The White House has decided to involve itself in the process that leads to approval or denial of technological export licenses to communist countries.
"This makes eminent sense to us and is something that is long overdue," said an aide to President Carter in explaining greater White House involvement. "Too often, the White House got involved in these licenses after the alarm bells went off, when it was almost too late and a federal case was being made of it."
The aide said he was referring to recent requests to export a Univac computer and Dresser Industries oil drilling equipment to the Soviet Union. The Univac license, which would have gone to the Soviet news agency Tass, was denied. The Dresser deal was approved.
The new White House role is spelled out in Presidential Review Memorandum 31, a summaried version of which is being circulated on Capitol Hill. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Security Council will act as "observers" in all export license requests by communist nations involving technology.
The memorandum points out that the Communist Bloc will continue to be treated unequally. Poland and Romania will get "more favorable" teatment and Hungary will be the recipient of "favorable discrimination," setion, Bulgaria, East Germany and Czechoslovokia.
On the other hand, PRM 31 calls for an evenhanded policy with regard to transfers of technology to the Peoples Republic of China and the Soviet Union."
Most of the requests for technological export licenses come from the Soviet Union, the White House aide said. Most are approved. Since the Dresser deal was approved by President Carter on Sept. 4, the aide said, "almost 50 licenses have come up for approval" involving the sale of oil technology to the Soviet Union.
"They've all been much smaller than the Dresser deal," the aide said, "and they've all been approved."