386. Letter From the Assistant General Manager for National Security of the Atomic Energy Commission (Giller) to the Acting Staff Director of the National Security Council Under Secretaries Committee (Weiss)1

Dear Mr. Weiss:

I refer to your memorandum of November 24, 1972, to Chairman Schlesinger enclosing a copy of the National Security Decision Memorandum 159 (NSDM-159) COCOM Study and requesting AEC’s concurrence or comments.2

The Commission has reviewed this study and is in agreement with the general substance of the report. With specific reference to the Options and Recommendations, the Commission favors the preservation of the COCOM system and a positive program to prevent its deterioration as similarly reflected in Option A. To achieve this goal, it recommends options (4), (5), and (6) of Option A3 and the various options set forth in Option B. The Commission noted that State and Commerce are recommending Option C. (3) to increase the de minimis level from $500 to $1,000 and the servicing level from $4,000 to $5,000. While the Commission is sympathetic to decreasing the administrative burden occasioned by exception requests, it noted in the report that the present levels were at least doubled in September of this year, and concluded that further refinements in the embargo definitions based on careful technical reviews would be a more practical solution than arbitrarily increasing the value of the de minimis and servicing levels. With regard to Option C. (4), it was concluded that while changes in the COCOM list were necessary to maintain a current and workable list, these changes should result from careful strategic evaluations and current policy guidance or criteria as suggested in Option A. (5) without preconception of how the list should be limited.4

Since the Commission’s views are not completely shown in the draft report, we would ask that they be reflected in the proposed memorandum to the President.


Edward B. Giller
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 83 D 305, NSDM 159. Confidential. The letter is Tab D to a December 30 memorandum from Armstrong to Irwin; see footnote 1, Document 387.
  2. See Document 383 and footnote 1 thereto.
  3. Language to this effect was added as paragraph 4 to the Option A section of the revised text of the paper attached to Document 383. See Document 385 and footnote 1 thereto.
  4. Language that reflects the AEC’s views on Option C is included in the revised page 8. See footnote 3 above.