Details of Certain Controversial Export Licensing Decisions Involving Soviet Bloc Countries

ID-83-46: Published: May 5, 1983. Publicly Released: May 5, 1983.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on nine controversial export licensing decisions involving Soviet bloc countries.

GAO stated that, in seven of the eight cases under study, the military risk of exporting each product or technology was recognized, deliberated, and often lessened before the export was approved. Further, all appropriate departments and agencies, including the White House, were involved in each determination. In one case, military risk was not recognized and the government licensed the export of a product containing technology critical to antisubmarine warfare. The final case was not considered because it is currently being reviewed by the Department of Justice for possible criminal prosecution. GAO concluded that, because the licensing process is directed by executive policy, it should be pointed out that the individual judgments are strongly influenced by such direction. Throughout the 1970's, it was well recognized within the licensing community that the executive branch favored using trade as an important foreign policy tool with the Soviet Union.

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