From a Jan. 23 radio address by Rep. Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.):

We should insist that President {Daniel} Ortega of Nicaragua keep his promises. But we must also be realistic. Democracy cannot blossom overnight. We cannot require standards other democracies in the region do not meet. In the near term, the Sandinistas will remain whether we vote for or against contra aid.

If our objective is to moderate Sandinista behavior, then the peace plan holds promise. If our objective is to overthrow them, then this peace plan doesn't make sense.

The United States also has security concerns in the region. {Mikhail} Gorbachev told President Reagan during the recent summit that he was prepared to cut off Soviet military aid to Nicaragua if the United States cut off aid to the contras. Ortega has said that if he receives security guarantees from Washington, he would limit his army, withdraw foreign military advisers, prohibit foreign bases and prevent subversion from Nicaraguan soil. We ought to seize these opportunities to negotiate, and put both Gorbachev and Ortega to the test.

President Reagan says contra aid is an insurance policy to make the Arias plan work. But he has also called the plan "fatally flawed." The Sandinistas may renege on their commitments if contra aid is stopped. But they will certainly renege if contra aid is approved. . . .

During six months of the Central American peace plan more positive changes in Nicaragua have been achieved than during six years of contra war. Those with the most at stake here are not Americans, but the ordinary people of Central America who will have to fight and die if war continues.