this time for info and comment, will be instructed by the Dept at an appropriate stage regarding necessary action. Issuance of these instructions will be governed by various conditions including need for action and the availability of AEC technicians re 4) above. Meanwhile any comments or information pertaining to the subject under reference will be of interest to the Dept. France considered special case and Dept solicits views of Emb Paris regarding the advisability of making initial exploration of the subject through reliable French officials.[Page 741]
The following lists indicating items of atomic energy usefulness and current US policies with respect to export of such materials, have been prepared by the AEC in collaboration with Commerce and other Departments concerned with export controls and ECA has been informed of composition of lists per agreement referred to above. These lists are transmitted herewith for the guidance of the Officers in Charge in connection with the contemplated discussions with other govts. For purposes of this airgram, its provisions apply to all countries and areas under Soviet domination including Northern Korea, North China and Manchuria and those countries from which transshipment is considered likely.
List A* comprises most items now controlled under formal export regulations issued publicly by the AEC pursuant to its responsibilities under the Atomic Energy Act of 1946. There is, of course, no objection to the disclosure of this list to the representatives of other govts and Dept suggests that all items on List A be given frank and open discussion. As objective of such discussions, it is desired that other govts institute procedures over List A items similar to those now practiced by the US to embargo shipment of these materials to countries in the Soviet orbit and to lessen the likelihood of trans-shipment to Soviet dominated countries through careful screening of reliability of consignees and of reasonable requirements for such materials in the country of destination.
For the information and use of the Missions in connection with this airgram, there are being transmitted under cover of a separate instruction, copies of the two basic regulations of the Atomic Energy Commission specifying List A items, namely Part 40 and Part 50 of Title II, Atomic Energy, Code of Federal Regulations entitled respectively, “Control of Source Materials” and “Control of Facilities for Production of Fissionable Material”.
List B6 includes those items which have some general industrial application but which also have utility in the atomic energy field. Export of the subject items from the US are controlled by the AEC in collaboration with the Dept of Commerce through use of the licensing authority of the latter, supplemented by the voluntary compliance of US manufacturers which is deemed essential to the maintenance of any close control.[Page 742]
Because of the especial importance of materials and equipment on List B in possible facilitation of Soviet atomic energy production program it is desired that insofar as possible all exports to the USSR or its satellite areas should also be completely embargoed.
It is probable that the various European govts may be unaware of the significance of some of the items on List B. As it is undesirable to disseminate list on wider basis than required, Dept suggests the Officer in Charge be guided by the following in conducting his investigations: (1) List B in its entirety is intended for the Mission’s info only, and is to be handled solely by the Officer in Charge. However, at his discretion, he may reveal its contents to designated officers in his Mission. (2) Individual items should not be disclosed to the other Govts unless it becomes apparent that a specific material or item is or potentially may be produced or manufactured in the country. (3) In order to develop info without unnecessary disclosure of List B items, it is suggested that the initial inquiries of the Officer in Charge be of a general and broad nature and that, depending on the response, he subsequently narrow the discussion toward the specific List B items of interest.
- This circular airgram was sent for action to the following missions: 1. Bern, 2. Stockholm, 3. Brussels, 4. The Hague, 5. Rome, 6. Oslo; the airgram was sent for the information and comments of the following missions: 7. Paris, 8. Copenhagen, 9. Vienna, 10. Luxembourg, 11. Dublin, 12. Reykjavik, 13. Athens, 14. Ankara, 15. Lisbon, 16. London, 17. Frankfurt, 18. Berlin; it was sent for the information only of the following missions: 19. Moscow, 20. Warsaw, 21. Helsinki, 22. Prague, 23. Belgrade, 24. Budapest, 25. Trieste, 26. Bucharest, 27. Sofia, 28. Madrid.↩
- For documentation on general United States policy on trade with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, see vol. iv, pp. 489 ff.↩
- Not printed.↩
- W. Averell Harriman, Special Representative of the United States Economic Cooperation Administration in Europe.↩
- Public Law 188, 80th Cong., 1st sess., July 15, 1947 (61 Stat. 821).↩
- (Officers who have seen ECA cable Torep 183, July 15, with supplementary Airgram Torep A–3, July 19, will note that the latter includes some items also appearing on Lists A and B of this communication. Steps are being taken here to reconcile such conflicts, and, pending further clarification, Dept-AEC Lists herewith should govern in all instances.) [Footnote in the source text. Neither telegram 183 nor airgram Torep A–3 is printed.]↩
- See footnote *, above.↩