On today’s show I’m going to give you a historical perspective on behind the scenes trade that if it occurred as I observed, would have evaded international trade sanctions.
The cold war between NATO countries and the eastern bloc lead by the Soviet Union initiated in the wake of WW2, when it became clear the Stalin, while an ally during the war, was an ideological and military threat to western democracies.
For many years, the embargo on the Soviet Union was quite severe. The embargo on Eastern European countries was less stringent, in hopes of driving a wedge between the Soviet Union and its allies.
At that time, I was a young engineer at Bell Northern Research where I was responsible for the design of the central processing unit of the equipment that routed telephone calls within the phone network. My parent company, Northern Telecom manufactured and sold the telecom equipment that our team designed. We had developed the world’s first fully digital telephone exchange system.
Most of the sales were within North America, but we also had sales of our equipment all over the world. We had a licensee of our equipment in Turkey through a company called Netas Telecommunications. Netas supplied equipment to Turk Telecom which was the operator. But Netas also supplied and installed our equipment to other parts of the middle east.
Back then, it was illegal for under the trade embargo for world’s most advanced telecommunications equipment to be installed in Russia, or any of the Soviet bloc countries.
Host: Victor Menasce