460.509/1–1752: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Bruce) to the Department of State


4246. Excon from Linder pass Dupre.

At CG mtg Jan 15 all dels except Canada made general statements on Battle Act. On strong recommendation Fr and UK prior to mtg US waited until all dels had had opportunity to express their concern before US statement made.
UK led off and tone and points made were generally followed by other dels. Emphasized necessity preserving multilateral approach. Stressed importance maintaining existing COCOM strategic criteria for lists, principles and procedures re exceptions and emphasized importance of existing policy which permits exporting country itself make final decision re exceptions. Requested US to suggest modus operandi which wld meet these essential points. Brit also emphasized their view that items on title I category B1 which are not on international list I do not come within COCOM criteria for embargo and that inclusion of these items on title I is not in itself a reason for changing their present international list classification. Also indicated they have questions re munitions items on [Page 820] Cat A and Cat B lists which they will discuss later and determine whether questions are substantive or definitional. Further UK point was that either PCs yielding to US pressure or US termination of aid wld provide Commies with valuable propaganda.
Fr and number of other dels also emphasized fundamental opposition to action which might result in elimination of EW trade or econ blockage. Emphasized dollar position and continued need to import basic commodities. Fr also made point that although true that US cld withdraw aid, aid was part of our mutual efforts to use resources of free world for strength of free world. Danes made point that if US were actually to terminate aid despite fact that a country was complying fully with COCOM procedures this action wld have repercussions not only inCOCOM but also in other organizations. Most dels emphasized point made by Brit that in accordance with existing COCOM procedures, final decision as to exceptions must rest with exporting country.
US statement followed text made in Wash without significant change in substance although somewhat softened in tone and with certain shifts in emphasis in line with our prior discussions UK and Fr. Moratorium proposal somewhat altered and made on more tentative basis in order recognize possibility that info provided by PCs might disclose that problem of existing commitments at least in certain countries not unmanageable. Statement emphasized the adequate estimate of problem of existing commitments depended on availability full info and expressed hope that in course current discussions sufficient details wld be presented so that together we cld discuss means of handling problem. Suspension proposal then made in following:

Begin verbatim text. If on basis available info on existing commitments and scheduled shipments it appears that administrator wld not have time in which reach judgement, I shall suggest that shipments against these commitments be suspended as of Jan 25. This suspension wld be only for minimum time required for adequate appraisal of factors involved and wld be without prejudice to eventual fulfillment commitments if it is determined that circumstances justified exceptional treatment. End verbatim text.

US del believes this modification shld not affect intention of administrator to request Dept to approach non-COCOM countries promptly with suggestion for suspension strategic shipments although may wish modify presentation in light precise form proposal made to CG.
Most of afternoon session Jan 16 devoted to questioning US del on various aspects legislation, particularly leeway on exceptions, composition of lists and title II implementation. Linder had frequently to reiterate point that although administrator wld take [Page 821] COCOM views into account he cld not substitute COCOM views for his own.
CG met Jan 16 to approve statement prepared by drafting comite summarizing agreements and points requiring govt consideration as they emerged from discussion previous day and to consider more specific US proposal on exceptions which CG had requested US present for discussion. (Summary statement air-pouched Embdesp 18802 and US proposal summarized Embtel 42343) points of CG agreement were:
Need for continuation multilateral discussion and cooperation through COCOM.
Request to COCOM to compare title I lists categories A and B with international list I and reference munitions list in order to “identify and clarify differences”.4 In this connection COCOM directed not to concern itself with either atomic energy portion of Cat A list or “national atomic energy lists”. (Latter reference considered to exclude technical discussion AEC items Cat B.)
Members to submit lists outstanding commitments to ship title I Cat B items to COCOM as soon as possible. CG took note of US statements that not intention of US Govt to modify title I or title II list until there had been opportunity for discussion of any proposed change in COCOM and that US wld later make suggestion for discussion further action under title II.
All Eur members CG reserved for reference to govt fol US proposals:
Preconsultation on exceptions (USDel in answer to CG requests had submitted specific suggestions re amendment exception procedure, verbatim text of which is contained in separate message.)
That shipments Cat B items be suspended until time for adequate appraisal of factors involved.
Modifications in procedures re items on Cat B which do not appear on international list I (USDel made clear that it wld not press for inclusion these items on international list I at this time nor insist COCOM discussion although preferred multilateral to bilateral consideration).
Text US and UK statements fol by pouch (Embdesp 1889, Jan 175). Available info on outstanding commitments and on questions re administrative principles being cabled separately.
General feeling USDel that approach followed has been successful and that Eur countries both appreciate our desire work out procedures which will not undercut COCOM and we hope are themselves prepared now that their objections in principle are on the record to endeavor within the limits of the many practical problems they face to adjust their procedures. It is clear that everyone hopes that in adjusting procedures there will not have to be any specific reflection of US legislative requirements in the formal COCOM principles and procedures. If finally US proposals shld not be adopted del believes that other countries will have been satisfied that US genuinely interested in preserving multilateral approach to problem and that much of the resentment at US unilateral action has been removed.
CG reconvening here Jan 21 for further consideration US proposals after consulting govts.6
  1. The reference here is to Title I of the Battle Act, which lists categories of commodities subject to embargo in trade with the Soviet bloc; Title II lists categories subject to quantitative export control.
  2. Dated Jan. 17, not printed. (460.509/1–1752)
  3. Not printed; dated Jan. 16, it stressed the necessity of prior consultation in COCOM so that a participating country could obtain an exemption from the United States under the Battle Act for trading in an embargoed commodity with the Soviet bloc. (460.509/1–1652)
  4. For a discussion of the differences between the Battle Act lists and the International Lists, see the memorandum by Kean, Mar. 17, 1952, p. 831.
  5. Not printed. (460.509/1–1752)
  6. In telegram 4362 from Paris, Jan. 22, not printed, Ambassador Bruce reported that, although the COCOM members had rejected the U.S. proposal for suspending shipments as of Jan. 25, agreement had been reached on prior consultation in seeking exceptions under the Battle Act. The CG meeting was thus judged a success from the standpoint of U.S. goals.(460.509/1–2252)