AGENCY DOCUMENTS REVEAL COLD WAR ECONOMIC ROLE

AGENCY DOCUMENTS REVEAL COLD WAR ECONOMIC ROLE

Two CIA documents from the 1980s illustrate the agency's role in economic intelligence during the Cold War.

One report called "Future Newly Industrializing Countries: More Competition?" was written in March 1984 by an analyst in the CIA's Office of Global Issues and obtained by this reporter.It examined the competitive threat to the United States posed by the rapid growth of export-oriented economies in Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Mexico and Brazil and concluded the U.S. government could take advantage of the resulting trade friction.

By 1985, the five newly industrialized countries would be joined by a second tier of less-developed countries stressing exports, the report predicted. The new export contenders, it said, would be Malaysia, Thailand, Argentina, Peru and Uruguay.

"By playing the needs of one group of (developing countries) against those of another, (trade) negotiators may gain leverage that can be used to the advantage of the industrial countries," the CIA report said. "This tactic could prove useful" in global trade talks and negotiations on textiles and apparel, the agency said.

The second document, which dates from 1979, was released during the trial in 1985 of Ronald R. Rewald, a former CIA agent convicted of defrauding investors in connection with the CMI Investment Corp., a Honolulu investment firm.

Mr. Rewald claimed CMI was financed by the CIA. During the trial, the CIA admitted Mr. Rewald was an agent while he was at CMI, but argued his fraudulent actions were not authorized.

The 1979 CIA document listed "Intelligence Requirements for Japan." Topping the list was the High Speed Surface Transport, a magnetically levitated train developed by Japan Airlines. The document said the "low noise, low vibration" train was developed for $50 million and would travel between Narita Airport and downtown Tokyo at over 300 kilometers an hour.

"Determine what effects this speed has on people and tracks," the CIA instructed Mr. Rewald.

The CIA also asked Mr. Rewald to:

* Determine whether Japan would experience an economic slowdown in the fall of 1979.

* Report on the "pace of economic activity and business, including

financial positions of firms."

* Analyze the effect of Japan's unwillingness "to offer any better (interest) rates" to China than China was getting in Europe.