The US State Department has been lobbying Western Europe hard not to increase its dependency on Soviet natural gas. Meanwhile, the US Commerce Department is busy issuing export licenses to American firms providing some of the pipeline equipment.
This is not the first time the right hand of State and the left hand of Commerce are at odds. No matter. Despite State's offers of more American coal and other energy help, the Europeans are not buying it. They continue to support the 2,200-mile pipeline the Russians want to build from Siberia to supply natural gas to Western Europe. American business is not too unhappy either.