man sent Secretary of Commerce Averell Harriman to Europe to enlist allied cooperation in denying the Soviet Union and its allies access to such strategic technology. This led to the establishment of the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (CoCom) in Paris in 1949 to coordinate for the first time an explicit strategy of "technology denial" to the Soviet bloc countries. From the start, however, the items on which the United States imposed controls differed from those controlled by CoCom. That is, the United States controlled many items unilaterally, particularly those technologies in which it held a virtual monopoly.

Although Congress continued to hope that export restrictions could be removed eventually, increasing tensions within Europe—including, for example, the Berlin blockade—and the outbreak of the Korean War on June 25, 1950, left little doubt as to the need to renew the Export Control Act in 1951.4 At about the same time, the Congress enacted the Mutual Defense Assistance Control Act, also known as the Battle Act.5 The Battle Act allowed the United States to embargo shipments of arms, ammunition, implements of war, nuclear materials, and other strategic items to nations that posed a potential threat to U.S. national security, and it provided statutory authority for U.S. participation in CoCom.* The act also threatened to cut off U.S. economic assistance to any country that would not cooperate in controlling the export of strategic goods or technology to the Soviet Union.

By the early 1950s, U.S. and NATO strategy was firmly based on the need to contain Soviet (and Chinese) expansionist ambitions and to maintain the political and territorial integrity of the West (which, by this time, included Japan). And soon after, the NATO alliance became opposed formally by the Warsaw Pact, which was signed on May 14, 1955.

Having financed the successful reconstruction of the European and Japanese economies through a combination of credit, intentional trade deficits, and direct aid and investment, the United States was determined to protect its political and economic investment. Moreover, because its economy and technological base were so much more robust than those of its allies, the United States was prepared and able to absorb the economic costs associated with functioning as the paragon of the Western technology denial effort. At the same time, the European countries were more focused on the need to


The Battle Act was designed to increase multilateral cooperation in controlling strategic exports by enabling the United States to prohibit military, economic, and financial assistance to any country not in compliance with the act, and it provided the first codification of U.S. participation in CoCom. For more detail, see William J. Long, U.S. Export Control Policy—Executive Autonomy vs. Congressional Reform (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989), p. 18.


The original members of the Warsaw Pace were Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union. Albania has not participated since 1962 and formally denounced the treaty in September 1968.

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