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Foreign Sales of Technology to Soviets Told

October 22, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — European and Japanese companies sold computerized technology to the Soviet Union and China for 10 years in violation of an export control agreement, according to a report by Norwegian police released here today.

"The investigation has also brought to light information appearing to indicate that American companies as well may have supplied technology in breach of . . . regulations," the report said. "This information has been conveyed to the American authorities."

The report did not elaborate on that aspect of the investigation.

Investigators found that from 1974 to 1984, a subsidiary of the Norwegian state-owned Kongsberg company sold to the Soviet Union, through other countries, 140 computerized milling devices that helped the Soviets fashion silent submarine propellers, the report said.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff members have been meeting with representatives of France, Italy, West Germany, Britain and Japan for two days, demanding that they launch an investigation into the alleged violations, said Bill Triplett, a committee staff member.

Most of the units were sold to the other European countries, which attached them to other milling equipment and re-exported them to the Soviet Union. Two of the systems were re-exported to China, according to the report released by the Norwegian Embassy.

The report sums up a seven-month government-ordered investigation into the sale of computerized milling equipment to the Soviet Union by the Kongsberg Vapenfabrikk company.

Publication of the report was part of Norway's attempt to head off punitive legislation being considered by Congress against Kongsberg and the Japanese company Toshiba, which collaborated in the sales.

Phyllis Oakley, a State Department spokeswoman, called the report "disturbing reading" and said it "demonstrates the serious and frank approach the Norwegian government has consistently taken toward investigating this problem."

The report "reveals a durable and well-established pattern of involvement by several Western corporations in Soviet attempts to acquire high technology with military applications," she said.

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