TITLE: The Intelligence Yield Prom ECE
AUTHOR: Ernest Chaee
A coUcction ol articles on Ihe historical, operational, doctrinal, and theoretical aspects of intelligence.
All statements of fact, opinion or analysis expressed in Studies in Intelligence are those of the authors They do not necessarily reflect official positions or views of the Central intelligence Agency or any other US Government entity, past or present. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying US Government endorsement of an article's factual statements and interpretations.
Working the sub-surfaceo] an open economic source.
THE INTELLIGENCE YIELD FROM ECE Ernest Chase
& UNESCO's Economic Commission lor Europe Is the .
tematloiutl organization to which ail Europeanand which deals exclusively with problems ofboth Eastern and Western Europe. Each year It holdshundred meetings attended by governmentand experts from East and West. Its highlyof economists and technicians Includes annumber of East Europeans, now close to one-thirdstaff The Secretariat maintains contact on staffether international organizations In Europe,
the Soviet Bloc's CEMA
Because ECE is uniquelyosition to obtain
and related data from East European governments. Itsare an important source of information on theeconomies. But tbe intelligence value of thecan be Increased and additional unpublishedbe obtained by participating in the work of theU.S. participation for this purpose has beenthrough the assignment toission
Geneva of an officerackground In economicand It has proved worth while.
Organization and Operations
Tbe Commission itself meets annually and Its ten main committees (Steel, Electric Power, Gas.eriodically to decide what projects are to be undertaken and to make aratherthe resulting products. At these poUcy-making meetings the typical delegate Is agovernment official at the assistant secretary or division director level, sometimesabinet minister. Thetend to be rather general and are often flavored byIleal considerations, but from them emerge the decisions
Intelligence From fc"Cf
which determine broadly what kind of information will be
roject has been approved for Inclusion In the work program. It becomes the task of the Secretariat to carry it out, most frequently byuestionnaire for member governments, analyzing the replies, and publishing the resultstudy or statistical bulletin. Before publication the in-
dismissal for prior disclosure to delegates from other
This work of the Secretariat involves numerous meetings of expert groups, some of them permanent bodies devotedarticular kind of activity, like the Statistical Workingand others formed ad hoc for work on specific projects, sometimes even helping draft the publications. The members of these are generally technicians, including nationalfrom East and West, and their meetings, devoted toagenda in which political considerations play little part, are often distinguishedather free exchange of
Data furnished by the East European governments for ECE projects often leave much to be desired. Nevertheless, the East Europeans try to appear cooperative in the meetings, and in recent years their data have slowly improved underfrom the Secretariat and other member governments. The main reason for the deficiencies is undoubtedly theirfor security, but In some cases there may be bureaucratic or other reasons: the new Soviet director of the ECE Steel. Housing, and Engineering Division has declared that much of the Soviet data missing from ECE publications Is readilyand that he will work on the problem. It Is possible,that the growth of East European representation on the staff may result In some improvement in the data on Bloc countries.
In recent months representatives of CEMA and other East European economic organisations haveumber of ECE meetings, and members of the Secretariat staff haveby going to at least one CEMA meeting. These contacts will probably increase.
intelligence From ECE
Only about half the Secretariat staff works on projects originating as described above within the committee structure and thus specifically approved by member governments. The other halfesearch Division which conductsstudies of European economic problems andan annual European Economic Surveyuarterly Bulletin. Theoretically the Division is able to go to member govctfJUTsenta^.and gfij^theInformation necessary for its, studies; but since the East European governments are notto cooperate unless they can Influence the conclusions, its research on Eastern Europe has become virtually dependent upon published data.
Int elligence Potential
There are several ways in which the Intelligence value of the ECE documents can be increased and supplemented. participation in the Commission's work. Both the policy-making committees and the expert groups offerpossibilities; also Important are the relationshipswith Secretariat members.
In the meetings of the Commission proper and itswhere the work program Is established, attempts can be made to steer the program along the lines of intelligenceThe procedure is to identify and develop the rationale for projects that will yield data of interest and then seekfrom the appropriate committee. It is not easy to find such projects that will be acceptable, but the United States has had considerable success ln the Steel Committee, where It has been helped by the interest of. steel industry In obtaining commercial Intelligence. This interest has made it possible to obtain the services of industry officials as delegates and to brief them on economic intelligence requirements, which have consequentlyignificant influence on the Committee's work program and in particular on Itsof statistical data.
But even when the work program has not been soa number of the ECE projects under way at anytime are of possible mtelligence value. To takeof this fact it Is necessary to become familiar with the program, evaluating the potential of the individual projects.roject appears promising, participation in the appropriate
expert groups and close contacts with the responsible ECEare the Important lines of action. To be of Influence In the executionroject, the United States mustonstructive role not only by providing requested data but by participation in the expert groups assisting the Secretariat Such participationegitimate reason to expect and obtain cooperation from the Secretariat. One can then raise questions regarding gaps in the data or deslgnedjjojclarliyjt. Including questions of definition, coverage. metV^oooiopy'. and sources. It can be asked, for example, whether the data were provided by governments in the form used or were modified or estimated by ECE. and If the latter on what basis.
It Is difficult to assess the value of such participation Into Its cost Some additional information has thereby been developed, particularly In the areas of steel, energy, and agriculture.roject on the relative merits of various steel-making processes provided some information oncapital and operating costs in East European steelroject on agricultural statistics clarified the methodologies used In Eastern Europe for the collection of meat and milk statistics; certain energy projects haveInformation on forecasting techniques and criteria for making Investment decisions.
The potential Intelligence value of lis projects wouldbearginal factor In decidingn ECE. For policy reasons the United States usually sends delegates to Commission and Committee sessions even though they are of little Intelligence value, while because of the absence of policy considerations it usually does not send experts to the technical meetings which often have somepotential To take care of intelligence interests, therefore,. Mission in Geneva has had for several years, in addition to Its foreign service officer, one with aIn general economic Intelligence. He has the mainfor idenUfying the ECE projects of possiblefamiliarizing himself with their scope and methodologies, participating In appropriate expert meetings, establishingwith the ECE officials, and following up on specificand requirements from Washington reflecting Itson the potential significance of particular projects.
The US Mission's intelligence activities In ECE are notto the above. Its reports on meetings, for example, are often the only record of the bits of information divulged by delegates during technical and economic discussions. It rtc-ommends. experts be furnished for the working groups when such participation seems warranted, and It briefs these to take full advantage of their participation. It reports on trips by Secretariat members and,others into Easternand participates Itself in study trips. To the extent It can within the framework of legitimate liaison, it questions the ECE Secretariat regarding its contacts with Eastern experts and Eastern organization! such as CI'MA.
Tbe degree and kind of US. participation In ECE thus to some extent determines Its valueource of economicParticipation in the Commission andcan Influence tbe content of the work program;in the expert groups can influence the quality andof specific projects.ission In Geneva Is usually the most efficient channel for such participation. Theto it of one officer with intelligence background, though not sufficient to cover all possibilities of intelligence gain,that the more promising avenues are explored.Original document.