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Scientific Communication and National Security
The Honorable Malcolm Baldrige
Secretary of Commerce
14th Street Washington, D.C. 20230
The Honorable Alexander M.Haig, Jr.
Secretary of State
2201 C Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20520
The Honorable Caspar Weinberger
Secretary of Defense
The Pentagon Washington, D.C. 20301
Dear Messrs. Baldrige, Haig, and Weinberger:
We are writing to request clarification of the applicability of certain export restrictions to teaching and research activities conducted by American universities. We are deeply concerned about recent attempts to apply to universities the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Examples of such efforts by government agencies include a December 12, 1980, memorandum by the Director of the Very High Speed Integrated Circuit (VHSIC) Program Office, attempts to restrict publication of unclassified university research results arising from DOD-sponsored projects, and a Department of Commerce mandate to at least one university barring certain foreign scholars from that university’s sponsored research activities due to their citizenship. Unfortunately, these initiatives appear to be only the first of many such actions to follow.
The ITAR and EAR regulations have existed for a number of years, and have not until now been applied to traditional university activities. The new construction of these regulations appears to contemplate government restrictions of research publications and of discourse among scholars, as well as discrimination based on nationality in the employment of faculty and the admission of students and visiting scholars. In the broad scientific and technical areas defined in the regulations, faculty could not conduct classroom lectures when foreign students were present, engage in the exchange of information with foreign visitors, present papers or participate in discussions at symposia and conferences where foreign nationals were present, employ foreign nationals to work in their laboratories, or publish research findings in the open literature. Nor could universities, in effect, admit foreign nationals to graduate studies in those areas. Such restrictions would conflict with the fundamental precepts that define the role and operation of this nation’s universities.
The regulations could be interpreted to cover instruction and research which, although potentially useful in military applications, have much broader utility in such other areas as medical systems and communication equipment. Such interpretations of the regulations,