Dresser Industries said yesterday that it was not satisfied with Reagan administration moves to lessen sanctions against its French subsidiary involved in shipping equipment for the Soviet-West European natural gas pipeline. The company went back to court in an attempt to have the sanctions set aside.
Action by the administration on Tuesday to limit the scope of the sanctions against Dresser France "does nothing to change our conviction that extremely harsh measures were taken against us solely because the French government was not persuaded to yield to the U.S. government its right to determine the national interest of France," said Scott Nickson, general counsel of Dallas-based Dresser Industries, parent corporation of Dresser France.
The administration cut back its original sanctions against Dresser France, limiting them to oil- and gas-related exports. The original orders applied to any U.S.-originated technology that a foreign company supplying equipment for the pipeline might be using, whether intended for the Soviet Union or not.
The modified orders are seen as benefiting John Brown Engineering Co. Ltd., a British manufacturer now loading compressors for the pipeline on a ship in Glasgow. The company faces sanctions once the ship sails.
The ship was to have sailed yesterday but was delayed, reportedly because of a broken crane. Other delays have been attributed to the weather and labor disputes. Some observers have indicated the delays may be more in connection with diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute between the Reagan administration and some of its closest allies.
Nickson said that the modified orders still leave "over half" of Dresser France's business under sanctions, since the company is primarily involved in the oil and gas business. He said Dresser has "no reason to believe continued efforts at Commerce" will help, referring to administrative procedures under way at the Commerce Department.
Commerce general counsel Sherman E. Unger said yesterday afternoon, however, that Dresser has barraged the government with challenges to every aspect of the sanctions procedures, and that "this case has been moving very rapidly in light of its complexity."