Trading with Communist Nations

February 9, 1972

Report Outline
New Interest in East-West Trade
Communism and U.S. Trade Policy
Prospects for More East-West Trade
Special Focus

New Interest in East-West Trade

Trade Factors in Nixon's Trips to China, Russia

Slowly, over the Past year, a strong push has developed for opening up large-scale commercial contacts with Communist nations. The major thrust emanates from the Commerce Department and the business community. Another body of opinion, centered in Congress and organized labor, wants nothing whatever to do with the Communists. The pros and cons are likely to be threshed out in this election year. There already are indications that trade with China, Russia and Eastern Europe will become a presidential campaign issue. Mayor Sam Yorty of Los Angeles, a Democratic presidential hopeful, already has argued strongly against any lowering of the barriers against East-West trade.

The administration's viewpoint is clear. President Nixon's scheduled visits to Peking Feb. 21–28 and Moscow in May are proof that he is working toward that improvement in diplomatic relations which he has long maintained should precede increased trade with Communist countries. A few large business deals—unthinkable only a few years ago—have already been signed with Russian officials, including a $125 million agreement concluded last October for the exchange of American mining and oil-drilling equipment for Soviet metals.

Nixon's efforts to better the mood of East-West contacts can be traced back at least to the end of 1969 when he began removing some of the restrictions on travel to and trade with the People's Republic of China. The tempo of the policy shift increased with the visit of Secretary of Commerce Maurice H. Stans to several East European countries and the Soviet Union during November 1971. In Moscow, Stans handed Premier Alexsei N. Kosygin a letter from President Nixon “expressing hope that there could be better commercial ties” between the superpowers. When interviewed upon his return, Stans said U.S.-Soviet trade could multiply.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
U.S.-Soviet Relations
Sep. 14, 1990  The Western Alliance After the Cold War
Feb. 10, 1989  Soviet Trade: In America's Best Interest?
Nov. 01, 1985  U.S.-Soviet Summitry
Jul. 09, 1982  Controlling Scientific Information
May 25, 1973  Trends in U.S.-Soviet Relations
Apr. 05, 1972  Russia's Diplomatic Offensive
Feb. 09, 1972  Trading with Communist Nations
Mar. 10, 1971  Indian Ocean Policy
Apr. 21, 1965  Negotiations with Communists
Nov. 13, 1963  Scientific Cooperation with the Soviet Union
Oct. 03, 1963  Trade with the Communists
Sep. 11, 1963  Non-Aggression Pacts and Surprise Attack
Oct. 11, 1961  East-West Negotiations
Mar. 29, 1961  Russia and United Nations
Aug. 10, 1960  Challenged Monroe Doctrine
Sep. 02, 1959  American-Soviet Trade
Jul. 03, 1959  Cultural Exchanges with Soviet Russia
Aug. 11, 1958  Conference Diplomacy
Jul. 23, 1958  Limited War
May 14, 1958  Cold War Propaganda
Feb. 26, 1958  Military Disengagement
Feb. 20, 1957  Indirect Aggression
Jul. 25, 1956  Trading with Communists
Jan. 11, 1956  Economic Cold War
Nov. 26, 1954  Peaceful Coexistence
Dec. 01, 1953  Tests of Allied Unity
Sep. 18, 1953  Negotiating with the Reds
Jun. 17, 1953  East-West Trade
Apr. 12, 1951  Non-Military Weapons in Cold-War Offensive
Apr. 20, 1949  Mediterranean Pact and Near East Security
Apr. 28, 1948  Trade with Russia
Sep. 11, 1946  Loyalty in Government
Jul. 31, 1946  Arctic Defenses
Apr. 01, 1943  American and British Relations with Russia
Feb. 24, 1933  Soviet-American Political and Trade Relations
Nov. 03, 1931  Russian-American Relations
Feb. 14, 1924  Russian Trade with the United States
Bilateral and Regional Trade
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific
Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union