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The U.S. Armed the Soviet Union During the 'Cold War'

by John Spritzler

December 13, 2016

The American ruling class armed the Soviet Union during the "Cold War." This fact is spelled out in detail by Antony C. Sutton in his book, National Suicide: Military Aid to the Soviet Union, published by Arlington House, New Rochelle, New York, in March 1974 (third printing) and online here, excerpts from which are presented below.

National Suicide either references directly the documentary sources of its assertions or else refers the reader to the documented sources for those assertions that are in his prior three volume work, Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development. These three volumes are available (directly or indirectly) from Amazon (and are online here and here and here) and are thoroughly documented. I possess all three volumes and have spot-checked the sources and found them to be valid.

If one is inclined not to believe what Sutton asserts in his book, National Suicide (skepticism is, of course, understandable!), I suggest that one obtain the three books of his that contain the additional documentation, and then check out the documents and only then make a decision as to whether or not his factual assertions are well-founded.

A Note about Antony Sutton's Politics

Antony Sutton's political view can be succinctly expressed this way: He believed in the free enterprise system, as opposed to "statist" systems such as Nazism and Communism that he condemned for their anti-democratic and oppressive acts. On this basis he supported the United States against its Fascist and Communist enemies. At the same time Sutton opposed capitalists using the government to personally enrich themselves and was therefore very critical of many of America's wealthiest people who, as he discovered and wrote about in other books, had been or were using not only the United States government but also the Nazi German government and the Bolshevik Soviet government to enrich themselves at the expense of ordinary people.

Sutton's books give differing explanations for why U.S. corporate and government rulers armed the Soviet Union. In National Suicide and the prior three volumes it is based on, Sutton says the explanation is essentially some greed and a lot of stupidity. In a later book about Yale's Skull and Bones secret society, Sutton argues that key U.S. rulers support both sides of wars such as (but not limited to) the Cold War in order to become more powerful and control people.

Why Did the American Ruling Class Arm the Soviet Union?

Why did the American ruling class arm the Soviet Union when, supposedly, it was deadly afraid of the Soviet Union? Excellent question! The most compelling answer in my opinion is that the American ruling class wanted a credible foreign enemy with which to control the American people. Such an enemy enabled the rich upper class rulers to pose as the protectors of the nation from the Evil Empire, and in this way make Americans tolerate unjust domination by this upper class, including allowing it to make huge profits from the weapons industry by bilking American tax-payers. (Soviet rulers likewise needed the American bogeyman enemy to control their own people.) Waging the Cold War as an Orwellian war of social control cost many ordinary people their lives and kept most people in great fear, but it was wonderful for the ruling elites.

Preventing "Communist expansion" abroad was also the perfect pretext for the U.S. government to invade other nations and overthrow foreign governments whenever it suited the American ruling class. But for this pretext to be credible, the Soviet Union had to be a serious military power, which U.S. rulers guaranteed by doing what is described below.

Excerpts from National Suicide: Military Aid to the Soviet Union


"Each year in the spring the North Vietnamese have attempted to conquer the South. In 1972, in their latest attempt, a full-scale invasion was launched with various kinds of heavy equipment they had not previously used. The tanks, guns and trucks came from the Soviet Union--and were produced in plants erected and equipped by American and European companies.

"The T-54 tank was used in force in early 1972. The T-54 has a modified Christie-type suspension. The GAZ trucks on the Ho Chi Minh trail came from the Ford-built Gorki plant. The ZIL trucks on the Ho Chi Minh trail came from the Brandt-built plant. Both plants were equipped with new American machinery while the Vietnamese War was in progress. The amphibious PT-76 tank is manufactured at Volgograd--in a factory built by eighty U.S. firms. This is called "peaceful trade" by the mystics in Washington.

"As the material presented in this book will show, the "arsenal for revolution" was built by Western firms and has been kept in operation with "peaceful trade." When all the rhetoric about "peaceful Trade" is boiled out, it comes down to a single inescapable fact--the guns, the ammunition, the weapons the transportation systems that killed Americans in Vietnam came from the American-subsidized economy of the Soviet Union. The trucks that carried these weapons down the Ho Chi Minh trail came from American-built plants. the ships that carried the supplies to Sihanoukville and Haiphong came from NATO allies and used propulsion systems that our state Department could have kept out of Soviet hands--indeed, the Export Control Act and the Battle Act, ignored by State, required exactly such action.* The only other route for these supplies was by rail across Siberia and China. But Soviet locomotives and railroad-operating equipment have also been traced to U.S. and European origins.

"Whichever way we cut the cake, there is only one logical and inescapable conclusion: The technical capability to wage the Korean and Vietnamese wars originated on both sides in Western, mainly American, technology, and the political illusion of "peaceful trade" was the carrier for this war-making technology.

"As U.S. casualties in Vietnam mounted, the lessons of history were clear for those with eyes to see--reduce trade with the USSR and all suppliers to North Vietnam, and so provide an incentive for the other side to decelerate the conflict. (This is not hindsight; the writer made this argument, in print, in the mid-1960s.) Both the Johnson and Nixon administration irrationally and illogically chose to expand trade--the carrier for the technology required to fuel the North Vietnamese side of the war--and so voted to continue the war.

"The more Hanoi stoked up the war, the more Soviet Russia received from the United States. American policy--wittingly or unwittingly--was guaranteed not only to maintain the Vietnamese War but to expand it, increase our losses, and compound the problem of preserving South Vietnam." [pg. 46-47, 1974 hardcover edition, as all further page numbers are from also]

"American Ball Bearings for Soviet Missiles"

"Ball bearings are an integral part of many weapons systems; there is no substitute. The entire ball bearing production capability of the Soviet Union is of Western origin--utilizing equipment from the United States, Sweden, Germany, and Italy. This transfer has been fully documented elsewhere (see Bibliography)....

"Soviet dependence on the West for ball bearings technology peaked after the years 1959-61, when the Soviets required a capability for mass production, rather than laboratory or batch production, of miniature precision ball bearings for weapons systems. The only company in the world that could supply the required machine for a key operation in processing the races for precision bearings (the Centalign-B) was the Bryant Chucking Grinder Company. Its miniature ball bearings in 1951 were either imported or made in small lots on Italian and other imported equipment.

"In 1960 there were sixty-six such Centalign machines in the United States. Twenty-five of these machines were operated by the Miniature Precision Bearing Company, Inc., the largest manufacturer of precision ball bearings, and 85 percent of Miniature Precision's output went to military applications. In 1960 the USSR entered an order with Bryant Chucking for forty-five similar machines. Bryant consulted the Department of Commerce. When the department indicated its willingness to grant a license, Bryant accepted the order."...

"The Department of Defense entered a strong objection to the export of the machines**....The Inter-Departmental Advisory Committee on Export Control, which includes members from the Commerce and State departments as well as the CIA, overruled the Department of Defense opinion, and 'a decision was made to approve the granting of the license.' The Department of Defense made further protests, demanding proof that either the USSR or Western Europe was capable of producing such machines. No such proof was forthcoming." [pg. 91-3]

Soviet Military Truck Technology

"All Soviet truck technology and a large part of Soviet truck-manufacturing equipment has come from the West, mainly from the United states. While some elementary transfer-lines and individual machines for vehicle production are made in the Soviet Union, these are copies of Western machines and therefore are always obsolete in design.

"Many major American companies have been prominent in building up the Soviet truck industry. The Ford Motor Company, the A.J. Brandt Company, the Austin Company, General Electric, and others supplied the technical assistance, design work, and equipment for the original giant plants. For example, General Electric stated (in the company publication Monogram of November 1943):

When the Soviet Union built its mass production automobile and truck plants in Moscow and Gorki, where the ZH, and GAZ cars and trucks take shape on moving conveyors, General Electric, in addition to supplying hundreds of motors and controls for various high speed and special machine tools, also supplied especially designed electric apparatus to aid the mass production of vital parts.... for the mass production of drive shafts and rear axle housings for the GAZ cars and trucks General Electric designed and built special high speed arc welding machines to suit the exact requirements set down by the Soviet Engineering Commission.

"The Soviet military-civilian truck industry comprises two main groups of plants. The first group uses models, technical assistance, and parts and components from the Ford-built Gorki automobile plant (GAZ is the model designation). The second group of production plants uses models, parts, and components from the A.J. Brandt-rebuilt ZIL plant in Moscow (Zavod imeni Likhachev, formerly the AMO and later the Stalin plant). Consequently this plant was called the BBH-ZIL plant after the three companies involved in its reconstruction and expansion in the 1930: A.J. Brandt, Budd, and Hamilton Foundry.

"The Ford-Gorki group of assembly plants includes the plants at Ulyanovsk (model designation UAZ), Odessa (model designation OAZ), and Pavlovo (model designation PAZ). The BBH-ZIL group includes the truck plants at Mytischiy (MMZ model designation), Mias (or URAL, Z9is), Dnepropetrovsk (model designation DAZ), Kutaisi (KAZ model), and Lvov (LAZ model). Besides these main groups there are also five independent plants. The Minsk truck plant (MAZ) was build with German assistance. The Hercules-Yaroslavl truck plant (YAZ) was build by the Hercules Motor Company. The MZMA plant in Moscow, which manufactures small automobiles, was also built by Ford Motor Company. In the late 1960s the so-called Fiat-Togliatti auto plant was opened. Three-quarters of its equipment came from the United States. In 1972 the U.S. government issued $ 1 billion in licenses to export equipment and technical assistance for the Kama truck plant. Planned as the largest truck plant in the world, it will cover 36 square miles and will produce more heavy trucks than the output of all U.S. heavy truck manufactures combined.

"This comprises the complete Soviet vehicle manufacturing industry--all built with Western, primarily American, technical assistance and technology. Military models are produced in these plants utilizing the same components as the civilian models. The two main vehicle production centers, Gorki and ZIL, manufacture more than two-thirds of all Soviet civilian vehicles (excluding the new Togliatti and Kama plants) and almost all current military vehicles. For a listing of the military models produced by each of these groups of plants, see Table 7.2.

"As these two plant groups produce all Soviet military vehicles, except for some specialized production at Minsk, the history of these plants will be examined in detail." [pg. 123-5]

Table 7.2, titled "Plant Group and Military Vehicles Produced" contains 19 entries such as the following two illustrate:

  • "Ford-Gorki Group (including: Gorki, Ulyanovsk Odessa, Pavlovo): Ford-Gorki GAZ969; SHEL missile carrier
  • "BBH-ZIL Group (including: im Likhachev, Mytishchiy, URAL Zis, Dnepropetrovsk Kutaisi, Lvov): URAL BM-24 rocket launcher"

American Aid for Construction of Even Larger Military Truck Plants

"Although the military output of Gorki and ZIL is well known to U.S. intelligence and therefore to successive administrations, American aid for construction of even larger military truck plants was approved in the 1960s and 1970s.

"The Volgograd automobile plant, built between 1968 and 1971, has a capacity of 600,000 vehicles per year, three times more than the Ford-built Gorki plant, which up to 1968 was the largest auto plant in the USSR.

"Although Volgograd is described in Western literature as the "Togliatti plant" and the "Fiat-Soviet auto plant," and does indeed produce a version of the Fiat-124 sedan, the core of the technology is American. Three-quarters of the equipment, including the key transfer lines and automatics, came from the United States. It is truly extraordinary that a plant with known military potential could have been equipped from the United States in the middle of the Vietnamese War, a war in which our enemies received 80 percent of their supplies from the Soviet Union...

"All key machine tools and transfer lines came from the United States. While the tooling fixtures were designed by Fiat, over $450 million worth of the key special equipment came from U.S. suppliers. This included: [a detailed list of items follows]...

"Of course, some of this equipment was on the U.S. Export Control and CoCom* lists as strategic, but this proved no setback to the Johnson Administration: the restrictions were arbitrarily abandoned. Leading U.S. machine-tool firms participated in supplying the equipment: TRW, Inc., of Cleveland supplied steering linkages; U.S. Industries, Inc., supplied a "major portion" of the presses; Gleason Works of Rochester, New York (well known as a Gorki supplier) supplied gear-cutting and heat-treating equipment; New Britain Machine Company supplied automatic lathes. Other equipment was supplied by U.S. subsidiary companies in Europe and some came directly from European firms (for example, Hawker-Siddeley Dynamics of the United Kingdom supplied six industrial robots). In all, approximately 75 percent of the production equipment came from the United States and some 25 percent from Italy and other countries in Europe, including U.S. subsidiary companies.

"In 1930, when Henry Ford undertook to build the Gorki plant, contemporary Western press releases extolled the peaceful nature of the Ford automobile, even though Pravda had openly stated that the Ford automobile was wanted for military purposes (see page 118). Notwithstanding the naive Western press releases, Gorki military vehicles were later used to help kill Americans in Korea and Vietnam.

"In 1968 Dean Rusk and Walt Rostow once again extolled the peaceful nature of the automobile, this time in reference to the Volgograd plant. Unfortunately for the credibility of Dean Rusk and Walt Rostow, there exists a proven military vehicle with an engine of the same capacity as the one produced at the Volgograd plant. Moreover, we have the Gorki and ZIL experience. Further, the U.S. government's own committees have stated in writing and at detailed length that any motor vehicle plant has war potential. Even further, both Rusk and Rostow made explicit statements to Congress denying that Volgograd had military potential.

"It must be noted that these Executive Branch statements were made in the face of clear and known evidence to the contrary. In other words, the statements must be considered as deliberate falsehoods, to mislead Congress and the American public." [pg. 131-3]

The War Potential of the Kama Truck Plant

"Up to 1968 American construction of Soviet truck plants was presented as "peaceful trade." In the late 1960s Soviet planners decided to build what is going to be the largest truck factory in the world. This plant, situated on the Kama River, will have an annual output of 100,000 multi-axle 10-ton trucks, trailers, and off-the-road vehicles. It was evident from the outset, given the absence of adequate Soviet technology in the automotive industry, that the design, engineering work, and key equipment for such a facility would have to come from the United States.

"In 1972, under President Nixon, the pretense of "peaceful trade" was abandoned and the Department of Commerce admitted (Human Events, Dec. 1971)*** that the Kama plant will have military potential. Not only that, but according to a department spokesman, military capability was taken into account when the export licenses were issued.

"So far, Export-Import Bank direct loans for Kama amount to $86.5 million, and Chase Manhattan Bank of New York anticipates it will grant loans up to $192 million. In March 1973, contracts had been granted to Swindell-Dressler Co for the Kama foundry ($14 million), and to Combustion Engineering Inc. for molding machines ($30 million). Other companies involved are Ingersoll Milling Machine Co., Rockford, Ill.; E.W. Bliss Co., Salem, Ohio; Warner & Swasey Co., Cleveland; LaSalle Machine Tool Inc., Warren, Michigan; and Wickes Machine Tool of Saginaw, Michigan.

"The Soviets have no indigenous truck-manufacturing technology. The Soviet trucks on the Ho Chi Minh trail are from Western-built plants and Kama is projected to build 100,000 multi-axle heavy trucks per year--more than the output of all U.S. heavy-truck manufacturers combined. The historical evidence is strong and clear. The United States has built for the Soviets a capability for military trucks and wheeled, armored, and weapons-carrying vehicles. This construction job has taken forty years and was undertaken with full knowledge of the military potential of any vehicles production industry. Further, this knowledge has been censored and not given to either Congress or the American public.

"Finally the evidence suggests that successive administrations have made misleading and untruthful statements when challenged on the export of equipment with military potential to the USSR. Moreover, in 1972 President Nixon's administration was sufficiently self-confident to admit that current exports to the Soviets did indeed have military potential, although the precise technical nature of these exports was still being kept from Congress and the public." [pg. 134-5]

State Department Approval for the Soviet Vessels That Carried Missiles to Cuba

"The Poltava-class of Soviet merchant vessels, which is equipped with special hatches for the purpose, was used to carry missiles to Cuba in 1962. The main engines for the first two vessels in this class were manufactured by Burmeister & Wain in Copenhagen. Engines for the remaining eighteen ships in the class came from the Bryansk plant in the Soviet Union. Both the Danish and the Bryansk engines were built to the same specification: 740 millimeter cylinder diameter and 1,600 millimeter piston stroke. The Danish engines have six cylinders while the Soviet engines have seven cylinders; in all other respects they are identical Burmeister & Wain-design engines. In 1959 the Danish company made a technical-assistance agreement with the Soviets for manufacture of large marine diesels, not manufactured in the USSR at that time, and the U.S State Department, through CoCom*, approved the export of this technology as nonstrategic. As any member of CoCom has veto power, objection by the State Department representatives would have effectively blocked the agreement.

"The Poltava-class ships were used to carry Soviet missiles to Cuba in 1962. The first Poltava engines were manufactured in Denmark in 1959 and the ships entered service in 1962, only a few months before they were used for transporting missiles to Cuba. In other words, the first operational use of these diesel engines--approved by State as nonstrategic--was in a challenge to the United States which brought us to the brink of nuclear war. The Poltava-class ships have extra long hatches: eight of 13.6 meters length and 6.2 meters width: ideal for loading medium-range missiles." ...

"In 1962 the U.S. Navy photographed Russian merchant ships unloading missile supplies at the Cuban port of Mariel--then, and now, a Russian naval base in Cuba. These ships included the Dvinogorsk, and 8,000-ton freighter built in Poland on Soviet account with Dutch engines (7,800 bhp Sulzer diesels made by N.V. Werkspoor of Amsterdam). Holland is a NATO ally and again the export of such engines to the USSR is illegal and could have been halted by the State Department.

"When we look closely at the transportation technology used to bring about the most dangerous international crisis in the last decade, we find that the U.S. State Department not only had the knowledge and the capability to stop the transfer but was required by law to ensure that the technology was not passed to the Soviets. In other words, there would have been no Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 if the State Department had followed congressional instructions and carried out the job it is paid to do." [pg. 158-60]

"Soviet" Merchant Ships on the Haiphong Supply Run

"In 1967, while the Johnson Administration was campaigning for yet more "peaceful trade" with the Soviet Union, Soviet ships previously supplied by our allies as "peaceful trade" were carrying weapons to Haiphong to kill Americans (see Table 9.2).

Table 9.2 "Analysis of Some Soviet Ships Used on Haiphong Run"

[The following entries in Sutton's table are a) Soviet Registration No., b) Year of Construction, c) Name and GRT of Ship, d) Engine place of Construction, e) Hull Place of Construction--J.S.]

M26121, 1960, Kura (4,084 tons), West Germany, West Germany

M25151, 1962, Simferopol (9,344 tons), Poland, Switzerland

M11647, 1936, Arlika (2,900 tons), United Kingdom, United Kingdom

M17082, 1962, Sinegorsk (3,330 tons), Finland, Sweden

M3017, 1961, Ingur (4,084 tons), West Germany, West Germany

M26893, 1952, Inman (3,455 tons), East Germany, West Germany

"In addition to the ships listed in Table 9.2, the Kuibyshev, a 6,000-ton freighter built in the United States, was unloading at Haiphong in August 1966 when American planes attacked. So was the Sovetsh, built in Poland with Swiss engines, and the Ustilug, a 4,400-ton freighter with West German M.A.N. engines. [Source: Los Angeles Times, May 7, 1967; San Francisco Chronicle, Auig. 6, 1966.] A Soviet ship involved in an altercation with U.S. destroyers in 1966 was the Ingur, a 4,000-ton frieghter built in West Germany in 1961 with M.A.N. specification engine.

"For further details of the Haiphong-run case, see Table 9.3. [I have omitted the table here--J.S.]

"As Table 9.3 shows, if the State Department had done an effective job according to the laws passed by Congress, thirty-seven of the ninety-six ships would not have been in Soviet hands--and would not have been able to take weapons and supplies to Haiphong.

"Specifically, the State Department could have stopped the export of marine-diesel technology to the Soviets under the Battle Act. The ships listed in Table 9.4 [I have omitted the table here--J.S.] were used by the Soviets to supply Hanoi and have engines manufactured under the Burmeister & Wain technical-assistance agreement of 1959, that is, eight years after the Battle Act was passed by Congress.

"Could the Soviets have used other ships? Turn to page 155 [which begins three pages of details about the origin of the Soviet merchant marine ships and engines--J.S.]. Over two-thirds of Soviet merchant ships and more than four-fifths of the marine diesels in Soviet merchant ships were not built in the USSR. The Soviets would certainly not have attempted foreign adventures with a merchant marine substantially smaller than the one they have now in operation. In other words, we have always had the absolute means to stop the Soviet tide of aggression--if that was our objective." [pg. 160-162]

These Facts and Others Show the Cold War Was a Big Lie

Sutton's book is 270 pages of similar material, about how the U.S. supplied the Soviet Union with other types of military technology as well, all spelled out in excruciating detail. And Sutton makes it clear that the Executive Branch pursued this policy and avoided enforcing laws that would impede it, and misled Congress, to ensure continued U.S. arming of the Soviet Union during the 'Cold War.'

Any understanding of the 'Cold War' that ignores the facts presented by Sutton and that is inconsistent with these facts is clearly not correct.

American Capitalists Backed the Bolsheviks from the Start

Sutton also wrote a book titled, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution, published in 1974 (and online here), from which one excerpt about a William Boyce Thompson is given below. Thompson was at the very top of the American capitalist class when the Bolsheviks were in the process of taking power in Russia. Thompson was President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (the most important bank in the Federal Reserve system) from 1914 to 1919, the years about which Sutton writes. Thompson was a very wealthy mining magnate and he was prominent in the Republican party, as one can read about in the first linked article about him above. Here's what Sutton reports:

"Thompson's contribution to the Bolshevik cause was recorded in the contemporary American press. The Washington Post of February 2****, 1918, carried the following paragraphs:


W. B. Thompson, Red Cross Donor, Believes Party Misrepresented. New York, Feb. 2 (1918). William B. Thompson, who was in Petrograd from July until November last, has made a personal contribution of $1,000,000 to the Bolsheviki for the purpose of spreading their doctrine in Germany and Austria. Mr. Thompson had an opportunity to study Russian conditions as head of the American Red Cross Mission, expenses of which also were largely defrayed by his personal contributions. He believes that the Bolsheviki constitute the greatest power against Pro-Germanism in Russia and that their propaganda has been undermining the militarist regimes of the General Empires.

Mr. Thompson deprecates American criticism of the Bolsheviki. He believes they have been misrepresented and has made the financial contribution to the cause in the belief that it will be money well spent for the future of Russia as well as for the Allied cause." [Kindle location 1412.]

Sutton documents that Thompson's support for the Bolsheviks was far from exceptional among his class of top level capitalists, and that these capitalists had backing from the Executive branch of the Federal government. [Read the book for all the gory details!] One explanation for this apparently paradoxical alliance of capitalists and Lenin's Bolsheviks is given by Sutton. He argues that these capitalists were monopolists who made their fortunes by using the U.S. government--the biggest monopoly of all, in their eyes--as an instrument for personal enrichment, and that they saw that the highly centralized government that the Bolsheviks were creating could be equally useful to them as a government that would force the people of Russia to pay very high prices for American products.

CIA Director William Casey Confirms Soviet Dependence on Western Technology

In his 1986 book, titled "The Best Enemy Money Can Buy," Antony Sutton (on page 10) sites the United States Senate, Transfer of United States High Technology to the Soviet Union and Soviet Bloc Nations Hearings before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, 97th Congress Second Session, May 1982, Washington, D.C., p. 55 (which is online at https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015008703467;view=1up;seq=59 ) in which is reported that CIA Director, William Casey, in a March 8, 1982 interview said:

"We have determined that the Soviet strategic advances depend on Western technology to a far greater degree than anybody ever dreamed of. It just doesn't make any sense for us to spend additional billions of dollars to protect ourselves against the capabilities that the Soviets have developed largely by virtue of having pretty much of a free ride on our research and development.

They use every method you can imagine--purchase, legal and illegal; theft; bribery; espionage; scientific exchange; study of trade press, and invoking the Freedom of Information Act--to get this information.

We found that scientific exchange is a big hole. We send scholars or young people to the Soviet Union to study Pushkin poetry; they send a 45-year-old man out of the KGB or defense establishment to exactly the schools and the professors who are working on sensitive technologies.

The KGB has developed a large, independent, specialized organization which does nothing but work on getting access to Western science and technology. They have been recruiting about 100 young scientists and engineers a year for the last 15 years. They roam the world looking for technology to pick up.

Back in Moscow there are 400 or 500 assessing what they might need and where they might get it--doing their targeting and then assessing what they get. It's a very sophisticated and far-flung operation.

Sutton's point in citing the CIA Director's words was that the Soviet Union, contrary to the popular mythology in the United States that it had independently developed its technological and military might and thus constituted a huge threat to the United States, was in fact largely dependent on transferred Western technology and military productive equipment.


* "...[A]ny member of the Cocom (Coordinating Committee; the operating arm of the Consultative Group established by NATO and Japan in 1950 to coordinate the export controls of the major industrial nations) group of nations has veto power and that no shipment has ever been made to the Soviet Union without the unanimous approval of all members. Thus, the transfer of Danish maritime technology in 1959 had implicit or explicit State Department approval." [pg. 56]

** The Department of Defense objection was given in testimony by John H. Williams, Staff Director, Industrial Production Equipment Division, Assistant Secretary of Defense, Installations and Logistics, March 2, 1961 in U.S. Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Export of Ball Bearing Machines to Russia, Hearings, 87th Congress, 1st session (Washington, 1961), p. 267, which is available online at https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=umn.31951d02120617f;view=1up;seq=3 . Williams stated as follows:

"I hold the position of Staff Director, Industrial Production Equipment Division, in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Installations and Logistics. In this capacity, it is one of my functions to act as technical adviser to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA) on technical matters relating to the defense position on the export of industrial production equipment. I have been assigned to this function because of my background of many years in the machine-tool trade.

I would like to start off by outlining the general procedures followed by the Department of Commerce and the Defense Department on requests for export license in the fields of production equipment.

The first time that I hear of such a request is in the form of a telephone inquiry from the Department of Commerce, Office of International Trade (OIT), saying that they have a request for an export license.

At this point it is first necessary to obtain precise information regarding the equipment by name of manufacturer, model, size, capacity, horsepower, etc. It is also necessary to obtain information about the reported intended use of this equipment in the Communist bloc countries.

Having obtained this information, it is my responsibility to determine the quantities and types of this equipment that are currently available within the Department of Defense, and, as far as possible, to determine the purpose for which this equipment is currently being utilized or is being held for future requirements.

Next, an investigation is made to discover if identical or similar machinery is produced in the Communist bloc countries and, if so, in what quantities. This information is available from many sources within DOD and Government, including the Library of Congress.

After obtaining all this information, I recommend to the Assistant Secretary of Defense, International Security Affairs (ISA), or to his staff as to whether or not the export license should be granted. In most cases all of the information is made available to them in a discussion. They (ISA) act as the spokesman for the Department of Defense at all conferences and meetings where the granting or the denial of an export license is under discussion.

At many of these conferences, if there is to be any technical discussion relative to the construction and the capabilities of the subject machine, I accompany the ISA member as technical adviser and, when requested by him, address my remarks to the committee.

In the specific case of the granting of the export license for high-frequency grinders manufactured by Bryant Chucking Grinder, after receiving the request for DOD's opinion from the Department of Commerce, it was determined that all of the machines of this type currently available in the United States were being utilised for the production of bearings utilized in strategic components for military end items. It was also determined from information that was available to us that the Soviets did not produce a machine of this type or one that could be comparable in enabling the production of miniature ball bearings of the tolerances and precision required.

A further consideration was whether machines of comparable capacity and size can be made available from Western Europe. In this connection, our investigation revealed that none was in production that would meet the specifications that had been established by the Russians for these machines.

In the light of these considerations it was our opinion that the license should not be granted, and I so reported to ISA.

ISA, after intensive examination and discussion of the matter, concurred in this opinion and the ISA representative advised against the granting of the Bryant license at several consecutive meetings of the Advisory Committee on Export Policy or its subcommittee. I myself was present at three of these meetings and, according to my recollection, I spoke at two of them, in my capacity as technical advisor, against the granting of the license.

However, at the conclusion of these meetings, a decision was made to approve the granting of a license for the export of the Bryant machines to the Soviet Union.

In the latter part of September 1960 the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Supply and Logistics, called me and stated that he had received a complaint relative to the granting of a license for the export of machine tools for the production of precision ball bearings, and he asked if I was familiar with the transaction. When informed that I was, and when I reviewed the circumstances at his request, he instructed me to take immediate action to do whatever was possible to express the dissatisfaction of the Department of Defense and to prevent the shipment, which was then planned for January 1961.

To accomplish this, a memorandum was written to ISA requesting that a formal protest be written by the Secretary of the Department of Defense to the Secretary of Commerce. Such a letter was prepared and delivered to the Secretary. As a result of this, there were several additional meetings of the Advisory Committee on Export Policy at which all of the circumstances previously discussed were reviewed. In each instance the Department of Defense requested positive information as to where in the U.S.S.R. or in Western Europe machines comparable or satisfactory for the production of miniature precision bearings were currently in production. In each instance, the Department of Defense objected to the shipment of these machines.

While it was argued in defense of the license that the technical ability to produce such machines existed in other countries, at no point was any firm assurance given or proof adduced that such machines were in fact already in production in other countries.

In résumé, the following actions were known to me regarding the transaction of this export license:

(a) I expressed dissatisfaction and suggested that the Department of Defense no concur in the initial request of the Department of Commerce.

(b) The official member of the Department of Defense in this connection concurred and, at a series of meetings of the Advisory Committee on Export Control, spoke against the proposal that an export license be granted.

(c) The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Supply and Logistics, after reviewing some of the circumstances, requested that I do whatever was possible to stop the shipment of these machines.

(d) A letter was transmitted from the Office of the Secretary of Defense to the Secretary of Commerce, approximately November 1, 1960, saying it spoke to the Department of Defense and requesting a further review.

(e) At two meetings where the matter war reviewed, the Department of Defense maintained nonconcurrrence in the shipment of the equipment.

In such cases, where I am asked for advice on the export of equipment, policy guidance as to whether a license should or should not be approved is confusing. Any clarification in this respect would greatly facilitate and create a uniform handling of such future requests.

As of this writing I am still convinced that it would be a tragic mistake to ship this equipment.

*** I don't know why Sutton cites a 1971 issue for a 1972 event (possibly it's a typo), and I couldn't find the back issue of Human Events online. But I did find other documentation of this, in the online book Controlling East-West Trade and Technology Transfer, edited by Gary K. Bertsch, which says (pg. 258):

"The two most infamous cases involved Kama trucks and Bryant Grinder ball bearings. In the former case the Nixon administration granted numerous licenses and approved the full participation of U.S. firms in the massive project, despite strong evidence that some of the trucks produced might be used by the Soviet military. [28]"

The source 28 reads as follows:

"See the statement of Assistant Commerce Secretary Stanley Marcuss in Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Subcommittee on International Finance, 96th Cong., 1st sess., November 28, 1979, pp. 59-70; and statement of Under Secretary of Defense William Perry in Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Transfer of Technology to the Soviet Bloc, Hearings, 67th Cong., 2d sess., February 20, 1980, pp.52-53."

**** I confirmed that this article truly does exist by asking the reference person at Harvard University's Widener Library to check it; she found the article, but it was in the January 31, 1918 edition, not the February 2, 1918 edition. I'm not sure why Sutton gives the latter date; maybe there were more than one edition with the article in it.





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