WASHINGTON—The Reagan administration has barred the Soviet Union from participating in an international scientific program to which the Soviets had already accepted an invitation. The decision was made by President Reagan late last month on national security grounds, after the Defense Department objected to the Soviets' participation in the project, which will analyze the composition of the ocean floor.

The Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) is supported by the United States, the United Kingdom, West Germany, France, Canada, Japan and the European Science Foundation, a consortium of 12 smaller countries. The National Science Foundation contributes about $19 million annually, while the six other participants provide $2.5 million each.

The U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences was invited in 1985 to join the newly constituted program as a full partner. At the time various U.S. agencies—including NSF and the departments of State, Commerce and Defense—had approved the proposal. The Soviets accepted and were to...

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