Despite strong political opposition, President Kennedy has wisely authorized the sale of wheat to the Soviet Union. Reversing the previous ban on grain shipments to the Communist bloc, this sale offers numerous economic advantages.
The Russians want to buy $250 million of wheat to compensate for their disastrous 1963 harvest; the purchase will eliminate more than one-fifth of our current wheat surplus. It will also case fears of an additional $800 million surplus from this year's promising crop. Furthermore, since the wheat will be sold for hard currency or gold, or on short-term credit, the sale will substantially cut our balance of payments deficit.
Many Republicans have raised political objections to the sale. Senator Goldwater accuses the President of establishing a "Soviet-American mutual aid society," and former vice-President Nixon claims we are "hurting the cause of freedom." Instead, the President's decision will strengthen recent attempts to case world tension. The Russians need grain and the United States has too much; common ground has been found and the opportunity for a further Cold War thaw should not be bypassed.