318. Memorandum From the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Secretary of Commerce


  • Export Controls

The President has made the following decisions on this subject on the basis of the several memoranda recently submitted by the Secretary of Commerce:2

The list of items and data subject to control for export to the USSR and the Communist countries of Eastern Europe should henceforth be limited to:
COCOM items
Those non-COCOM commodities and technical data, which, in the judgment of the U.S., could contribute significantly to the development, production, or use of military hardware, or to the military-supporting industrial capability of the USSR and the countries of Eastern Europe, to the detriment of our national security, regardless of foreign availability.3
Decisions on specific cases should be made as recommended in Section H of the paper prepared by the Interagency Ad Hoc Group on Implementation of the Export Administration Act of 1969, taking into account that Option D was chosen.4 This would permit denial in exceptional situations of items which would contribute significantly to the military-supporting industrial capability of the USSR and Eastern Europe, notwithstanding foreign availability.
Decisions on specific cases should take account of over-all U.S. policy toward the specific country for which the export is destined. At present, this would mean, for example, more liberal treatment for Romania than for other Eastern European states.5
Validated export license controls should be removed on the 216 selected commodities to Eastern European countries including the USSR) which all agencies agree fall outside the definition of paragraph 1.6
The proposed 271 commodity entries should be removed from the list for control to Romania.
The special controls on the export of 261 items to East Germany should be retained.7 However, all new decontrol actions, including that of paragraph 4, should apply to East Germany as well as to all other Eastern European countries.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 83 D 305, NSDM 15. Confidential. Copies were sent to the Director of Central Intelligence, the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, and the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
  2. See Document 316.
  3. This is Option 3 recommended by the Department of Defense; see Document 317. President Nixon may have discussed the options and arrived at a decision pursuant to a luncheon meeting with Laird, Packard, Kissinger, and the JCS on April 13; a meeting with Laird, Rogers, Wheeler, and Kissinger (for part of the time) later in the day; and brief phone calls to Rogers and Laird on April 14. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary)
  4. See Document 316 and footnote 5 thereto.
  5. See footnote 1, Document 317.
  6. On April 29 Assistant Commerce Secretary Davis sent Kissinger a memorandum informing him that a routine news release on that day would announce that export controls on exports of selected U.S.-origin products to Eastern Europe were being eased. Davis noted that the decontrol announcement for two items, “other iron and steel scrap” and “trucks, truck chassis, and truck tractors,” was being delayed. In the case of iron and steel scrap, there was strong pressure to place it under short supply controls to all destinations. Regarding trucks, Davis expressed concern that decontrol at that time might give the erroneous impression that the action was a direct result of a recent visit of Henry Ford to Eastern Europe. Davis added that a separate Export Control Bulletin regarding the Romanian decontrol action was planned for the following week, pursuant to coordination underway for Congressional clearance and with the Department of State. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 213, Commerce, Volume I 1970)
  7. See footnote 1, Document 317.