326. Letter From the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Packard) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

Dear Henry:

I regret that I must inform you that the Memorandum and Report which the President received from the Under Secretary of State on USM-91 (Travel and Trade with Communist China)2 was in error. Specifically, the Memorandum states that the Committee agreed that “The Committee’s objective is ultimately to place exports to the PRC on the same footing as the Soviet Union, but the Committee believes it is necessary to review experience with a more restricted level of exports before moving all the way to that goal.” The Department of Defense specifically did not agree to this. In fact, it is the stated goal of Option A which the Committee considered and rejected.

It is the Defense Department’s position that the only change in our export policy should be to place individual items under general license for the PRC after interagency review to determine if they are of strategic significance to the PRC but that there should remain a significant differential in the levels of control over strategic items for PRC and the USSR because of their different levels of industrial and technological development. This step is in itself a large and important one. After a year or two of experience, the policy should then be reviewed to determine whether the US national interest could be served by taking further steps to liberalize our export policy toward the PRC. Perhaps at that time we might be in a position to decide that our ultimate goal should be to place these two communist countries on the same footing. I was under the impression that the Commerce and Justice Department’s representatives at the USC meeting of 11 February 1971 took the same position.


  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 73 D 288, NSC Under Secretaries Committee Miscellaneous Memoranda 1971-1972. Secret.
  2. Document 322. See also Document 324.