349. Message From President Nixon to British Prime Minister Heath 1

I have received your message of March 30 about the export of integrated circuit machinery,2 which gives your views on the assurances that we consider necessary. I believe that this aspect, which has longer range control implications, should now be handled at the COCOM level. As you pointed out in your message of March 28,3 the COCOM system has served a useful purpose for some 22 years. I am sure that close cooperation between the British and United States Governments will help to assure COCOM’s continued effectiveness and relevance.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 764, Presidential Correspondence, United Kingdom Prime Minister Edward Heath. Confidential. The message was sent “via Cabinet Line.”
  2. A copy is attached. In an April 3 memorandum to Kissinger, Sonnenfeldt commented that Heath’s message “also (1) said it would be difficult to obtain the assurances which the President had requested on the Polish non-reexport of the finished ICs to other communist countries; and (2) failed to respond to the President’s expressed hope that the British would continue to support denial in COCOM of the export of IC-manufacturing equipment to other communist countries.” Sonnenfeldt added that he considered a draft State Department response “inadequate” because it “did not (a) sufficiently indicate the irritation we feel at the pressure tactics which the British employed to get a favorable decision; (b) make it clear enough that we want the British to at least try again for the assurances; or (c) refer to the President’s hope that we can count on British cooperation on denial of equipment exports.” (Ibid.)
  3. A copy of the March 28 message is ibid. For more information on U.S. policy towards the British and French export of integrated circuit technology to Poland and Romania, see the chapter entitled “Coordinating Committee on Export Controls, 1969–1972,” in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume IV, Foreign Assistance, International Development, Trade Policies, 1969–1972.