United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Gove.

The Export reorganization act, 1975 : hearings before the Committee on Government Operations, United States Senate, Ninety-fourth Congress, first session, April 24, 30, and May 1, 1975 online

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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Committee on GoveThe Export reorganization act, 1975 : hearings before the Committee on Government Operations, United States Senate, Ninety-fourth Congress, first session, April 24, 30, and May 1, 1975 → online text (page 16 of 47)
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nations wish to achieve a peaceful and possibly explosive nuclear
capability, if only as a symbol of development.

We saw in industry, when businesses needed a computer or not,
when the computer age came, they all desperately wanted to get a
computer because that was sort of a status symbol, of whether they
were a modern progressive company.


We went through the phase after World War II, that every coun-
try had to have its own steel mill. It was a status symbol for them
and now the status symbol seems to be in the field of nuclear energy.
That is the real world we are living in, a pell-mell rush to acquire
this technology, whether it is really justifiable and economical or
not, in a particular country, simply because to be a sovereign nation,
we have to have our own peaceful nuclear plant or PNE, peaceful
nuclear explosion. That pressure is very great.

That is the real world I see.

A U.S. nuclear export control process would be pointed out by
cynics that involves helter-skelter, at least five major departments
and agencies that can only be characterized in the judgment of some
people we have talked to as a nonsystem, not a real system of export
control, and a growing consensus among intelligent, realistic hard-
headed men of a farce, that the possibility of terrorists' use of bombs
is a clear possibility as exemplified by Dr. Ikle's testimony before
us a few days ago. This is the real world that many who are looking
to safeguard the future of humanity are looking at.

If we were to go by the 12 pages of testimony that we have had
presented by you, we could just disband our hearings and say all is
well; there really is nothing further that needs to be done.

The question is whether we recognize the fact that we potentially
are on the brink of a newer nuclear diplomacy and nuclear power
in which we will have to respond in new ways.

Specifically, on page 9, you expressed objection to the idea that
foreign safeguards be comparable to those in the United States on
grounds that too many specific circumstances needed to be consid-
ered from country to country. Yet when we put a missile abroad,
whether it is in Turkey or in Germany, we use the same interlock
key system and safeguard system that we have in this country.

It does not matter whether the territory is Turkey or whether it
is Germany, or wherever, we put the same safeguards abroad that
we have at home.

In fact, I assume we even have extraordinary measures beyond
that, because it is outside our own territorial limits and beyond our
sovereign control to a degree.

Would you not agree that the danger of theft and diversion in
some countries is greater than in others?

In France, the danger of theft may be quite minor, compared to
what it might be in Argentina or in Brazil, or some other country.
Is there a variance between countries that we have to take into
account ?

Dr. Seamans. Yes, there is a variance between countries, and that
is the reason that I said what I did, in response to questions by
Senator Glenn.

I think we have to take into account differences in their institu-
tions. In regard to France, for example, we have compared our safe-
guards program with them, and they have an extremely good pro-
gram from which we have benefited.

Now, to be sure there is no misunderstanding, let me just comment
on your remarks about the handling of nuclear weapons.

We do handle the nuclear weapons, wherever they may be, as you
pointed out, the same way, because they are the responsibility of the
U.S. military services.


However, when you are talking about nuclear commercial plants,
that is not so. We are not over there with a key that can turn on or
off the various powerplants around the world that use nuclear

We have to rely on the capability of the particular country to
handle their own safeguards, and we have to recognize that the police
forces, for example, in different countries are different.

The Japanese police, the British police, for example, do not carry
guns. That does make a difference in how you carry out the safe-
guards operation, for example, in those two countries. Whether the
people are armed or not obviously makes a difference on what you
do under terrorist conditions.

So all of these kinds of institutional factors have to be weighed in
putting together a safeguards program in a particular country.

Senator Percy. But is it not true, Dr. Seamans, that there is a
case that certainly in the cliche of the chain is no stronger than its
weakest link. In this kind of a case, the danger and the threat to the
whole world, or to any single country is dependent upon how assess-
able, how available, and how easy it is to make a theft in a country
of minimal security, because of the transportability of the material
and the nature of the explosion itself, which could be taken from
one country but set off in another country, halfway around the
world, so that all of our safeguards in this country would be for
naught, if they are weak, very weak, someplace else and we simply
take the position, well, this is in their national interests and we
cannot really interfere too much.

Is it not in their national interests, the interests of every single
country, that we try to strengthen our safeguards, every place that
nuclear potential exists ?

Dr. Seamans. That is certainly true, and I never meant in any
way in my testimony to condone weakness but at the same time, to
expect comparability in the sense that everybody has to do every-
thing exactly the same way. I think is wrong.

I think every country has got to have an adequate, and, I mean a
truly adequate system, and that is what we are working on to see
that it is so.

Senator Percy. I could make a case, though, for saying that there
should not be comparability, where the potential threat is even

There ought to be a greater safeguard, where the potential is even
greater, so that the standard would be safeguards, adequate to pro-
tect against the nature of the potential threat, and would not that
then be something, the real world that we live in, that we would have
to take into account, if we are to adequately protect ourselves and all
of the people ?

Dr. Seamans. Exactly, if the safeguards have to be adequate for
the conditions that have to be met in a particular region. That is, I
am saying that does not mean that you do it necessarily the same
way in every country. You have to look at what the situation is, and
that is what we are attempting to do.

Senator Percy. I think on page 8, finally, here is an area where
we do have something to say about it. I think for clarification and


certainly any member here, the Chairman or anyone else, could
question my* judgment on this, but I think on page 8, when you
argue that the NRC, as a regulatory agency, should not be in a
position of making final judgments "on foreign policy and a common
defense," I think we could argue that is subject to question and
refutation on two grounds, that in our form of Government, when
we create an independent quasi- judicial regulatory commission and it
is created by Congress precisely in order to make judgments on the
merits and not subject to the policy imperatives of the executive
branch, we have a horrendous case we are trying to put behind us
but we really cannot, in effect, in Vietnam, where a unilateral deci-
sion was made by the executive branch, without the advice and con-
sent of Conjrress at the outset and we concede some of the conse-
quences that have flowed from that.

Is not it wise that we have a regulatory commission that is in a
position to make its own judgments and not just accept, as we are
concerned they might accept the value judgments of the executive
branch and cover themselves with a memorandum in the file and do
very little of their own independent analysis, analytical study and
research ?

Dr. Seamans. Of course, it is. and I do not have in my text the
quote that you just referred to. I could go over w T ith you what I have
on page 8; it does not include that statement.

Senator Percy. On page 8 that we have in draft form, it may be
that we have a different text in the draft form than the original.

Dr. Seamaxs. I apologize for that.

Senator Percy. I am concerned the proposed legislation would
give what amounts to a final say in specific decisions.

It is doubtful such an independent commission should be in posi-
tion of making final judgments independent of both the President
and the Congress on such specific foreign matters.

Dr. Seamans. I deleted that last night from the statement.

Senator Glenn. I would like to pin this down once and for all. I
got into this with Dr. Ray a little while ago. and I am not quite
sure I got a direct answer or any answer, and I would like to make
it very clear that I would like to have it very clear from all parties
what the answer is, so we know how to proceed.

NRC feels they already have this veto authority. Dr. Ray believes
our legislation would accord NRC this right.

Your original draft statement and you continue with what is not
the final statement of the day but it indicates the same thing, that
proposed legislation would give the NRC international safeguards
responsibilities, NRC said they have those now. Is it your opinion
they do or do not ?

Dr. Seamans. It is my opinion they do now.

Senator Glenn. Dr. Ray, is that your opinion, they do now have
that authority?

Dr. Ray. I am not sufficiently familiar with the exact reading of
the status of the energy reorganization act.

My remarks were directed to the fact that the Secretary of State
has foreign policy responsibility for the United States.


Dr. Seamans. What 1 am referring to is the fact that in carrying
out the licensing operations ■

Senator Glenn. That is the crux of what we are getting to.

Dr. Seamans. The final act that Dr. Ray referred to and Mr.
Anders also referred to, is the licensing. If they have that respon-
sibility and they exercise it. then clearly they could override the
executive branch of the Government.

Now, I am not a lawyer and so I do not know what the Constitu-
tion might have to say about that or how it would be reviewed by
the Supreme Court, but it seems to me, if you give somebody a
licensing responsibility, if he is not to be a rubberstamp, then he
clearly has two different ways he can make the decision : He can hold
it up or he can grant it.

Senator Percy. I would like now to turn from the draft statement
to the statement you did give this morning, on page 9 at the bottom.
You said we are likewise concerned with the requirement in the bill,
that NRC specified a safeguards criteria for the international

Since the final decision on these agreement actions rests with the
President, regulatory agencies should play an advisory, not a deci-
sionmaking role and I think is the whole crux of it, because that
runs contrary to the intent of Congress.

We want* the independent agency responsive to the executive
branch and, through the appointment process, responsive to the
Congress, because we can advise and consent on appointments. We
created the legislation but we do not want them subject to the veto
of either one.

We want them out there, with no place to pass the buck but to
themselves and taking the full responsibility. That is what I think
concerned us, that the testimony this morning and your own feelings
were contrary to the way we intended to set this up. It would be a
disservice to those that had the responsibility of carrying out the
charter if they did not fully understand what the intent of the Con-
gress was and what the meaning of the law is. We want them to
staff themselves, then to carry out this responsibility. We realty do
not feel it is wise to just have it subject to the judgment of the
executive branch of the Government, subject to all kinds of diplo-
matic pressures, which we are well aware of. Do you want to respond
to that?

Dr. Seamans. This statement here has to do with a criterion for
international agreements. The question is in this case whether the
NRC should be able to dictate, to specify specifically or whether
they should be asked to advise, should be in the role of an advisor to
those who are making the decisions.

I think this is a very fundamental issue and I said, I am con-
cerned about it, and I am concerned about it, as to what this would
really mean from the standpoint of negotiations that we have with
many different countries.

I have only been around a short time and I am already involved
in a few, and we could certainly use some good sound advice, but I
am not sure I would like to be in a position of having everything
specified in detail.


Senator Percy. I know that your time is up, Dr. Seamans, and we
very much appreciate your being here.

I would only point out this problem. When President Nixon went
to the Mideast and committed this country to provide nuclear re-
sources, in a sense to both Israel and Egypt, there was deep, deep
concern expressed from many, many different corners and there has
been a reassessment of that whole situation obviously.

We just want to be certain that safeguards are not as might be
implied by some of the testimony this morning, a relative notion sub-
ject to modification or perversion by the dictates of foreign policy

We had hoped that there would be a measure of outright objectiv-
ity which constitutes an adequate materials accounting and inventory
system or an adequate safeguard network, and it is that objectivity
that we really want to build into it, to free the process from the
political pressures and the political considerations of the moment, be-
cause those change very, very rapidly. I do hope, as one of our lead-
ing authorities in this field, that we can continue this dialog between
us and have a meeting of the minds between ourselves and your-
selves on the urgency of the present situation.

We very much appreciate your being here, and I am sorry we
held you beyond your 12 o'clock time.

Dr. Seamans. I am sorry I have to leave, but we are dealing with
quite a few committees of Congress.

Senator Glenn. And I know you thoroughly enjoy every hour.

Dr. Seamans. I wanted to say how much I appreciated the chance
of being here this morning because we do share a common interest.
There is no question about our objectives. The only question is the
best way to carry them out.

There was one remark made earlier I would like to address my-
self to, that is when Senator Ribicoff was referring to the phone
call one might get from the White Plouse and it would be necessary
then to be swayed and change a viewpoint as a result of such a
phone call or the phone call might come from the State Department.
I can assure you, if I get such a phone call, and if I feel it is not in
the best interests of this country or the best interests of other nations
from the safeguard point, I will not respond in a way I think is in-
correct and if it really comes down that my decision will be based on
what I think is right, that people do not agree with me on it, it is
then they can get another Administrator for ERDA.

Senator Glenn. Dr. Seamans, I prefer to call you Bob, because
of our long association, I have the utmost faith that would be the
exact case with you in the job you are now in but as is fundamental
of our system, we are a government of laws and government of men,
you will not spend the rest of your life in the job and there is some-
body we may have less faith in the future and we are trying to set
up a system where people will be less scrupulous than yourself.

Senator Percy. I would like to say the same thing. I have not the
slightest doubt about your ability.

Senator Glenn. You have passed more than your time, but thank
you very much. It was a pleasure to have you here, and thank you.


And, Mr. Tabor, we interrupted your presentation earlier so we
could let Dr. Sea mans testify, he has a time problem. Could you pro-
ceed with any statement you have to make, or read it into the record,
if you prefer.



Mr. Tabor. Mr. Chairman, I want to say I concur with your deci-
sion to accommodate Dr. Seamans, and I think it has been a most
fruitful, helpful interchange for all of us who are in any way in-
volved in this statement.

Mr. Chairman, I have filed a statement, which I believe you have.
I would be content simply to file that statement and raise certain
points which I regard of particular importance.

I might call particular attention to pages 7 and 8 of the statement,
because I think the Department of Commerce looks at this problem
less from the substantive point of view as you have been discussing it
with Dr. Ray and Dr. Seamans, and more from the procedural point
of view. We understand the proposal is intended to coordinate Ad-
ministration policy on these matters or at least simplify the process
for those who seek export licenses by providing a single point of
contact, a single door. Our concern is that because of the very nature
of the problem several varying departments — State, ERDA, Treas-
ury — must retain a policy sign off. That puts the Department of
Commerce, as I indicate at the bottom of page 7, in the unsatis-
factory posture of being responsible for the Administration of con-
solidated controls while requiring written approval from those tech-
nical agencies who are far more expert than Commerce about such
highly technical matters as nuclear problems, and emissions prob-
lems. The result is that the Department of Commerce has the re-
sponsibility but not the commensurate authority. I think this would
result in delays, rather than simplification and acceleration as every-
one would like.

Senator Glenn. Mr. Tabor, how does this differ from other com-
mercial enterprise?

You see this as big international business, you are dealing with
agricultural products, or roadbuilding machinery, everything else,
the Department of Commerce conducts a lead-agency role, and you
coordinate with many other agencies of Government, and I presume,
depending on the seriousness of objections from any other agencies
of the Government, you would refuse a license. How does this differ
with respect to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, if it says no —
the safeguards are not OK — that they would have a veto?

If Dr. Ray over at the State Department has talked this all over
with her people, and the people in other countries, and they say we
have got some real problems with this, we are not in line with
Greece, Turkey, and so they woidd not give a sign off on this, and
I would presume you would only grant a license in the absence of any
negative votes by many of the people you would be consulting on
this, as you do in every other commercial venture we have overseas


How does this change the lead-agency concept that is common in
other commercial fields, and that seems natural for businessmen to
deal with in this country, inasmuch as it does involve the serious-
ness of nuclear spread around the world ?

Mr. Tabor. There is certainly a difference in degree, Mr. Chairman.

The present arrangements including our interagency committee
in which we consult involve preliminary resolution on an oral basis,
while permitting differences of view to escalate right to the President
if necessary.

The provisions in the act require written approvals from the out-
set, rather than the normal consultation. So I think there is that
difference in degree procedurally.

I think there is also a difference in the degree of complexity and
substance involved. When we start talking about emissions or arms
sales, it seems to me you should obviously preserve the expertise of
the Environmental Protection Agency, or the State Department, and
the Defense Department.

Senator Glenn. Is that not the case in other areas of commerce,
where you conduct the lead-agency role? Why is it any different
here? I do not see the difference. Granted, it is a more technical
field, but you are not expected to pass nuclear safety and safeguards
questions. You have other experts who will do that for you.

That is what Mr. Anders' role is in NRC, for instance, to give you
a sign on or sign off on that particular item, how is that different
from sending roadbuilding machinery to Afghanistan?

Mr. Tabor. We do not consult on road graders in Afghanistan.
This is not restricted in any way.

Senator Glenn. I picked the wrong example, obviously.

Mr. Tabor. There are certain products, for instance, a computer

Senator Glenn. Yes, some of those.

Mr. Tabor [continuing]. Which are highly sought after around the
world. In accordance with congressional wishes, we have developed
technical expertise within our Department to deal with computer
export questions. We also consult with others on this. What I am
trying to say is, that if the purpose is to consolidate, simplify, and
accelerate export administration, I do not see that the act will gain
that as an end result.

We are going to have a door. The problem is we have experienced
very considerable delays in our current export administration pro-
gram, and this has been a source of great concern to Members of
Congress, particularly in connection with getting clearances from
the other agencies who are not always eager to license a particular

Senator Glenn. We are trying to accomplish several things, and I
think one of them is to keep American business in this field as much
as possible.

It has some advantages, as Dr. Seamans' testimony points out, if
you would read that, he points out very well the fact the more we
are involved in these things, imperfect though our arrangements
may be, the more influence we have over them, and to say we back
off from supplying anybody in the world, means we will have less in-
fluence in the future in helping determine the direction these things


go, imperfect though our arrangements are. I agree with him on that —
just from an international balance-of-payments position, from the
business standpoint, if somebody will furnish this material, we want
to be that somebody. But at the same time, if we can have the safe-
guards, and can influence the way this whole situation develops, we
can be very influential. As has been pointed out in several of the
statements, the technology is spreading around the world, whether
we supply it or not, we might as well supply in and be an influence
in it.

This bill sets up a method of doing this, through normal commer-
cial channels as much as possible, but keeping those very strict con-
trols that Mr. Anders and his Commission can exercise, and the
State Department, through the normal commercial channels that
your Department exercises.

That seems to me a normalizing of things that does not overcom-
plicate — in fact it streamlines — the system. If I am a businessman, I
know one spot to go, the businessmen in this Nation are accustomed
to using the Department of Commerce in that way, so it normalizes
that whole relationship, and still tries to keep it under safeguards
control. So, I do not see the difference between this and other meth-
ods of conducting business in this country.

Mr. Tabor. I think there are three matters I would like to men-
tion in response, Mr. Chairman.

No. 1, as you point out, it is desirable, imperfect as our arrange-
ments are, to engage in trade involving high technology items where
we can have proper safeguards, particularly in the nuclear field. We
in the Department of Commerce concur, and in the early part of my
statement I make that point.

The second aspect is whether the Act will streamline and facilitate
the process of permitting high technology exports to the extent these
exports are in the national interest. I think that we give the appear-
ance of streamlining and facilitating, by saying just knock on Com-
merce's door; that is all you have to do. My concern is that the right
to knock on Commerce's door is to a high degree illusory. You in the
Congress can impose this responsibility upon us and business and
industry can come to our door. The problem is business and industry
will think it is easy — all they have to do is see Tabor or his col-
leagues and they will obtain export licenses. But we have here a
complicated mechanism, more complicated as a matter of degree than
we have had. May I spell that out.

The act requires a written sign off by the concerned departments
on every single item involved as a result of the legislation. Currently
we do not have that requirement. Breaking it down, probably 90 to

Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Committee on GoveThe Export reorganization act, 1975 : hearings before the Committee on Government Operations, United States Senate, Ninety-fourth Congress, first session, April 24, 30, and May 1, 1975 → online text (page 16 of 47)