299. National Security Decision Memorandum 151


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Secretary of the Treasury
  • The Secretary of Commerce
  • The Secretary of Labor
  • The Secretary of Agriculture


  • East-West Trade

The President has made the following decisions with regard to the issues discussed at the National Security Council meeting on May 21, 1969:2

Present legislation provides an adequate basis for U.S. trade policy toward the USSR and the Communist countries of Eastern Europe at this time, in view of the status of our overall relations with them. There is thus no current need for the Administration to make any proposals, or support proposals of others, to change the Export Control Act or provide authority for the President to extend most-favored-nation treatment to these countries.3 Neither is there a need to try to facilitate sales by amendment of these regulations governing shipment to them of agricultural commodities.
In view of overall U.S.-USSR relations, we should not now issue licenses for the proposed sales of U.S. equipment and data for a semi-automated oil system and a truck engine foundry.
We should be prepared to move generously to liberalize our trade policy toward the Soviet Union and the other Eastern European [Page 785] countries whenever there is sufficient improvement in our overall relations with them.
The United States should continue to liberalize its export control list, within the framework of present legislation. As soon as possible, we should align our controls to the list agreed internationally by COCOM except where the United States can maintain effective unilateral control because the items are not available from non-U.S. sources. The United States should not place pressure on other countries not to pursue trade policies toward Eastern Europe more liberal than our own.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 80 D 305, NSDM 15. Secret.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 298.
  3. On May 29 Sonnenfeldt sent Kissinger a memorandum suggesting items to discuss over lunch with Richardson. Item 3 on East-West Trade reads: “Now that a decision memorandum has been issued (though I deplore its contents) it is important to get the Government lined up behind it. For several years, Administration representatives have publicly and privately supported an East-West trade bill and have spoken favorably about the possibility of selective MFN. This must now be changed. I believe you should raise with Richardson the desirability of having the Under Secretaries Committee take on the implementation of the NSDM so that we have a consistent line with Congress; a consistent line in background briefings and public speeches; a consistent line with East European Ambassadors, especially those from Romania and Czechoslovakia; a consistent line for VOA.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 337, HAK/ELR Meetings)