Report by the National Security Council1


Control of Exports to the USSR and Eastern Europe

One of the primary objectives of United States foreign policy is the revival of a working economy in the world as a necessary step toward the establishment and maintenance of world peace. The United States Government has offered to cooperate with any government that is willing to assist in the task of recovery. Sixteen European [Page 512] countries have voluntarily joined in the development of a European recovery program, and have requested US assistance. The USSR, and its Eastern European satellite nations have refused to join (and in fact actively opposed) this program. This opposition to European recovery constitutes a threat to world peace and, in turn, to US security.

The National Security Council therefore considers that US national security requires the immediate termination, for an indefinite period, of shipments from the United States to the USSR and its satellites of all commodities which are critically short in the United States or which would contribute to the Soviet military potential. This result, however, should be achieved if possible without any overt act of arbitrary discrimination against the USSR and its satellites.

The National Security Council therefore recommends, in the interests of economic recovery, world peace, and, in turn, US national security, that Europe, including the USSR, and such affiliated areas as the Secretary of State may designate, should be declared a recovery zone to which all exports should be controlled. Exports to any country in this zone should be governed by the following principles: (a) that the US Government may, at its discretion, require the country to show adequate justification for its requirements, (b) that European recovery and world peace will be served thereby, and (c) that the position of the United States will not be adversely affected.

The Secretary of Commerce believes that this recommendation is practicable and can be put into effect from the time that additional funds to administer it are made available until the statutory authority to control exports expires on March 1, 1948. The cost to supplement the present export control staff is estimated at $141,750.00.

  1. At its Fourth Meeting, December 17, 1947, the National Security Council, in Action No. 17, adopted the proposal by the Secretary of Commerce on the control of exports to the USSR and Eastern Europe (p. 506) subject to the revision that the requirement for adequate justification should be permissive at the discretion of the U.S. Government and that the wording of such a revision be acceptable to the Departments of State and Commerce. The revised report, as printed here, was agreed to by the Departments of State and Commerce and was subsequently submitted to the President for approval.