WASHINGTON — The U.S. offer to sell subsidized grain to the Soviet Union is ending "with a whimper" as the Soviets turn to more heavily subsidized sources to fill their wheat needs, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole said today.
Dole, who pressed President Reagan to offer the subsidy in an effort to bolster lagging grain sales, blamed the offer's failure in part on the controversy surrounding the arrest of U.S. journalist Nicholas Daniloff.
"The arrest . . . meant that all bets were off with the Kremlin, on all fronts, including any kind of grain deal," he said in a floor speech.
The subsidy offer expires at midnight, the end of the third year of a five-year U.S.-Soviet grain sales agreement. The Soviets showed no interest in the offer, which stood at a $15-per-ton subsidy as it expired.
Dole (R-Kan.) said France recently sold about a million tons of wheat to Moscow at $75 a ton, well below the U.S. price, "which goes to show how far the grain subsidy war is going."