301. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Discussion of U.S. Attitude Toward Trade with the USSR


  • Mr. Robert Scheuer, Intertex International, Inc.
  • Mr. Morton Yuter, Intertex International, Inc.
  • Mr. Malcolm Toon, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, EUR
  • Mr. James Colbert, Economic Adviser, EUR/SOV

Mr. Scheuer outlined to Mr. Toon the status of Intertex’s recent business dealings with the USSR. He said he understood that, as a result of the Czechoslovak situation, our attitude had changed, and that we were opposed to significant new business. He wondered whether their competitors in Western Europe and Japan would be likely to follow the same policy. He also wanted to know if he would be allowed to ship some medical equipment to the USSR which he described as a routine recurring business.

Mr. Toon confirmed that the invasion of Czechoslovakia had indeed caused us to revise our thinking about trade with the USSR. He said we no longer took the line of favoring peaceful trade, but were asking U.S. business to hold off from new ventures. He also noted that we were urging other friendly governments to follow our line. With regard to the sale of medical equipment, Mr. Toon indicated that he did not think this would present a problem under the new policy. With regard to Mr. Scheuer’s question as to whether the Soviets had discussed trade with us since the events last month, Mr. Toon said that they had not.

Mr. Scheuer was interested in our views as to possible legislative action on trade. We said that it was difficult to predict at this point what Congress might do in this regard in reaction to Czechoslovakia. Any East–West trade bill was, of course, out of the question. Mr. Yuter asked whether we intended to give MFN to Romania. Mr. Colbert said that we would like to have authority across the board to extend MFN.

In conclusion, Mr. Scheuer said they would follow our guidance on future trade transactions with the USSR. He indicated some concern, however, lest business be lost to their competition.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, FT 1 USUSSR. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Colbert.