On November 15, 1961, the Washington Post carried a story with the headline "Surplus Held Unsuited to World Needs". The main point of the article was that, according to "the Administration's most influential farm economist," the surplus production of U.S. farmers was in large part not suitable for feeding the world's poor. Cochrane was quoted as saying that the world's food needs "would be better served, for example, by producing less feed grains and more soybeans and dried peas and beans." Cochrane did not say this because he thought exports would ever do much to solve the surplus production problem. Rather, in the best liberal tradition, he wanted to find better ways to feed the world's poor and use American food aid as a means of improving the economies of developing countries.
For other liberals, including President Kennedy, surplus food was an important part of foreign policy. Kennedy, a big proponent of "Food for Peace," was convinced that the only thing Russian leader Kruschev truly feared was being unable to feed his people. When Secretary Freeman presented the Agricultural Act of 1961 to Congress, he acknowledged that food aid was a longstanding tradition in America. "What is new," he explained, "is the magnitude and supreme importance of the task today." After allowing that expanded food aid programs were "the human, the generous, the American, and the right thing to do," he went on to remind the legislators present that such actions were also "essential to our own national interest and national security." By this, he meant that properly targeted food aid could be useful in persuading emerging nations to adopt the ways of democracy rather than those of Communism. In its food abundance, the United States had "a weapon of unquestioned superiority."
Farm policy in Camelot held that preserving the family farm structure of