The Nov. 18 editorial "Food Aid for the Soviets" called into question the prevailing rationale that aiding Soviet President Gorbachev is in the national interest. Bravo for The Post. However, having visited Lithuania seven times in the past 13 years, I know the editorial did not seem to fully understand the situation in the Soviet Union, especially in regard to the republics.

The editorial hinted that the republics were partially to blame for the food shortages in the Soviet Union. But one must keep in mind that Lithuania was put under an economic blockade by the Soviet Union this past spring. Lithuanians were paying the price for wanting their country back.

These so-called republics want out of the Soviet system because they are like a cart tied to the dead horse of the Soviet economy. People have had it with 50 years of stagnation imposed on them by an occupying power. They want to control their own destiny. The Lithuanians voted for independence last spring and received little support.

The shortages are real and dangerous with a winter coming. I agree that any aid to the Soviets should be linked to some changes in their economic system. But do not blame the republics: they are trying to do something about the problem.


The editorial "Food Aid for the Soviets" rightly calls such action "a moral deformation." The Russian-dominated Communist regime has brought this calamity on the empire while in possession of vast oil reserves, gold and a host of other valuable natural resources, in addition to a record harvest. It is the same regime that cut off food and medicines from millions of suffering Lithuanians last spring with a blockade. The U.S. government did not consider humanitarian aid to Lithuania.

Common decency and sense must sometimes also be considered. Remember that Herbert Hoover headed a humanitarian mission to the Soviet Union about 70 years ago. What came after that humanitarian aid? The 20th century's biggest slave camp. ILVI J. CANNON Bolton, Conn.