CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 152: SFM Documents 1–40

Paper Prepared by the Tripartite Drafting Group of the Preliminary Conversations of the United States, United Kingdom, and France 1


Document 3 [D–5]2

Preliminary Discussion on East-West Trade

Discussion of export control policies has been principally a statement of views by the US and UK Delegations with the objective of defining areas of agreement and disagreement. While agreeing on the general objective to be sought, the French representatives have deferred comment at this time, pending instructions from Paris.

statement of issues

The US and UK representatives agree that their mutual objective in the security export control program is to increase the strength of the West relative to that of the East, and they agree that it is essential to that end to control exports of “direct military significance”. They disagree whether controls should be extended to limit as well the export of items (on the US 1–b list) which the US states have been selected for control because of their substantial contribution to the basic industrial potential required for prosecuting a general war.

The US has proposed that the Foreign Ministers agree on a statement of principles which recognize that our mutual security interest required the adoption of controls which will retard the long-term development of Soviet Bloc war potential, as well as limit its short-term striking power, by controlling not only exports of direct military significance but also exports of selected items which substantially contribute to basic industrial potential. Agreement on these principles also implies that the three Governments, in future negotiations at Paris, will reexamine the 1–b items thus far rejected for international control and promptly act to control other 1–b items now held pending further consideration.

differences of view

The U.K. position is that the proposed additional controls would result in a loss to U.K. of essential (though marginal) imports. This loss would, in the U.K. view, damage the U.K. economy and hamper its increased armaments program to a greater extent than the loss of [Page 1166] 1–b imports from U.K. would damage the Soviet Bloc. The U.S. position is that it is necessary in the interest of Western security to slow down the rate at which Soviet Bloc war potential is developing, and that this strategic consideration should prevail against considerations of economic costs, which are believed to be exaggerated and, in good part, avoidable through cooperative action in the West.

In the UK view, furthermore, it is likely that controls over 1–b items on the scale proposed by the US would so expand the controlled area as to lead to a more or less general embargo and virtual cessation of trade which would appear to the Soviet Union as “economic warfare”. The US points out in reply that its proposals refer only to controls over a selected list of items, already specified in the 1–b list and believed for the most part to contribute substantially to the build–up of basic war potential. Trade in strategic exports and essential imports would only be reduced in part if the U.S. proposals were adopted internationally.

  1. Attached to the source text was a cover sheet, dated September 6, not printed, which indicated that this paper had been agreed upon without amendment at the preliminary talks for submission to the Foreign Ministers.
  2. The bracketed series indicators in this and the following documents appear on the cover sheets to the respective documents.