The Carter administration has asked European and Japanese allies to join in its denial of a sophisticated computer requested by the Soviet news agency Tass. State Department officials said yesterday.
So far, the officials said, there is no indication that these nations are planning to sell a computer to take the place of the one refused the Soviet Union by President Carter last month as a reprisal for convictions of Soviet dissidents Anatoly Schransky and Alexander Ginzburg. But the officials added that so far there has been no formal reply by the allied governments to the U.S. approach on the Tass computer issue.
The issue is a difficult one for serveral of the countries. They do not wish to associate themselves with political restrictions on Soviet trade, but at the same time are reluctant to quarrel with Washington on an issue of such importance and sensitivity.
In presenting its case to Britain, France, Germany and Japan, the United States acknowledged that the decision against the Tass computer had been made on foreign policy grounds. It was pointed out, however, that the planned sale of the Sperry Univac computer had not received formal security clearance from Cocom. a multination coordinating group that controls the export of technology from the West to communist countries.
Officials here and diplomats of the nations involved described the Univac computer as a "borderline case" for Cocom's export-control policies.
In a clear-cut case, a strong objection from any cooperating nation would be enough to block the sale to the Soviet Union of equipment or technology that has military or strategic importance.
At the least, the U.S. cancellation of the computer and the objections lodged with allied nations are expected to cause a delay in Soviet acquisiton of a sophisticated machine for Tass, which wants it for its coverage of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. This is because time-consuming discussions are likely before any allied nation would feel free to go ahead with such a sale.