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Article

Abstract

In 1982, the Soviet Union began construction of a 3,000-mile pipeline to supply natural gas to Western Europe. To accomplish this massive undertaking, the Soviet Union sought to obtain financial credit, equipment, and technology from the West. On December 29, 1981, while the natural gas pipeline was still under construction, President Reagan barred U.S. companies from supplying pipeline equipment to the Soviet Union. President Reagan's decision was motivated by a variety of policy considerations, the most salient of which was the need to respond to the declaration of martial law in Poland. On June 18, 1982, the President broadened the ban to include all pipeline equipment manufactured by Western firms under license from U.S. companies. These restrictions were criticized by both domestic and international elites on political, economic, and legal grounds. The dispute ended when an informal understanding was reached among the various members of the Atlantic Alliance. On November 13, 1982, President Reagan announced the lifting of the sanctions.

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