1978年春中共国向美国购买价格约八千万美金的12亿斤小麦（即60万吨），在国家安全委员会任职分析员的沈大伟（David Shambaugh）为此事给负责东亚/中国事务的奥克森伯格（Michel Oksenberg）写备忘录，指出无需夸大该交易的意义，美国仍然只是中共购买外国粮食的备选项而非主要提供商，这也未必是改善中美外交关系的信号。
NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL
FROM: DAVID SHAMBAUGH
SUBJECT: CHINESE WHEAT PURCHASE FROM THE UNITED STATES
Having concurred with State (PRCM & INR), CIA (OER), and indirectly DOA we have a reasonably clear picture of the nature and motivation of the Chinese grain purchase. The political consequences are less clear.
The Chinese have purchased 600,000 tons of wheat (worth approximately $80 million at current market prices) from an overseas branch of an undetermined company— most likely Cook, Dreyfus, or Continental. Delivery is scheduled for the June 1-September 1 period. An application for a grain export license has been filed by the same company with DOA. Agriculture refuses to tell who filed it.
The Chinese turned to the US because their other primary suppliers-- Argentina and Australia-- are sold out until their new crops are harvested in December. Canada, their #1 supplier, is already behind on delivery schedule and wouldn't be able to meet a new order until autumn. Since the spring crop has not yet been harvested in China, now is the annual low point in PRC grain reserves. Hence, in order to maintain continuity in deliveries and avoid a shortage China turned to the US.
Make no mistake. The US is still a residual supplier. The Chinese bought from us because they needed the grain, not necessarily to send a diplomatic signal. Although taken together with other recent indications of amity-- broadened contacts with USLO officers, US MILATTs around the world, the new USLO compound, expanded exchanges, etc.--we must not overlook the political implications of the purchase. The
domestic political implications are also positive. Grain prices will rise as an effect of this and future sales, which will please farmers.
Rumors persist that another million tons may be included in the deal. The total package could go as high as two million tons.
The timing of this and future sales are critical factors in determining the importance the Chinese attach to the US as a grain supplier. Until now, and including this sale, we must be considered residual suppliers. However, should the Chinese opt to purchase additional US grain during the remainder of the 1978-79 cycle* (particularly in September) we become competitive suppliers with Australia, Canada, and Argentina. With Argentinian and Australian crops not due until December at the earliest, our prospects are good.