342. Editorial Note

In the winter of 1971–1972, the British Government requested U.S. approval for the sale of computers to a Soviet physics laboratory. After review by interested U.S. agencies, the initial British request was turned down inside the Coordinating Committee on Export Control (COCOM). The Heath government then offered a revised proposal designed to meet U.S. concerns regarding the safeguarding of computer technology. Following consideration of the British proposal in the NSC Under Secretaries Committee, Henry Kissinger, the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs, forwarded a recommendation for U.S. approval to President Richard Nixon. The President agreed and on May 12, he informed British Prime Minister Edward Heath in a written message. The Presidential letter and other documentation relating to the British computer sale are in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume IV, Foreign Assistance, International Development, Trade Policies, 1969–1972, Documents 369, 372, 373, and 374.