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Scientific Communication and National Security Appendix G LETTER FROM FIVE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS Stanford University Office of the President Stanford, California 94305 February 27, 1981 The Honorable Malcolm Baldrige Secretary of Commerce 14th Street Washington, D.C. 20230 The Honorable Alexander M.Haig, Jr. Secretary of State 2201 C Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20520 The Honorable Caspar Weinberger Secretary of Defense The Pentagon Washington, D.C. 20301 Dear Messrs. Baldrige, Haig, and Weinberger: I am sending the attached letter on behalf of the Presidents of Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and Stanford University to convey our grave concern about attempts to extend export restrictions to American colleges and universities. We are most anxious to cooperate in the development of alternative measures to best serve the interests of American economic development and security and would be pleased to meet with you or members of your staff to explore these issues further. Sincerely yours, Donald Kennedy
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Scientific Communication and National Security The Honorable Malcolm Baldrige Secretary of Commerce 14th Street Washington, D.C. 20230 The Honorable Alexander M.Haig, Jr. Secretary of State 2201 C Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20520 The Honorable Caspar Weinberger Secretary of Defense The Pentagon Washington, D.C. 20301 Dear Messrs. Baldrige, Haig, and Weinberger: We are writing to request clarification of the applicability of certain export restrictions to teaching and research activities conducted by American universities. We are deeply concerned about recent attempts to apply to universities the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Examples of such efforts by government agencies include a December 12, 1980, memorandum by the Director of the Very High Speed Integrated Circuit (VHSIC) Program Office, attempts to restrict publication of unclassified university research results arising from DOD-sponsored projects, and a Department of Commerce mandate to at least one university barring certain foreign scholars from that university’s sponsored research activities due to their citizenship. Unfortunately, these initiatives appear to be only the first of many such actions to follow. The ITAR and EAR regulations have existed for a number of years, and have not until now been applied to traditional university activities. The new construction of these regulations appears to contemplate government restrictions of research publications and of discourse among scholars, as well as discrimination based on nationality in the employment of faculty and the admission of students and visiting scholars. In the broad scientific and technical areas defined in the regulations, faculty could not conduct classroom lectures when foreign students were present, engage in the exchange of information with foreign visitors, present papers or participate in discussions at symposia and conferences where foreign nationals were present, employ foreign nationals to work in their laboratories, or publish research findings in the open literature. Nor could universities, in effect, admit foreign nationals to graduate studies in those areas. Such restrictions would conflict with the fundamental precepts that define the role and operation of this nation’s universities. The regulations could be interpreted to cover instruction and research which, although potentially useful in military applications, have much broader utility in such other areas as medical systems and communication equipment. Such interpretations of the regulations,
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Scientific Communication and National Security coupled with their severe criminal penalties, could have a very real and unintended chilling effect on legitimate academic exchange. Restricting the free flow of information among scientists and engineers would alter fundamentally the system that produced the scientific and technological lead that the government is now trying to protect and leave us with nothing to protect in the very near future. The way to protect that lead is to make sure that the country’s best talent is encouraged to work in the relevant areas, not to try to build a wall around past discoveries. It should be recognized that the only realistic way to “contain” VHSIC research is to classify the whole program. In our view this would be a self-defeating effort: the science underlying high technologies cannot be put back into the bottle. Furthermore, most universities have concluded that performance of classified research is incompatible with their essential purposes. University scientists would prefer, for the most part, to change their field of interest rather than have their research and teaching so constrained. Forcing high technology research out of universities would decrease our nation’s competitive position, since the research would have to be carried out more slowly and less effectively in a classified atmosphere. Moreover, we would foreclose future research directions that would be otherwise discovered by having a continuous flow of new graduates from the university programs which have been flourishing up to this point. Elimination of such teaching and research from academic laboratories would endanger the future of graduate programs in engineering, computer science, and related fields and would result in a tremendous loss of potential high technology otherwise available to American industry. The new restrictions represent the worst possible direction: they fail to protect the status quo and virtually guarantee that there will be no future. Moreover, application of export restrictions to universities would pose significant practical difficulties. It would be virtually impossible for most universities to administer such restrictions given the necessarily decentralized and fluid nature of most campuses. Because it is so inconsistent with their character, universities are neither structured nor staffed to police the flow of legitimate visitors to a given laboratory or the dissemination of information by their faculty at international conferences, or, indeed, even in a campus classroom where foreign students happen to be present. The December 12, 1980, memorandum mentioned earlier pertaining to the VHSIC Program assumes basic research can be differentiated from areas such as device design and fabrication techniques, process equipment, and software, for which approval of publication or presentation normally would be denied. Such distinctions are proposed to be made by government employees, using criteria of questionable reliability and suitability. There is no such easy separation in any engineering curriculum intended to be relevant to our national industrial needs and problems. Furthermore, producing graduates with no “hands-on” experience in these areas would be of little value to American high technology industries. The proposed extension of the restrictions to university activities ought not be made without a thorough assessment of the policy implica-
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Scientific Communication and National Security tions, the necessity and prospective effectiveness of the restrictions, the extent of disruption of the established role and operations of universities, and the serious legal and constitutional questions raised. In the interim, it might be mutally advantageous for DOD to continue (selectively and sparingly) to rely on its classified research facilities to carry out the most sensitive segments of the VHSIC program. That has been its practice in previous years, and is far preferable to the application of these restrictive and virtually unenforceable regulations to universities. For those university activities which remain unclassified, we urge the government to cease all attempts to apply the restrictions until the broader issues are resolved. We hope that after examining this issue carefully, you will clarify what has always been our understanding—namely, that the regulations are not intended to limit academic exchange arising from unclassified research and teaching. Sincerely yours, Donald Kennedy President, Stanford University Marvin L.Goldberger President, California Institute of Technology Paul E.Gray President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Frank H.T.Rhodes President, Cornell University David S.Saxon President, University of California cc: Richard Allen National Security Advisor
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