Computers are an American invention, and we have stayed far ahead of the rest of the world in their development and production. Our second, third and fourth generation computers are the envy of the Communist countries. A computer is not just a calculating machine. A computer is an entire system, often costing millions or even tens of millions of dollars.
The leading U.S. manufacturer of computers advertises with the theme: Think of the computer as mental energy — the power to get things done. And it does. Computers have become essential to the operation of many industries and especially to all vehicles that travel into outer space.
Remember the case of the aborted moon mission of Apollo 13? When something went wrong and our spacecraft could not land on the moon, it took the NASA computer 84 minutes to determine the correct trajectory for the return to earth.. But it would have taken the 220 people in the NASA Planning and Analysis Division about centuries to compute the solution manually.
This kind of computer is absolutely essential to space vehicles and to nuclear weapons. And this is the kind of computer we are now giving to the Soviet Union, with 90 percent of the cost provided by American loans.
Until recently, the Government restricted the export of U.S. computers. Now, most export control restrictions have been cancelled in the name of detente and the spirit of the San Clemente meeting between Nixon and Brezhnev.
Does it make sense for the United States to continue this massive contribution to the buildup of an ever-more-sophisticated and deadly Soviet war machine? A computer which the Soviets may claim to buy in order to assist in crop planning can also be used to compute trajectories for intercontinental ballistic missiles with MIRV warheads. It is primarily the acquisition of this U.S. computer technology which has enabled the Soviets to speed up their development of MIRVs two years faster than we had anticipated.
The sale of even more sophisticated U.S. computers is now being negotiated. Control Data Corporation has announced a deal with the Soviets for the development of an even more advanced computer and communications network estimated to cost $500 million.
Precision machines for manufacturing ball bearing are also being shipped to the Soviet Union. Although bought sensibly for peaceful purposes, they have a direct military application. The Soviets are concentrating on buying the very types which we use for the guidance of ballistic missiles.
Our country imposed jail and death sentences on those who turned our atomic secrets over to the Soviets. It doesn’t make sense to reward with Export-Import Bank funds those who turn our computer and ball-bearing secrets over to the Soviet war machine.