Public Papers - 1991
Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on Supercomputer Export Controls
In November 1990 President Bush called for efforts to improve the multilateral application of export controls on high performance computers. Based on that initiative, the United States and Japan on June 6 concluded consultations on supercomputer export controls. Both Governments share the view that supercomputers are of strategic concern, particularly for the development of nuclear weapons and missiles, and that great importance should be attached to export controls on supercomputers for the purpose of preventing the proliferation of such weapons.
The consultations will assist supercomputer suppliers by streamlining procedures for supercomputer exports to many free-world trading partners. The bulk of U.S. supercomputer exports are to Western Europe and Japan.
Supercomputers are defined as computers above the 195 million theoretical operations per second (Mtops) level. The consultations address procedures the United States and Japan have applied to supercomputer exports in recent years.
For exports to countries that pose a national security or proliferation concern, such as countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, strict safeguards against misuse are required. Depending on the destination and circumstances, some applications may be denied. The United States and Japan will consult with each other prior to each supercomputer export to such countries.
The United States and Japan hope to establish a more effective control system by seeking the cooperation of several European countries with emerging supercomputer suppliers.
Details of the procedures and safeguards will be published by the Commerce Department in the Federal Register to provide guidance to U.S. exporters.
Note: The Office of the Press Secretary issued a fact sheet on the same day which provided additional information on supercomputer export controls.