The delegation arrived in Europe on April 29, 1990, and on May 1 the United States announced its proposed changes for the administration of the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (CoCom) and its control lists. This timing provided the delegation with a unique opportunity to gauge the reaction of the Europeans to the U.S. proposal.


The Need for Export Controls

Almost no one with whom the European delegation met advocated the complete abolishment of export controls. Although there was general consensus that the Soviet and Warsaw Pact threat had diminished, most interlocutors thought that some controls should be retained. But it was abundantly clear that the West Europeans now viewed the Soviet Union in a different light and no longer viewed as credible the scenario that assumed a Warsaw Pact invasion of Western Europe. Moreover, much of Europe, especially Germany, was looking to the East as a potential marketplace. Thus, many expressed the view that some controls on very advanced technology should remain, but that the West and CoCom should decrease the number of items that are controlled to the proscribed nations.

U.S. Proposal to CoCom

The May 1990 U.S. proposal to modify the current CoCom control lists and its agreement to move toward a "core list" of controlled items was universally applauded in Europe. There was, however, concern about how far the United States actually was willing to go to decontrol the export of advanced technology to the former members of the Warsaw Pact. A recurring theme was the need to assist Soviet President Gorbachev in his attempts to restructure the Soviet economy. The Soviet effort will require a dramatic infusion of Western technology, especially in the field of telecommunications, and many of the Europeans were eager to provide such assistance and technology.


The delegation was chaired by panel member Kenneth Dam and included panel members Boyd McKelvain and Granger Morgan, project director Mitchel Wallerstein, and staff member Thomas Snitch. (Mr. Dam did not participate in the meetings in Belgium, and Mr. McKelvain did not participate in the meetings in Great Britain.)

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