To the aggressive men who oversee Dresser Industries, a freewheeling giant among the American multinationals, a dollar bill is mainly for making more dollar bills.
Dresser, as a matter of policy, will go any where and deal with anyone interested in paying a price for the sophisticated industrial technology it sells.
That was true 22 years ago when Dresser, going after more dollar bills, tried to do business with the Soviet Union at a time of Cold War tensions. 1970s when Dresser tried to do more business with the Russians - ironically, in the same area of fabrication of sophisticated drill heads used for oil exploration.
The 1956 deal was blocked by the Eisenhower administration. This time around, however, Dresser received encouragement, first from the Nixon and Ford administrations and then from the Carter administration, to move ahead in its dealings with the Soviets.
The idea, as the champions of detente put it, was that increased trade - that is, making more dollar bills - was one of the fruits of relaxed tensions, an idea that appeals to the Dressers of America.
After several years of difficult negotiations, Dresser signed a $145 million contract with the Soviet Union in March to provide the Russians with the ability to make special drill bits in a Dresser-designed factory.[LINE ILLEGIBLE]
In May, Dresser received Commerce Department approval of an export license for the general technology package. Last month Commerce licensed Dresser's export of an electrobeam welder-computer component, finding it would have no military application-for the Russians.
But, just as was the case in 1956, the Dresser deal this year has become controversial.
The Dresser case stands as a sort of litmus test of the future of U.S. Soviet trade and whether the Career administration will bow the urgings to use trade and whether the Carter admin-policy on human rights and other issues.
Political hardliners, including Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D-Wash.) and Natinal Security Affairs Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, have urged a hold on the deal to punish the Russians for their prosecution of political dissidents.
President Carter told Jackson Wednesday that he intends to let the deal proceed. Jackson, for his part, has subpoenaed Dresser's records for review by his investigating subcommittee.
The end to this story has not been written, but for the moment, Dresser officials here are both confused and angry about "the political and bureaucratic infighting," in the words of Ed Luter, a senior vice president.
"We are appalled," said senior vice president J.J. Murphy, "at the apparent lack of technological know-how of some government officials in Wash-
He continued, "If the issue is to use U.S. trade for political policy, then those involved should so state and all American businesses should be so informed."
Critics of the deal have suggested that Dresser is selling an array of 21st century heavy machinery and industrial processes that the Russians could divert to strategic ues.
Murphys response to that is that the package has "about as much military significance as buttons - which you could put on a military significant list because they hold up a soldier's pants."
In an effort to dispel the criticism, Dresser this week opened its corporate doors and led the press through the processes involved in a sprawling plant that looks much like the one the Russians will build.
According to Dresser, the Soviet Union produces about 1 million drill tips each year, most of them of a type that wears out quickly. The Dresser plant would add 10 percent to Russiand production, but provide a new tyype of tough-toothed, more durable drill tips.
Basically, however, the Russians are buying a process and paying for the experience Dresser has acquired in becoming one of the world's leading drill bit manufacturers.
A typical drill bit - 14 inches tall, some 70 pounds of forged metal - looks variously like a metallic tulip or the head of a mythological dragon, with sweeping sides and a maw of sharp fangs.
These toughs bits, attached to shafts that push them through rock overlaying petroleum reservoirs, are produced in dozens of varieties. The Russians will be able to produce about three dozen types.
The process includes two elements that Jackson and other cities have suggested might be converted to military uses by the Russians - the tungsten carbide that makes the teeth and the electron beam welder that puts the bits together.
Dresser officials attacked both of those points in their explanation of the manufacturing process:
The Soviets, as well as at least four other Eastern bloc nations, produce their own tungsten carbide, a substance of tungsten, cobolt and carbon. It is sometimes used as the armor-piercing tip of projectiles.
Electron beam welding machines, which fusemetal with a stream of electrons shot into a vacuum, were developed in France and are widely available. Murphy said he saw an electron beam welder in use in a Russian factory three years ago - in an application beyond Dresser's capabilities.
Murphy and others said repeatedly that they do not fully understand why the Russians are so interested in obtaining Dresser's drill bit technology. Several suggested it may be because of a belief, accurate or not, that an American product and a Yankee process are best.
Whatever the reasons, Murphy said, Dresser is ready to do business. The company just wishes the politicians would lay down the rules - then stick to them.