Message to the Congress Transmitting the Annual Report on International Activities in Science and Technology

June 17, 1987

To the Congress of the United States:

In accordance with Title V of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1979 (Public Law 95 - 426), I am transmitting the Administration's eighth annual report of the international scientific and technological activities of U.S. Government agencies during Fiscal Year 1986. This report was prepared by the Department of State with information provided by relevant technical agencies, consistent with the intent of the legislation.

Science has always been an international enterprise. Today, as the rate of scientific discovery accelerates, the international character of science is even more pronounced than in the earlier decades of this century. Scientific progress and technological innovation underpin U.S. economic growth, trade, and our high standard of living. Our Nation's global competitiveness in the 21st century will depend on maintaining our comparative advantage in science and technology. If U.S. science and technology (S&T) is to remain the world's best, its participants must have full access to developments and scientific results produced elsewhere. In parallel, most countries see S&T expertise and capability as a key to their economic development and long-term competitiveness. They increasingly seek an S&T relationship with the United States to further their national goals. Accordingly, S&T cooperation is playing an increasingly prominent role in the conduct of our foreign relations and diplomatic initiatives throughout the world.

The Administration's international science and technology policy serves four primary objectives: (1) to strengthen the Nation's scientific and technological enterprise; (2) to enhance commercial relations and establish new trading partnerships; (3) to promote our foreign policy goals and improve our international relations; and (4) to protect and, where possible, enhance our national security. We believe that all of the industrialized countries of the world have a responsibility to apply a portion of their economic and manpower resources to basic research to advance human knowledge and ensure humankind's continued ability to meet the challenges of the future. In international scientific agreements, we are working with our global partners to emphasize and implement the principles of equity and reciprocity of access to research and training facilities, experimental sites, information, and data. As specific agreements are negotiated or renewed, we strive to incorporate specific assurances that intellectual property rights will be protected. Such protection exemplifies the general principle of maintaining an equitable balance of contributions and rewards. Protection of intellectual property is also an indispensable element of an investment climate that fosters the rapid development of useful technologies applying the results of international scientific cooperation.

The Technology Transfer Act of 1986 is an example of how these principles will apply to international cooperative activities carried out in U.S. Federal laboratories. Specific provisions of the Act address such factors as safeguards for intellectual property and incentives to assure equity and reciprocity of access in international research collaboration. To ensure that the international cooperation actively pursued at such centers of excellence is truly a two-way street, the Act permits directors of Federal laboratories to take into consideration whether a foreign government permits U.S. entities to enter into cooperative research and development (R&D) arrangements and licensing agreements with comparable institutions. We will certainly encourage the Federal laboratories to look very closely at this as they proceed.

To fully exploit developments in science and technology from overseas, I issued Executive Order No. 12591 on April 10, directing the Department of State to develop a recruitment policy that encourages scientists and engineers from other Federal agencies, academia, and industry to apply for assignments in U.S. embassies abroad. There is a wealth of qualified candidates whose professional careers bridge the domestic and international dimensions of science and technology. They can well serve the interests of our Nation as we collectively face the new challenges of the 21st century.

The task of formulating policies to harmonize international S&T activities with domestic programs and priorities poses a special challenge, given the decentralized nature of the U.S. R&D system. Recognizing the need for a mechanism to manage our resources in the international arena more effectively, my Science Adviser, in December 1985, established the Committee on International Science, Engineering and Technology (CISET) of the Federal Coordinating Council on Science, Engineering, and Technology (FCCSET). This interagency forum commenced operations in early 1986. It is bringing high-level scientific and technical expertise and responsibility in the government to bear on critical international issues. By ensuring that senior policymakers oversee key international S&T issues and activities, the CISET mechanism is helping to integrate international S&T activities into the framework of domestic R&D policy, consistent with the Administration's policy priorities and budget resources.

The United States formal S&T relationship with Japan dates back to the 1950's and to a large extent still reflects the relative scientific status of the two countries at that time. During 1986, the CISET conducted a coordinated U.S. Government review of that relationship and recommended a policy framework for the next phase of bilateral cooperation under the auspices of our Presidential Science and Technology Agreement. CISET's recommendations provided the foundation for negotiations with the Japanese that began in early 1987. We expect those negotiations to result in a more sharply focused program of joint research in areas of high priority and equitable benefits to both countries, with increased access by U.S. researchers to Japanese science and technology centers of excellence, commensurate with the range of access that our country has long afforded to Japanese students and researchers.

China and the United States first signed an umbrella agreement on science in 1979. As of the end of Fiscal Year 1986, 27 technical protocols have been implemented covering a wide spectrum of science and technology activities. The umbrella agreement was extended for a second 5 years during Premier Zhao Ziyang's visit to Washington in January 1984. These S&T activities have been the cornerstone of our relationship with China, opening the door to beneficial interchanges in many areas outside the S&T arena. Since last year new agreements have been signed in water resources, nature conservation, and transportation. The next meeting of the U.S.-China Joint S&T Commission is scheduled for June 1987 in Beijing. We expect to discuss with the Chinese ways that the umbrella agreement can reflect the maturing of scientific relations between our two countries in the years since 1979.

In September, President Jose Sarney of Brazil and I announced an initiative to establish a joint panel of eminent scientists, engineers, and industrial experts to determine priorities for cooperation in areas of mutual strength and benefit. The panel met in April of 1987 and will meet again this summer. The panel's recommendations will be used to formulate an initial agenda to implement the 1984 U.S.-Brazil S&T agreement. It is in the long-term strategic interest of the United States to strengthen ties that have been traditionally strong with Brazil, but which have suffered setbacks during the era of Brazilian military rule. Brazil is poised to become a major power of the 21st century, and believes that science and technology is key to her economic aspirations. Although our countries are at quite different stages of industrial development, President Sarney and I share the conviction that strength in science and technology is crucial for sustained prosperity. Cooperation in this area affords an important channel for dialogue with Brazil regarding her responsibilities as a mature player in the global economy.

At my meeting with Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev in Reykjavik, we explored the potential for increased interaction in a number of areas of science and technology. As we proceed with the Soviets, as well as the other Bloc countries, in such cooperative programs, our major objectives are to produce a scientific payoff for the United States, while protecting sensitive technology that could contribute to Soviet military objectives.

Bilateral cooperative agreements are only one facet of our scientific and technological activities in the international arena. To an increasing extent, issues of priority concern on the U.S. domestic scene also have international aspects and, thus, require coordinated attention and cooperation worldwide to achieve their solution.

Five years ago, a disease that has become known as AIDS was first identified in our country. Today, it affects all levels of society. Prevention and control of this devastating disease has become one of our Nation's highest public health priorities. However, AIDS is not a problem for the United States alone. AIDS is a worldwide epidemic. Alarm over its spread has spurred a concerted international effort to understand, control, and cure it. The United States is collaborating in the worldwide AIDS research and information dissemination campaign through direct bilateral activities and active participation in multilateral organizations.

The Chernobyl accident was an unprecedented international emergency that required urgent, immediate response and spurred international organizations to take action on many fronts. Notable among these was the action of the International Atomic Energy Agency to formulate conventions for notification and assistance. Through the leadership of the United States, there now is a better understanding of the incident and improved international cooperation on nuclear energy issues, including safety.

The year just ended saw continued close cooperation with the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and France to reduce the threat of nuclear proliferation. Five new signatories acceded to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty during 1986. The United States was active in urging nations to institute and strengthen physical safeguards and urged cooperative programs to reduce the use of enriched uranium fuel in research reactors. In bilateral negotiations with several key countries, significant progress was made toward achieving U.S. non-proliferation objectives to help ensure the security of the world.

Cooperation in space remained an important element of our international S&T activities in Fiscal Year 1986, despite the Challenger accident. At the end of October 1985, NASA launched the Spacelab D - 1 mission for the Federal Republic of Germany. That mission marked the first dedicated Spacelab application and technology science mission launched for one of our allies. Participation of a Dutch payload specialist on the Spacelab D - 1 mission marked the entry of the Netherlands into the manned space arena. Negotiations with our international partners for the flight hardware phase of Space Station continued during this time period.

In issues concerning the environment and natural resources, some problems can be solved through national efforts alone, but there is an increasing awareness of a number of problems that threaten the future well-being of the planet, which demand international cooperation on a regional or even global scale. Examples in the environmental area include transboundary pollution, the global carbon cycle, and Antarctic atmospheric phenomena. The United States is addressing these problems through research programs and policy discussions under multilateral and bilateral auspices and through specific agreements with our nearest neighbors, Canada and Mexico. In the area of natural resources, the United States is cooperating with other countries through a wide range of multilateral and bilateral programs in addressing a number of important problems including: deforestation, the depletion of the world's genetic resources, and desertification. A related issue is concern over the environmental implications of recombinant DNA technology. A major milestone was achieved with the adoption in July by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Council (OECD) of a recommendation on recombinant DNA safety considerations. This recommendation is expected to foster harmonization of the regulatory infrastructures of OECD members and of other countries as well and help avoid barriers to international trade.

Our Nation's scientific and technological excellence is a great national asset that underpins our Nation's future economic prosperity and security. To make optimum use of this national asset, we must make wise and long-term investments at home and, at the same time, fully participate in the world's science and technology enterprise. Through international cooperation in science and technology, we can strengthen our future position in global markets and advance our foreign policy and national security goals.

This Administration is committed to strengthening our international relationships in science and technology to ensure that they advance our Nation's broadest interests as we approach the challenges and new opportunities of the 21st century. We shall continue to work closely with our international partners to generate the new knowledge and to apply the innovative technologies of the future to help solve the problems of mankind and ensure global prosperity and security.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

June 17, 1987.