The Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday delayed action on the normally routine approval of a foreign service officer promotion list. The list, one of the smallest in years, includes the names of 284 FS officers whom State has nominated for higher grades and pay from a force of about 3,000 officers. The committee also held up a vote on the much smaller career minister promotion list.

Some committee members are troubled by allegations that the list does not include the best and brightest in the elite FS corps. Under the "selection out" system that State uses, failure to get promotions can and does result in FS officers being fired.

John Hemenway, former president of the American Foreign Service Association, has charged that some of the people on the promotion list shouldn't be there, and that both office and partisan politics are involved in some of the selections. Lars Hydle, current president of AFSA, says the State has promised restless FS offiple "comform with procedures agreed upon between AFSA and the department's management."

Insiders believe the comittee may consult with Sen. Clairborne Pell (D-R.I.), a former foreign service officer, before deciding whether to ask State to investigate it, or to approve the names submitted.

State has promised restless FS officers that a second promotion list will be made up and sent to the Senate later this year. Normally, more than 500 FS officers are proposed for promotion each year.