U.S. restrictions on the sale of high technology to Eastern bloc nations cost the Soviet military as much as $13.3 billion in 79 instances where license requests were rejected, according to a Pentagon study released yesterday.
The study also estimated that military spending by the United States and its allies would have had to increase by as much as $14.6 billion to match the Soviet technological advances had the licenses been granted.
"The Soviets can make very effective use of technology to improve their military at our expense," said Richard D. Perle, assistant Defense secretary for international security policy, who has led the charge in the Reagan administration to impose strict curbs on sales to the Eastern bloc.
"You can be sure they have tried to obtain this technology from other countries and by other means" once their request to buy it legally from the United States was turned down, Perle said. The other methods include illegally evading export controls by buying the equipment from a supplier in a non-communist country who can get it from the United States.
He denied that the release of the $1 million study, completed in February, was linked to Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige's visit this month to Moscow to discuss improving U.S. trade relations with the Soviet Union. Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger had appealed directly to President Reagan to block the Baldrige trip after the National Security Council had overruled his objections to it.
"I am certainly opposed to any relaxations in existing limits on our Soviet trade," said Perle, who battled the Commerce Department for most of the Reagan administration's first term over those restrictions.
He added that he does not expect Baldrige to depart from the current restrictions in his talks with the Soviets. The Baldrige trip to Moscow will bring the first Cabinet-level trade talks between the two superpowers in six years and is part of the Reagan administration's second-term policy to ease tensions with the Soviet Union.
Perle said that the study released yesterday -- which looked into 79 cases over the past two years where Soviet bloc requests to buy technology from U.S. suppliers were refused -- placed actual dollar amounts on the benefits to Moscow from the purchase of American products.
Previous numbers, cited in congressional testimony, were "vague and speculative," while this study shows that purchases of high technology are of "massive" value to the Soviet Union that "exceeds by many times over the benefits of the trade to the manufacturers if the products had been licensed," he said.
The study, conducted by B-K Dynamics of Rockville under contract to the Pentegon, found patterns of Eastern bloc attempts to buy technology that appeared to be a shopping list of the Soviet military's needs.
In the case of automated production and control products, for instance, requests by a number of Eastern bloc nations taken together would have amounted to a complete factory. Perle said the orders apparently were broken up in an attempt to disguise the Soviet intentions.
Hungary, the only Warsaw Pact country to hold "most favored nation" status in its trade with the United States, was responsible for the largest number of the 79 key cases, mostly in the areas of computer and telecommunications technology, the study showed.
Bulgaria, "probably the closest Soviet satellite," had more cases than expected, "which gives rise to the concern that some Bulgarian acquisitions may be Soviet-sponsored," the study said.
The study said key Soviet bloc attempts to buy U.S. technology appear to have been "targeted" on four areas where their purchases could have had "a significant impact." These areas are automated production and controls such as computerized machine tools, microelectronics, telecommunications and computer