NAM and the U.S.-Soviet Trade and Economic Council

October 20, 2017

In February 1973, NAM’s international economic affairs department organized a trade conference with the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union sent fifteen delegates led by Vladimir Alkhimov, deputy minister for foreign trade. The two-day conference was divided into sessions; the morning session had plenary speakers and the afternoon session had panels on specific interests with opportunities for questions.

Burt Raynes, NAM chairman, at a press conference on February 28 stated there were three broad objectives achieved through the conference:

  1. It provided industry a comprehensive discussion of the new challenges and opportunities in the U.S.-U.S.S.R. economic relations;
  2. It provided Soviet trade officials an opportunity to meet key U.S. industrials and retailers interested in importing to and from the Soviet Union; and
  3. It provided United States government officials a broad forum to discuss agency, reorganization for U.S.-Soviet trade, and for legislative implications of such relations

Alkhimov echoed Raynes’ sentiment. He was pleased with the outcome of the conference. Discussions were frank but friendly, and he believed it would lead to new business deals between the two countries.

Left to right: NAM chairman Burt Raynes, deputy minister of foreign trade Nikolai Smeljakov, NAM president E. Douglas Kenna, and an unidentified man, Hagley Digital Archives.

After the conference, NAM proposed the formation of the Council for American-Soviet Trade (CAST). CAST led efforts to build relationships between U.S. corporate leaders and Soviet industrial and state-controlled trade organizations. This proposal became the blueprint for the U.S.-Soviet Trade and Economic Council (USTEC), which was formally established in October of that same year.

At Alkhimov’s invitation, NAM’s president Doug Kenna, vice president, N. E. Hollis, and chairman Raynes visited the Soviet Union from September 23 to October 5, 1973. The American delegation attended the inaugural meeting of the Council held in Moscow. 

The AVD portion of the collection has twelve audio reels from the conference, including the news conference held at the end. For more information, contact us at

Ashley Williams is the project archivist for the NAM Collection at Hagley Museum and Library.