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Public Papers - 1991 - June

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on United States Agricultural Loan Credit for the Soviet Union


President Bush has informed President Gorbachev today that the United States will meet the Soviet request for up to .5 billion in credit guarantees toward the purchase of American agricultural products. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Madigan will follow up immediately with Soviet officials to work out the details of this agreement.

The President's offer specifies U.S. willingness to make the credit guarantees available in three tranches over the next 9 months -- 0 million this month, 0 million in October 1991, and 0 million in February 1992. The President made this decision after having received the views of the Presidential delegation he sent to the U.S.S.R. in late May to study the grain request and the food distribution system there.

In addition to meeting the Soviet request for credit guarantees, the President today also expressed to President Gorbachev his continued interest in collaborating on a long-term effort to improve the food distribution system in the U.S.S.R., primarily through the introduction of market measures. The United States is prepared to form a high-level team of Government and private experts to assist the Soviets in this effort.

In making this decision, the President took into consideration the record of the Soviet Government in meeting its official obligations. The President's decision also followed assurances from the Soviet Government that the grains made available through the credit guarantees would be fairly distributed among Soviet Republics and the Baltic States. The President's decision reflects the administration's desire to promote a continued positive evolution in the U.S.-Soviet relationship. In particular, we hope that this assistance will help to stabilize the food situation in that country.

Note: Press Secretary Fitzwater read the statement to reporters at 4:38 p.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.

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