WASHINGTON (Jun. 15)
President Reagan has been urged by a bipartisan group of 50 members of the U.S. House of Representatives to have the seven industrialized nations participating in an economic summit next week establish a policy on bank loans to the Soviet Union.
In a letter to Reagan, signed by 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans, the lawmakers particularly expressed concern about “the practice of making available to the Soviet Union untied, general-purpose loans at low costs” that the Soviets can use for any purpose they choose.
They said approximately $19 billion of the $24 billion lent to the Soviet bloc from Japanese and West European banks in 1986 were in these type of loans.
“Right now we have no policy on Western lending to the Soviet bloc,” said Rep. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who drafted the letter and circulated it along with Rep. Toby Roth (R-Wis.). “We’re missing a golden opportunity to coax the Soviets in the right direction.”
The letter questioned whether the Soviets should be receiving such loans “while they continue to violate the principles they agreed to under the Helsinki Accords.”
The members of Congress noted that “the much-vaunted policies of ‘glasnost’ and ‘perestroika’ have not produced systematic changes in the Soviet Union with respect to their emigration and human rights policies.”
The loans may also be contributing to “Moscow’s ability to maintain costly military commitments worldwide,” the lawmakers warned.
“Funding ‘perestroika’ is one thing,” Schumer said. “Funding human rights abuses and foreign adventurism is ludicrous.”
The seven countries participating in the summit in Toronto are the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Italy, West Germany and Japan.