Behind the Curtain

Under the constant pressure to balance public opinion against foreign obligations, Congress has upset its international program with a dangerous miscalculation. Similar to the confused moonshiner who can't remember what he has put into his brew, the U.S. has combined conflicting economic policies which are now reacting against the national interest.

Responding to public appeal, Congress started the trouble when it posted a bill of strategic goods which businessmen could not sell to Eastern Europe and Red China. Since the harshest complaints were leveled at the Chinese Communists, the number of items embargoed for them outnumbered the list for the satellite countries. The Eastern Europe gimmick is to buy strategic materials in the West and freight them to the Chinese at top prices. Each day free world generators, machine tools, and petroleum equipment are raced across the Trans-Siberian railroad to the East, all via the profit making of the middle men in occupied Europe.

An additional dash of injury was added last August when Congress again cut the number of items prohibited to the satellites from 250 to about 170, nearly doubling the Soviet intake. The administration defended the reduction because of the easing in European tension points. If the end of the Korean and Indochina wars doesn't justify equalizing the restriction lists, the continued injury to America's overall policy does. The inequality of the trading requirements has a disadvantage greater than the profitable ventures of the shrewd dealers behind the Curtain. It also makes Communist China more dependent on Eastern Europe for necessary goods. Until Congress can decide on a consistent program, the Kremlin will continue to weld Eastern Europe to Red China with economic solder provided by the United States.