House and Senate conferees meeting to work out differences in the 1979 $2.8 billion foreign military aid bill reached agreement on Rhodesia yesterday but left the tough question of Turkey until Monday.
The conferees adopted a Rhodesian agreement suggested by Rep. Stephen Solarz (D-N.Y.) that retains the substance of the Senate bill pushed by Clifford Case (R-N.J.) and Jacob Javits and (R-N.Y.) and agreed to by the Carter administration but includes modifications that Solarz said should make it acceptable to the House.
The Solarz compromise says the United States shall continue sanctions against Rhodesia after Dec. 31, 1978, unless the president determines that the Rhodesian government is willing to negotiate at an international conference that will include all interested parties, and that the Rhodesian government has conducted fre elections under international observation.
The compromise is a victory for the Carter administration, because it retains the Senate provision requiring Rhodesian attendance at an all-parties conference before sanctions can be lifted. The House version had contained no such requirement.
Conferees reached the issue of lifting the arms embargo against Turkey at the end of their three-hour session, and left debate until Monday. But Sen. George McGovern (D-S.D.) outlined his views on a compromise for the group to consider.
There are three issues at stake, McGovern said. Both the House and Senate agreed to lift the arms embargo and to provide $175 million in military aid. But the Senate provides the entire $175 million as a credit while the House provides $140 in arms credits and $35 million in a direct grant. McGovern suggested adopting the House version.
Secondly, the Senate provided for direct repeal of the arms embargo while the House did not provide for a direct repeal but would let the president lift the embargo subject to certain conditions.
"What we are talking about here is an act of symbolism," McGovern said, "and the direct repeal makes that symbolism more clearly." He suggested following the Senate version.
The third area of differences between the House and Senate is a matter of language and not substance - how to word the bill authorizing economic and military assistance for Greece and Turkey so as to minimize Greek displeasure at the decision to drop the Turkish embargo.
McGovern said he had received letters from the prime ministers of both Greece and Turkey complimenting him on the Senate version of the bill, and he suggested retaining the Senate language.
In dealing with other areas of the $2.8 billion foreign military aid bill, the conferees eliminated direct references to Nicaragua and Paraguay (singled out in the Senate version for violating human rights and thus ineligible for certain aid) and agreed on language dealing with Mexico's use of paraquet to destroy marijuana.
The conferees agreed not to condition aid on stopping the use of paraquat, but said the paraquat must be used in conjunction with some other substance that will "clearly and readily" warn consumers the marijuana has been sprayed with the pesticide.
The conferees also recommended that the current policy of not giving military aid to countries found to violate human rights consistently unless the president determines there is an extraordinary security need be made into a legal requirement.