460.509/1–2452: Telegram

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


4424. Excon. Ref Embtels 2117, Oct 10, 2404, Oct 24, 3761, Dec 22; and Deptels 2298 and 3436, Dec 11.1

With concurrence all members USDel to CG, formal statement was made yesterday by USDel in COCOM as to meaning of US concurrence in COCOM List II recommendations. Full text reproduced as COCOM Doc 5832 will be airpouched. Major points are as fol:
Reiterates US statement in CG that Battle Act admin has not yet reviewed List II recommendations, especially for items on Title [Page 829] II, so that US acceptance is on temporary basis. Expresses hope that this gen reservation can be removed at early date and replaced by specific proposals on particular items, if we have any.
Emphasizes importance of quid pro quo principle, expressing confidence PCs will fully observe its spirit as applied to quota exports. Clarifies that US has accepted certain global quotas with reluctance and does not consider that quota quantities (except where purely token) are in any sense “non-strategic” or that they may be exported without regard to what is received in return. Indicates that US, if called upon to justify and defend exports of those goods (within quota limits) wld consider they do not make contribution to Sov bloc war potential which is “significant” in sense that it is out of proportion to advantages derived from continued imports essential goods from Sov bloc. Admits that PCs are to “satisfy themselves” as to essentiality of goods received; i.e., we are assuming prima facie that essential goods received. “As practical matter, occasion shld seldom, we hope never, arise to inquire whether assumption was well founded in a given case.”
Points out that since COCOM recommendations do not take into account western supply situation, our acceptance does not prevent discussions this aspect either bilaterally or multilaterally in appropriate forums.
States “we also consider that gen reservation applies so far as protection direct US security interests are concerned. Although we may accept COCOM recommendations for disposition particular items, for example, we take it for granted we are free to choose whether we wld allow exports of security goods to any country under conditions which, in our own opinion, wld defeat purposes of controls we desire to maintain for security or other reasons.”
States that with respect to few specific items (among those being controlled on 3 (D) basis) where COCOM PCs have disagreed as to strategic importance, and where COCOM has placed differing views on record and left each PC free to determine degree of control, US considers that in placing its own views on record it has maintained its independent position and its freedom to discuss such items with other govts individually or in COCOM if it finds this necessary or desirable.
USDel statement elicited no immediate response in COCOM. Comments or questions may come later after document seen by govts.3 Wld be helpful in this connection if Battle Act administration cld review List II recommendations promptly, enabling USDel to state affirmatively that US Govt accepts those recommendations (subj to understandings and reservations set out in para A statement) without specific reservations owing to Battle Act.
At time of statement, USDel also accepted item dispositions recommended in Doc 557,4 with reservations per Deptel 4008, Jan [Page 830] 11,5 except that items 2480 and 2635 were accepted for 3 (D) in view agreement on prior consultation reached in CG meeting.
  1. None printed; each dealt with various aspects of negotiations on items on International List II in light of the newly implemented Battle Act. (460.509/10–1051; /10–2451; /12–2251; /10–1051;/12–1151)
  2. Not found in Department of State files.
  3. For an indication of the reactions of the governments of the COCOM member countries, see the fourth progress report on NSC 104/2, Apr. 23, p. 834.
  4. Not found in Department of State files.
  5. Not printed; it discussed the transshipment of International List I items. (460.509/12–2851)