460.509/6–2652: Telegram

The Chargé in France (Achilles) to the Department of State 1


8120. Excon. From Linder.

CG discussion of black list Jan [Jun] 24–25 led to agreement COCOM shld resume study soonest to work out procedure for “watch list” (liste de surveillance), which cld be put into operation without delay, on fol general principles (summarized):
Individuals WU or firms shld be placed on list whenever, under criteria COCOM to develop, there is reason believe their activities constitute danger to PC controls over strategic materials.
Resident of PC or PC overseas territories shld be nominated only thru PC govt. Govts having information re undesirable activities of other PC residents are urged make info available to PC govts so far as feasible.
Residents third countries may be nominated by any PC without necessarily consulting third govt. If, however, known to be PC nationals, their names shld be submitted only agreement with PC govt.
PCs shall take special precautions by making most thorough checks on all proposed transactions in strategic goods involving any person on list.
PCs shall report to COCOM any info obtained from such checks, with view to removing names from list where justified, retaining on list subject to above actions, or in appropriate cases, increasing stringency of restrictions.
More restrictive action wld normally be refusal of access to supplies of strategic goods. Where such tightening considered necessary for third country resident, third govt shld be consulted so far as possible.
COCOM was also directed estab principle of limitation on denial actions corresponding with principle in BL codification (para 3(B), Doc. 6662).
At tripartite meeting before CG, French and UK expressed deep concern over use of term “black list”, problem of nominating third country national in absence consultation with third govts and certain domestic legal problems. Though both regretted reversal of agrmt already reached in COCOM they felt polit considerations made this necessary. On basis UK suggestion, proposal for new watch list was drafted.
At CG, June 24 UK presented new proposal and supporting [Page 863] reasons. Netherlands and Belg dels were highly critical of UK, French and Itals for reneging original COCOM agrmt, their unwillingness accept grey list as substitute for BL, and deep concern lest WL proposal result in less thorough check on strategic goods to firms not on WL. After further discussion working group was established to draft new version which was taken up in CG June 25 and finally accepted as summarized in para 1 above. This acceptance was for purpose of instr to COCOM, with final govt acceptance deferred until detailed procedure developed and referred back.
USDel called attention to longstanding recognition PC not obligated confine their controls to COCOM minimum level and stated US concurrence on proposed watch list procedure shld not be considered commitment not to take such further action as it saw fit in connection with its own watch list. Neth del was concerned by this statement but point was clarified when all dels agreed to limitation principle mentioned in para 1 (g) above.
Point in para 1 (b) above re providing info included at Neth request in order permit parent govt to look into suspicious cases even if not proposed for list. US rep in working group agreed such course generally but noted wld involve number of difficulties (workload, compromising intelligence, etc.) and shld, therefore, be explored further.
Question of special secrecy for list was briefly discussed Neth felt high degree secrecy essential; Italy doubted complete secrecy could be maintained; Den felt secrecy interfered with Den practices which entail consultation with industry and trade assocs. No final positions taken. Question to be further discussed in COCOM.
Major differences between new plan and previous black list agrmt seem to be:
Changed character of list shld permit broader use, incl use for cases worth watching but nevertheless not meeting strict criterias of black list. This may increase security protection.
Ultimate application of black list treatment is implied rather than specified. Is implied in concept of two classifications, one of which comes into use only after surveillance and is presumably limited to highly selected group.
New plan contains provision contemplating third countries wld normally be consulted before severe action taken against its nationals. This may reduce possibility of adverse reactions from third countries.
Previous concept of automatic denial is not as specific in new plan altho practice may produce same result.
New plan does not, at least yet, provide for high degree of secrecy specified in black list agreement. Some possibility some relaxation of even normal secrecy may develop.
  1. Repeated to London, Bonn, Brussels, Copenhagen, The Hague, Lisbon, Oslo, Rome, Luxembourg, Bern, Helsinki, Stockholm, and Vienna.
  2. Not printed; dated Apr. 2, 1952, it listed criteria for placing firms or individuals on the Secret International Black List and procedures for proposing additions or deletions to that list and briefly discussed the sanctions to be applied to those listed. (E/MDAC files, lot 59 D 665)