4. Memorandum From the Acting Deputy Director of the Office of International Scientific and Technological Affairs (Joyce) to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Rostow)1


  • Proposals for Scientific and Technological Cooperative Projects with Europe
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Your office has requested an inventory of the major proposals outstanding for technological and scientific cooperation between Europe and the United States. Attached are brief notes on fourteen such proposals. There are a large number of bilateral and multilateral projects current between Europe and the United States; the ones we have selected represent only those presently under discussion or offering actual or potential political problems.


Tab A Fanfani Proposal

Tab B OECD Program in Technological Cooperation

Tab C U.S. Proposal for Defense Communications Satellites

Tab D U.S. Assistance to ELDO

Tab E Cooperative Program for Advanced Space Research

Tab F U.S. Proposal for a NATO Computer Center

Tab G NASA’s Technology Utilization Program

Tab H International Cooperation in Military R & D

Tab I Information Pooling Agreements in the Nuclear Field

Tab J U.S.-EURATOM Cooperation in the Peaceful Use of Atomic Energy

Tab K Proposed USAEC-Spanish Cooperation in Reactor Development (DON Project)

Tab L International World Weather Program

Tab M Water for Peace Program

Tab N Cooperation in Desalting

Tab A

The Fanfani Proposal to Bridge the Technological Gap Between the United States and Europe

I. Background

In a meeting at New York on September 19, 1966, Minister Fanfani presented a document to Secretary Rusk personally.3

A presumably identical document “Europe’s Technological Gap and the Desirability of an International Collaboration for a ‘New Drive,’” was presented to an Embassy officer in Rome by Ambassador Mondello on September 22. Mondello said that Minister Fanfani, encouraged by the interest of Secretary Rusk, had instructed the Foreign Office to transmit the document personally to representatives of all embassies of NATO countries in Rome.

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GOI officials have admitted to Embassy Rome that the main purpose of the Italian proposal is political, planned to breathe new life into the Atlantic Alliance by an action which will hopefully capture the public imagination. The Italians also hope that it may counter the effect of the French NATO policy and perhaps even induce France to reconsider the benefits of the Alliance. For this reason the Italians believe that their proposal should be taken up by NATO rather than EEC or OECD.

II. Substance of Proposal

The document notes that the technological gap between the U.S. and other developed countries of the Western World is growing and becoming a matter of serious concern. The prospects of economic unbalance and its undesirable political consequences, “psychological discomfort”, and weakening of the West lead to the necessity of an initiative directed towards an increasing and balanced advancement of the countries of the Atlantic zone.

The initiative should emphasize the paramount importance of close collaboration among European countries, and promote greater collaboration between Europe and the United States.

In essence, two things must be brought about:

A “new technological drive” for Western Europe.
A “technological agreement” for collaboration with the United States.

The initiative should be launched by a “common declaration” of the NATO Governments, proposing to convene a conference to negotiate a “technological agreement”. Interested non-NATO Governments would be invited to participate.

Then an “international institution” would be established to coordinate the European effort and to execute the agreement with the U.S. The immediate task would be to elaborate a “ten-year plan for technological development”, with a determination of “priority areas”, such as

aeronautical industry
space research and booster rockets
satellites for every use
atomic and energy research
desalination and pollution control

Another important requirement is the establishment of a method of cooperation between Europe and the U.S. There can be cooperation on “specific projects,” such as planetary exploration, a great protonsynchrotron, and a hydrogen-oxygen space booster. One can also envisage “sector cooperation,” for instance in electronics within a framework of “production agreements” with the U.S.

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Third countries, particularly those of Eastern Europe and developing countries, should not be ruled out.


Only a few preliminary comments have been received from posts in NATO countries. They indicate considerable interest in the Fanfani proposal but also skepticism. The existence and seriousness of the technological gap is generally recognized, but some think that OECD may be a better vehicle for action than NATO. The vagueness of the Italian proposal with respect to the nature of the “Technological Agreement” is noted, but no useful constructive comments have yet emerged.

The President has twice (in the Erhard communiqué and in his New York speech on European policy)4 publicly welcomed the Italian initiative and recognized the desirability of cooperative action in the technological sphere.

The Department and other agencies are studying the proposal. We have put a number of questions to the Italians in an attempt to understand better their thinking—and perhaps to induce them to clarify their own ideas, which are clearly grandiose but also somewhat fuzzy as presented in their memorandum. We have told the Italians that we agree with the implication of the memorandum that the primary emphasis should probably be placed on project, as opposed to sector, cooperation, and that we see no necessary conflict between the Italian proposal and the study of technological potentials that the OECD is undertaking. We do not believe the value of technological cooperation depends on the validity of the “technological gap” concept, which is an oversimplified approach to the subject.

We are sympathetic to the Italians’ desire to use an approach to the technological problem to strengthen NATO and European unity. However, we will be in a better position to take a position on the specifics of their proposal when we receive a clearer view of it, which we expect to be presented at the NATO Ministerial meeting in December. We understand the Italians are refining their proposal.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1964–66, SCI 1–1 EURW–US. Confidential. Drafted by Henri Bader (SCI) and Eugene Kovach (SCI) and cleared by George S. Springsteen (EUR).
  2. Only Tab A is printed.
  3. Fanfani’s proposal was the result of an Italian Foreign Ministry study sparked by his conversation with Secretary Rusk on June 5. See footnote 2, Document 2. A portion of the September 19 Rusk-Fanfani memorandum of conversation is in Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. XIII, Document 205. Fanfani’s paper was not found.
  4. For texts, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966, Book II, pp. 1079–1080 and 1127.