Toshiba-Kongsberg scandal

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Several countries of the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (CoCom) member nations had illegally exported to the Soviet Union machine tools that could be used in combination with the Kongsberg numerical control (NC) devices made in Norway in violation of the CoCom agreement during the Cold War.[1]

The involvement of Toshiba in this scandal was disclosed in May 1987. There was a significant fallout from the revelation as it was feared that American military secrets had been disclosed. Three Republican members of Congress symbolically struck a Toshiba radio set with a sledgehammer.[2]


The machine tool that combined with the Norwegian numerical control (NC) device and was exported to the Soviet Union. (based on the Norwegian Police Service report.)

Year Kongsberg company The type of the NC device Machine tool manufacturers Country The number of the spindles of the simultaneous control Number At the carrying destination Usage
1974 CNC300 Sajo Sweden 3 1 Stankoimport(1)  ?
1975–1976 CNC300 GSP France 5 23 Stankoimport(23)  ?
1975–1976 CNC300 Forest France 4-5 9 Leningrad(4) Feather for turbines, Model propeller
Baltic shipyard(3) Screw
Kiev(2) Screw, Propeller feather
1977–1985 NC2000 Sheath West Germany 2 7 Leningrad(7) Atomic energy machinery
2 10 SUMY(4) Atomic energy machinery
 ?(1)  ?
Volgodonsk(5) Atomic energy machinery
3 24 Volgodonsk(21) Atomic energy machinery
SUMY(2)  ?
Leningrad(1)  ?
5 5 Leningrad(3) Feather for turbines, Other Unknown
Volgodonsk(1) Atomic energy machinery
Kazan(1)  ?
1979–1981 NC2000 Delice West Germany 2 12 Volgodonsk(8) Atomic energy machinery
Aleksin(4)  ?
1981 NC2000 Donauwerk West Germany 3 2  ?(2)  ?
4 2  ?(2)  ?
1976–1985 NC2000 Innocenti Italy 3 25 Volgodonsk(25) Atomic energy machinery
1983–1984 NC2000 Forest France 5 10 Leningrad(9) Feather for turbines, Other Unknown
Sverdlovsk(1) Feather for turbines
 ? 3 Volgodonsk(3) Atomic energy machinery
1979–1984 NC2000 Toshiba Machine Japan 3 1 Volgodonsk(1) Atomic energy machinery
5 4 Baltic shipyard(4) Screw
9 4 Baltic shipyard(4) Screw
1980 NC2000 KTM United Kingdom 3 2 China(2)  ?


  1. ^ Wende A. Wrubel "The Toshiba-Kongsberg Incident: Shortcomings Of COCOM, And Recommendations For Increased Effectiveness Of Export Controls To The East Bloc" American University Journal of International Law and Policy 4(24) 241-273 (1989) [1]
  2. ^ Heale, M. J. (April 2009). "Anatomy of a Scare: Yellow Peril Politics in America, 1980–1993". Journal of American Studies. Cambridge University Press on behalf of the British Association for American Studies. 43 (1): 29. ISSN 1469-5154 – via JSTOR. (subscription required (help)). 

Further reading[edit]

  • Sontag, Sherry; Drew, Christopher; Drew, Annette Lawrence (2000). Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage. William Morrow Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0-06-097771-9. 
  • 春名(Haruna), 幹男(Mikio) (1993). スクリュー音が消えた: 東芝事件と米情報工作の真相. 新潮社(Shinchosha). ISBN 978-4-10-394501-7. 
  • 熊谷(Kumagai), 独(Hitori) (1988). モスクワよ、さらば: ココム違反事件の背景. 文藝春秋(Bungeishunju). ISBN 978-4-16-342060-8. 

External links[edit]