May 27, 2000
Risk of Weapons Sales
To the Editor:
Although "Washington Loosens Restrictions on Sales of Weapons to
Allies" (news article, May 24) mentions "the risk of undercutting
nonproliferation efforts" associated with major changes to American
arms export policy, it does not elaborate on what that risk involves.
For example, the licensing exemptions to be given to Britain and
Australia were already granted to Canada, but later revoked when
Canadian companies passed United States military technology to Iran
and China. The United States also suspended licenses for small arms
sales to Britain because of clear risk of diversion.
The "red tape" cut by the administration is actually an important
system of controls that helps prevent American weapons from getting
into the wrong hands. Instead of addressing weaknesses in the current
system, the policy changes are designed to help the arms industry
increase its exports.
Washington, May 25, 2000
is director of the Arms Sales Monitoring Project, Federation of