88. Letter From the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson) to the President’s Special Assistant for Telecommunications (O’Connell)1

Dear Mr. O’Connell:

At the March 23 meeting of the National Aeronautics and Space Council, the Vice President asked members to examine our objectives [Page 165] and programs for international cooperation in space to see if proposals might be developed for making such cooperation even more effective than it is. On that occasion the Vice President appointed a subcommittee under the Chairmanship of the State Department and requested that each member of the Council submit to it his ideas on this important subject.

In pursuance of the directive from the Vice President the Department has in cooperation with other agencies of the Government, including your office, reviewed a number of possibilities for expanded international cooperation in space matters. During the course of this review it has become evident that NSAM 338,2 which established policy concerning United States assistance in the development of foreign communications satellite capabilities should be reviewed in light of recent developments.

NSAM 338, which has served well as an instrument of non-proliferation for both commercial and unique governmental communications satellite systems, by the same token limits the flow of advanced technology from the United States to foreign countries. It has become apparent in recent months that the restrictive aspects of NSAM 338 have become a political irritant to a number of European countries and are serving to limit the effectiveness of international cooperation in space matters to a degree no longer justifiable.

Under the circumstances, and as provided in the last paragraph of NSAM 338, the Department requests that a review of the NSAM be undertaken and especially of those provisions which relate to the export of communications satellite technology.

Sincerely yours,

U. Alexis Johnson
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1964–66, SP 1–1. Confidential. Drafted by Nesbitt (SCI) and cleared by Loy (E), George (G), and Pattman (L).
  2. Document 75.