OSLO — Secretary of State George P. Shultz said Monday that it would be "very unfortunate and uncalled for" if Congress imposes sanctions against Norway for allowing exports that helped the Soviet Union make its submarines more difficult to detect.
After a meeting with Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, Shultz said he accepts the government's explanation that it has revamped procedures under which the firm Kongsberg Vaapenfabrikk sold high technology equipment to the Soviet Union.
"There is a problem; it has been recognized; it has been dealt with," Shultz said.
New Type of Propeller
Kongsberg joined the Japanese firm Toshiba Machine Tool Co. in selling to the Soviets equipment to manufacture a new generation of submarine propellers that make far less noise than previous models. Much of Western anti-submarine warfare strategy depends on detection of the sound made by submarine engines and propellers.
Three executives of the Norwegian government-owned Kongsberg firm were arrested, but the statute of limitations has run out on the charges against two of them, apparently precluding prosecution.
Shultz said there was no question that the sale had harmed the security interests of both the United States and Norway. But he said the Administration is against proposed legislation that would require the State Department to negotiate with Norway and Japan over the payment of "compensation" to the United States.
Backers of the bill claim that the money could be used to upgrade U.S. anti-submarine warfare techniques to deal with the quieter Soviet vessels. The measure also would restrict imports of Kongsberg products to the United States, a provision that would hit the firm hard because it depends heavily on sales of its Penguin anti-ship missile to the U.S. Navy.
Shultz told a press conference that Brundtland "described what they had done, which I knew about, and provided assurance of their determination to abide by COCOM rules."
Focus on Arms Technology
COCOM, the Western allies' Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls, is intended to prevent the sale of militarily useful technology to the Soviet Union or its allies.
Shultz also used his press conference to attack the European peace movement, which enjoys broad support throughout Scandinavia.
Asked by a Norwegian journalist if he acknowledges that the newly signed U.S.-Soviet intermediate nuclear forces treaty vindicated the activities of groups that had sought to prevent deployment of medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe, Shultz said the truth is exactly the opposite.
"If the peace movement had had its way, there would be no INF treaty," he said. "There would have been no way to get the Soviet missiles out.
"It is only by doing what the peace movement did not want that we were able to achieve the objective the peace movement wanted," he said.
Shultz said the treaty banning both U.S. and Soviet ground-launched medium-range missiles would have been impossible if the North Atlantic Treaty Organization had not decided to deploy its own weapons in that class. Therefore, he said, the NATO deployment, which was bitterly opposed by peace groups, led to the abolition of nuclear missiles with ranges of between 300 and 3,000 miles.
'Admit They Were Wrong'
"I would hope that the peace movement would . . . admit that they were wrong," he said.
About 300 protesters calling for Norway to withdraw from NATO marched past the heavily-guarded U.S. Embassy and burned American flags during Shultz's visit.
He goes to Bonn today to confer with West German officials and will meet with British officials Wednesday in London before returning to Washington from his post-summit report to NATO allies.