The Senate yesterday approved a $1.6 billion foreign economic aid authorization and a $3.2 billion military aid measure for fiscal 1978. The economic bill was passed 59 to 32, the military bill, 67 to 18.
The figures in both bills varied little in total from the Carter administration request. But some significant policy alterations were made in the foreign Relations Committee or on the floor.
In the military measure, the Senate and the Foreign Relations Committee wanted to move faster in sanctions against countries violating human rights, tilted a bit more toward Greece in the Greece-Turkey dispute than the administration initially sought, and forced the administration to strengthen long-term statements of weapons supports for Israel.
The committee also rejected a $100 million request for transition aid to Rhodesia while boosting aid to black nations in southern Africa to $100 million, though insisting it wasn't making any "tradeoff" on the funds. The $100 million for black Africa was cut to $80 million on the floor by Sen. James B. Allen (D-Ala.).
The administration had asked for some military funds for Ethiopia, Argentina and Zaire. The Senate bill wiped out all forms of military aid, credits and sales to Ethiopia, cut out all military credits (but not certain other forms of military aid) for Argentina, and reduced military funds for Zaire from $30 million to $20 million.
The committee said the Ethiopia and Argentina cuts were because of "poor human rights conditions" in those countries. On the floor Sens. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Frank Church (D-Idaho) worked out with Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn.), the bill's floor manager, an amendment phasing out all further forms of Argentina aid such as training of military officers and sales authorities by Sept. 30, 1978.
While the committee provided $275 million military credits for South Korea and $2.5 million for Nicaragua, it said it "noted with great concern the human rights situations" in those countries.
The committee gave the administration $225 million in military aid and credits for Turkey and $175 million for Greece, but declined to hint endorsement of a proposed $1 billion four-year aid pact with Turkey or to approve putting purchase of 40 F-4 planes by Turkey on a government-to-government basis, because of the opposition of senators friendly to Greece.
The committee also added $15 million for Cyprus not requested by the administration. Its rejection of the $100 million for Rhodesia reflected a desire that Rhodesia make further steps toward majority rule before the money is tendered.
A significant provision of the arms aid bill beefs up an existing law that bars U.S. aid to any country buying or selling nuclear technology to another, unless it agrees to place the nuclear equipment under international safeguards to make sure peaceful atomic equipment isn't converted to bomb machinery. The provision extends the sanctions to any country, aside from the existing five nuclear-weapons powers, which detonates any nuclear explosive device and thus indicates it's flirting with weapons capacity.
The $1.6 billion economic aid bill had two major floor fights. A Mark Hatfield (R-Ore.) amendment barring food-for-peace sale of tobacco was, in effect, defeated 56 to 36, despite Hatfield protests that the United States - shouldn't subsidize tobacco sales when it is spending billions for cancer research. A Dick Clark (D-Iowa) amendment permitting humanitarian food donations to countries even if they have expropriated U.S. property without compensation was approved by voice vote.