News

 

DATE=  10/27/97

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

NUMBER=2-221794

TITLE=U-S / RUSSIA COMPUTERS (L-ONLY)

BYLINE=RON PEMSTEIN

DATELINE=STATE DEPT.

CONTENT=

VOICED AT: 



INTRO: THE UNITED STATES IS INVESTIGATING WHETHER RUSSIA ACQUIRED

16 AMERICAN COMPUTERS FOR ITS NUCLEAR WEAPONS WORK DESPITE 

OBJECTIONS FROM THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION.  RON PEMSTEIN REPORTS

FROM THE STATE DEPARTMENT.



TEXT:  AMERICAN LAWS FORBID SALES OF ANY COMPUTERS TO RUSSIA IF 

THEY ARE INTENDED FOR USE AT A NUCLEAR WEAPONS LABORATORY -- 

UNLESS THE SALE HAS PRIOR U-S GOVERNMENT APPROVAL. THE STATE 

DEPARTMENT SAYS NO GOVERNMENT APPROVAL WAS GIVEN FOR 16 ADVANCED 

COMPUTERS THAT HAVE BEEN FOUND AT RUSSIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS 

LABORATORIES.



THE COMPUTERS CAN BE USED TO TEST THE SAFETY AND RELIABILITY OF 

RUSSIA'S NUCLEAR WEAPONS WITHOUT ACTUAL EXPLOSIONS. STATE 

DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN JAMES RUBIN SAYS THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION 

NEVER GAVE RUSSIA A PROMISE OF ADVANCED COMPUTERS IN EXCHANGE FOR

RUSSIA SIGNING THE COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY.



                         ///RUBIN ACT///



         AT NO TIME DURING THE NEGOTIATIONS OF THE COMPREHENSIVE 

         TEST BAN OR SUBSEQUENTLY DID WE EVER MAKE A STATEMENT 

         THAT COULD BE FAIRLY CONSTRUED AS INDICATING A U-S 

         COMMITMENT TO PROVIDE RUSSIA WITH ACCESS TO THESE KIND 

         OF COMPUTERS. WHAT WE DID DO IS MAKE CLEAR TO THE 

         RUSSIANS THAT WE WERE PREPARED TO ENGAGE IN EXTENSIVE 

         SCIENTIFIC EXCHANGE AND THAT WE WERE PREPARED TO HAVE 

         THOSE EXCHANGES BE AT THE UNCLASSIFIED LEVEL -- BUT WE 

         DID NOT PROVIDE ANY REASONABLE BASIS FOR THEM TO DRAW 

         THIS CONCLUSION.



                          //END ACT///



THE U-S COMMERCE DEPARTMENT AND THE CUSTOMS SERVICE ARE 

INVESTIGATING HOW ADVANCED I-B-M COMPUTERS ENDED UP AT RUSSIAN 

NUCLEAR WEAPONS LABORATORIES. I-B-M COULD BE SUBJECT TO PENALTIES

IF THE GOVERNMENT BELIEVES THE AMERICAN COMPANY KNEW ABOUT THE 

DESTINATION OF THESE COMPUTERS.



SPOKESMAN RUBIN DRAWS A DISTINCTION BETWEEN AMERICAN ASSISTANCE 

TO ENSURING THE SECURITY OF RUSSIA'S NUCLEAR WEAPONS -- AND THIS 

KIND OF HELP FOR RUSSIA TO TEST WHETHER ITS WEAPONS WORK AS 

DESIGNED.



                         ///RUBIN ACT///



         WE ARE PREPARED IN MANY CASES TO PROVIDE SIGNIFICANT 

         ASSISTANCE WHEN IT COMES TO SECURITY OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS 

         OR NUCLEAR MATERIAL BUT AS  FAR AS JUST MAKING THEIR 

         NUCLEAR TESTING, THEIR SCIENTIFIC PROGRAM BETTER, WE 

         DON'T THINK THAT IT'S A PARTICULARLY WISE USE OF 

         AMERICAN TECHNOLOGY.



                          ///END ACT///



AT THE SAME TIME, THE STATE DEPARTMENT SAYS IT IS PREPARED TO 

LISTEN TO RUSSIA'S SUGGESTION THAT THE ADVANCED I-B-M COMPUTERS 

BE TRANSFERRED TO RUSSIAN CIVILIAN FACILITIES FROM THE NUCLEAR 

LABORATORIES.



THIS IS A DELICATE ISSUE FOR THE UNITED STATES. WHILE IT CALLS 

FOR THE COMPUTERS TO BE RETURNED, IT DOES NOT WANT TO DISTURB 

RATIFICATION OF THE STRATEGIC ARMS AGREEMENT IN THE RUSSIAN DUMA.

IT ALSO DOES NOT WANT TO DISCOURAGE AMERICAN COMPUTER MAKERS FROM

MAKING SALES TO RUSSIA'S CIVILIAN MARKET. (SIGNED)



NEB/RP/RRM



27-Oct-97 6:24 PM EST (2324 UTC)

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Source: Voice of America

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