President Bush, trying to get Moscow to join the United States in reducing nuclear arms, moved Tuesday to help the Soviet Union increase its limited food supply.
Bush said the Kremlin would have immediate access to $585 million in U.S. credit guarantees so it can buy U.S. farm exports. It was the second time since the botched Moscow coup that Bush acted to help the Kremlin with its grocery list.This time, the administration said the credits would be offered with sweeter terms than those given to other nations. U.S. banking sources said they expect the credits will be used rapidly. The favorable terms were intended to overcome a reluctance among bankers to lend money to the Soviets.
Bush's announcement coincided with moves by the United States and the Soviet Union toward initial talks on his proposal to slash their respective nuclear arsenals.
The decision on food credits was announced shortly before Agriculture Secretary Edward Madigan and a delegation of government and private-sector experts left on a 10-day trip to size up Soviet food needs and the food distribution system.