The Cox Report: Selected Text and Commentaries

On May 25, 1999, the House Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns With the People's Republic of China issued the declassified version of its report (the Cox Report) on China's acquisition of U.S. technology in a number of sensitive areas, including nuclear weapons, high-performance computers, and missile and space systems. The committee's full report, which was classified Top Secret when it was issued on January 3, 1999 (and which remains classified) was unanimously approved by the panel's five Republicans and four Democrats. (See below.)

The elaborately presented three-volume declassified report, which comprises nearly 900 pages, contains extensive background information, a detailed review of China's acquisition efforts, the principal cases of alleged technology transfer, the committee's assessment of the impact of these transfers, and 38 recommendations for the president and the Congress on how to deal with the situation.

The release of the declassified version has generated a firestorm of criticism, particularly with regard to the report's charges and assessment of Chinese acquisition of U.S. nuclear weapons technology. Although no dissenting opinions were attached to the final report, committee member Representative John M. Spratt, Jr. (D-SC) issued a highly critical statement the day of the declassified report's release.

To provide our readers with a better understanding of the report and reactions to it, this special section of Arms Control Today contains the full text of the nuclear weapons portion of the report's overview and the overview's principal findings with regard to other areas of technology and policy. The section also contains the panel's nuclear weapons-related recommendations, the key unclassified findings of the "U.S. Intelligence Community Damage Assessment on the Implications of China's Acquisition of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Information on the Development of Future Chinese Weapons," and the introductory note from the damage assessment review panel (headed by retired Admiral David Jeremiah) that President Clinton ordered convened.

The section also comprises commentaries from five knowledgeable experts. In addition to Representative Spratt, commentators include Jonathan D. Pollack, senior advisor for international policy at the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, California; Richard L. Garwin, IBM fellow emeritus at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York, who has been closely associated with the U.S. nuclear weapons program; Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky, director emeritus of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in California; and Kenneth N. Luongo, executive director of the Russian-American Nuclear Security Advisory Council in Princeton, New Jersey.

Links to the Cox Report Special Section:


  • Cox Report Overview
  • Nuclear Weapons-Related recommendations of the Cox Committee
  • Key Findings of the Intelligence Community Damage Assessment
  • Introductory Note from the Damage Assessment Review Panel
  • Commentary
  • "Keep the Facts of the Cox Report in Perspective," Representative John M. Spratt, Jr.
  • "The Cox Report's 'Dirty Little Secret'," Jonathan D. Pollack
  • "Why China Won't Build U.S. Warheads," Richard L. Garwin
  • "Assessing the Cost vs. Benefit of U.S.-Chinese Scientific Cooperation," Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky
  • "Don't Let Furor From Cox Report Undermine U.S.-Russian Cooperation," Kenneth N. Luongo

    Members of the Cox Committee:

    Rep. Christopher Cox, chairman (R-CA)

    Rep. Norm Dicks, ranking Democrat (D-WA)

    Rep. Porter Goss, vice chairman (R-FL)

    Rep. Doug Bereuter (R-NE)

    Rep. James V. Hansen (R-UT)

    Rep. John M. Spratt Jr. (D-SC)

    Rep. Curt Weldon (R-FL)

    Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)

    Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA)