The Commerce Department will announce today a major part of its four-week review of export licensing policy toward the Soviet Union, resulting from an order exactly one month ago by President Carter.
Commerce Secretary Phillip M. Klutznick, speaking before the B'nai B'rith Board of Governors' winter meeting here, said that this afternoon he will announce "an important part" of the review, but not "the whole package."
"The whole package will not be announced until we talk with our allies," Klutznick said after his half-hour talk.
Klutznick, a former B'nai B'rith president, told the organization's representatives from around the world that the decision to be announced today was unanimously agreed upon by members of the interagency policy review committee studying the export licensing problem.
A discussion of items under review between members of the departments of State, Agriculture, Defense and Treasury and other senior executive officials was "completed Friday night with a report that was unanimous," Klutznick said, Klutznick heads that committee.
Last month Carter, reacting to the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan, halted shipments of all but 8 million bushels of grain to the Soviets and suspended the issuance of licenses for exports of high technology items to the Russians. In complying with Carter's order, the Commerce Department began reviewing its export licensing policies and said it would issue a report in four to six weeks.
At that time Commerce officials said that the department would review not only the policy on export of high technology items but other items as well.
"The focus is primarily on high technology and that review will bring us to looking at other areas as well," one Commerce official said last month.
About $340 million in items that are not agricultural, high technology or have possible military applications, such as some raw materials, were exported to the Soviet Union last year. They were not affected by the President's order and continue to be shipped to the Soviets. That could change depending on the announcement today.
Klutznick also said yesterday that he was "exhilarated" by his new job as Commerce Secretary, but there was also "a sad part." While he supports the president's export curbs, Klutznick said that the policy increased his responsibility and pushed back some trade development goals "by many weeks or many months."
"But if you have to make a decision to protect free people, it's better to err on the side of being careful than err on the side of being reckless," Klutznick said.