BERLIN, NOV. 15 -- German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, citing concerns about a harsh and politically destabilizing winter in the Soviet Union, said today that his country would provide emergency food aid to Moscow and he urged other Western nations to do the same.

Kohl told Parliament in Bonn that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev needs Western help to assure that his struggling union can survive a winter of extreme shortages of food and fuel. Germany has already pledged $10 billion in aid to Moscow, most of it to support the 380,000 Soviet soldiers still stationed in eastern Germany.

Kohl did not announce new aid figures, but said, "We will continue {food shipments} in the case of an acute supply crisis." He called the decision "a good investment in a common future."

In Washington, Bush administration officials, also concerned that food shortages may imperil Gorbachev's government, said they have been working on contingency plans to provide food and medicine to the Soviets in an emergency. But officials said the work so far has been "normal contingency planning" at lower levels and has not been cleared by senior officials or discussed with the Soviets.

Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze earlier this year had general discussions on what assistance the United States could provide Moscow as it moves to a free-market economy. Baker said last month that "we all must be understanding of the hardship" confronting the Soviets and he warned that the battered Soviet economy faced shortages.

State Department deputy spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters Washington was "aware of the concerns that the Soviet Union may experience difficulties in food availability this winter, but it's still unclear whether severe shortages will actually develop. We would of course consider such assistance if we were asked."

Asked whether the Soviets had asked for aid, he said, "As far as I'm aware, we haven't been asked."

At his meeting with Gorbachev in Bonn last week, Kohl signed a mutual nonaggression pact with the Soviet leader and promised him that Germany would support efforts toward economic reform, both for its own sake and to encourage ethnic Germans in the Soviet Union not to emigrate to Germany.

But German officials said they have been frustrated by their inability to find someone in the Soviet bureaucracy willing to take responsibility for getting food deliveries through the Soviet distribution system, which has virtually collapsed.

Gorbachev reportedly told Kohl last weekend that he will appoint specific officials to guarantee that German aid reaches hungry people.

After Kohl spoke, opposition leader Oskar Lafontaine, a Social Democrat, welcomed closer ties with Moscow, but criticized Kohl's Christian Democrats for failing to move quickly to reduce the size of the German military.