Editorial Note

The Foreign Ministers of the United States, the United Kingdom, and France discussed the subject of security export control during their meetings in New York in September 1950, and signed an agreed minute which stated that it was the intention of the three countries to prepare a list of strategic items whose export to the Soviet bloc would be prohibited. As a result of this decision, representatives of the three countries met in London from October 17 to November 20, 1950, at the end of which they issued an agreed report. Of the 318 items proposed for possible export control, 74 were withdrawn by the proposing governments, while the remaining 244 items were accepted for various forms of control. It was agreed to establish an embargo on 102 items, institute quantitative control for 73 more, and exchange information on the other 69 items. The agreed tripartite proposals were their presented to the members of the Coordinating Committee (COCOM) of the Paris Consultative Group of nations which had been established for the purpose of controlling exports of strategic items to the Soviet bloc. Texts of the agreed minute signed by the Foreign Ministers in New York on September 19 and the agreed report of the London Tripartite Conversations issued on November 20, are printed in Foreign Relations, 1950, volume IV, pages 187 and 234.

During December 1950 and January 1951, the tripartite proposals were circulated among the members of COCOM who generally accepted them on the condition that certain items be eliminated or reclassified. Following a meeting of the Consultative Group in Paris on January 16 and the COCOM the next day, agreement was reached on all but 47 items included in the tripartite proposals. Technical discussions were then planned in order to reach agreement on the remaining 47 items. The technical discussions, which began in Paris on January 22 and ended 4 days later, resulted in agreement on 46 items and all reservations to their inclusion on the tripartite lists were withdrawn. The remaining unagreed item was ball bearings and a decision on its status was deferred pending further technical discussions. Extensive documentation on these negotiations within COCOM is in Department of State file 460.509.