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

April 05, 1989

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 annual report on international activities in science and technology (S&T) for Fiscal Year 1988.

I firmly believe that the economic advances of the 21st century are rooted in the research and development (R&D) performed in laboratories around the world today. Innovation and dedication of resources and people, both public and private, to scientific and technological advances are essential to economic progress. Our future well-being as a nation is dependent upon the continuous transfer of technology from basic science into commercial goods and services.

Over the past 5 years, this concept -- the linkage of our science and technology enterprise to our future global competitiveness -- has become a dominant theme in the United States. Because of this linkage, some have challenged our historical subscription to an open, unimpeded R&D system, claiming that such a system transfers valuable R&D results to other countries for commercialization and eventual sale in the United States. I, and President Reagan before me, believe that the United States benefits, and our global competitive position is improved, by international cooperation in research and development based on balance, reciprocity, and comparable access. We have actively promoted this policy through multilateral fora and bilaterally with our trading partners and advanced developing countries.

For example, a major accomplishment of FY 1988 was winning multilateral endorsement for key themes of President Reagan's Executive Order No. 12591 of April 10, 1987, on "Facilitating Access to Science and Technology." At the Ministerial Meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris in May 1988, the ministers endorsed a new framework of common principles for international S&T cooperation, originally introduced by the President's Science Adviser, Dr. William R. Graham. The framework endorses adequate investment and excellence in basic sciences; reciprocity and balanced access as a solid foundation for science and technology cooperation; improved universal protection of intellectual property rights (IPR); and effective protection of sensitive knowledge. I am convinced that the new OECD framework establishes a firm, future-oriented foundation for sustainable cooperation in science and technology.

On the bilateral front, under the guidance of the Economic Policy Council, the Administration developed a coordinated policy to reshape our S&T relationship with Japan based on the principles of shared responsibilities, equitable contributions, adequate protection and fair disposition of intellectual property rights, acknowledged security obligations, and comparable access to government-sponsored and -supported R&D facilities and programs. The culmination of this effort came in Toronto in June 1988, when President Reagan and Prime Minister Takeshita signed the new umbrella S&T Agreement. We view this as a model agreement and now are incorporating its principles into all our science and technology bilateral agreements.

Maintenance of our global competitiveness requires adequate and effective protection and equitable allocation of intellectual property rights. The commercial development of a new technology requires large investments of time, money, and talent. Continued investments in research and development require the ability to derive economic benefits from the new technology. Therefore, in FY 1988, we initiated numerous bilateral and multilateral dialogues on the benefits accruing to all partners from effective protection and equitable disposition of IPR.

With the view that balanced and reciprocal cooperation in S&T benefits the United States and the world at large, at the December 1987 Washington Summit, President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev agreed to further cooperation in the areas of transportation, global climate change, ocean studies, and nuclear reactor safety, as well as to continue a multilateral conceptual design effort in thermonuclear fusion. As a result, in April 1988, we signed a protocol with the Soviets on cooperation in maintaining the safety of civilian reactors. This agreement, which was stimulated by Chernobyl, covers the design and operation, health, environmental, and regulatory aspects of the reactor safety problem. In addition, in January 1989, we signed a U.S.-USSR Framework Agreement for Cooperation in Basic Scientific Research, which is serving as the model for other U.S.-USSR agreements to ensure policy consistency among all our extensive interactions with the Soviets in science and technology.

Sustainable international cooperation in science and technology is good for the Nation, particularly when projects that are in the national interest are enhanced by or intrinsically require multilateral effort. Examples are the Space Station Freedom, the superconductor super collider (SSC), AIDS research, and global climate change.

In December 1987, the Secretary of Energy invited our major allies to contribute to building the world's most advanced high-energy particle accelerator, the SSC, and to participate in its utilization. We now look forward to extensive collaboration in the project.

In September 1988, a final agreement was signed among the United States, member states of the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Governments of Japan and Canada on the Space Station Freedom's design, development, and operation.

AIDS is a major worldwide public health concern. The United States Government, particularly the Agency for International Development and the Public Health Service, is engaged in a substantial international program working with the World Health Organization and others to develop national plans to combat AIDS and to utilize research findings and technologies as they become available.

The policy question of human impact on the global environment in the past few years has moved out of the confines of scientific papers and conferences to become a front-page issue. Recent events, such as the 1985 discovery of the Antarctic "ozone hole" and the 1988 North American drought, have created much debate regarding the relative contributions of human-induced and natural processes on global climatic and environmental change. Bearing these concerns in mind, in April 1988, the United States ratified the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which provides for reductions in production and consumption of principal ozone-depleting chemicals.

Significant uncertainties remain about the magnitude, timing, and regional impacts of global climate change. During FY 1988, the United States has made major contributions to international plans to reduce those uncertainties. The FCCSET Committee on Earth Sciences prepared a strategy for the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which I have endorsed. Prepared in close collaboration with other national and international planning groups and activities, the U.S. research strategy calls for an integrated approach in partnership with international organizations such as the World Meteorological Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the International Council of Scientific Unions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change launched its multilateral effort in November 1988 with U.S. participation and support.

Believing that the R&D of today is the goods and services of tomorrow, and believing that further discoveries in superconductivity hold enormous potential for applications, President Reagan signed into law on November 19, 1988, the "National Superconductivity and Competitiveness Act of 1988," which establishes a framework for a national program in superconductivity. He also named a National Commission on Superconductivity to provide guidance over the long term, as the real benefits from superconductivity may take years or decades to fully realize. Our goal as a nation is to lead the world in superconductivity R&D and in translating this new technology into useful products.

Strong U.S. involvement in international S&T requires excellence in the administration and implementation of our S&T policies around the world. Therefore, in response to President Reagan's Executive Order No. 12591 of April 10, 1987, the Department of State has sought to strengthen the technical expertise of its S&T officer corps by intensified recruitment from United States Government technical agencies, academia, and industry, and has recently established a specific career track for S&T officers. In addition, the Department of State, in cooperation with the National Science Foundation and the Department of Commerce, initiated the S&T Reporting and Information Dissemination Enhancement Project (STRIDE) in order to improve international scientific reporting.

As President, I intend to continue to build on the solid foundation in science and technology laid by President Reagan and his Administration. I believe that sustainable cooperation in science and technology is good for America and good for the world. Therefore, as the technology gap narrows, as internationalization of scientific and technological progress becomes the accepted norm, we must be concerned that the competitive drive for technological leadership not lead to protectionism in science, even as we are removing barriers to free and open trade. The challenge facing us in the years ahead is how to maintain and expand an open, mutually beneficial world system of exchange and cooperation in science and technology without undercutting our national competitiveness or jeopardizing our security interests and responsibilities. Articulating and responding to that challenge is a high priority of my Administration.

George Bush

The White House,

April 5, 1989.

George Bush, Message to the Congress Transmitting the Annual Report on International Activities in Science and Technology Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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