The House handed the administration a foreign policy victory by disapproving yesterday the sending of an American team of observers to the upcoming Rhodesian election.
The 190-to-180 vote came in the course of continuing House debate on the $4 billion foreign aid bill.
Over administration objections, the Senate hand already approved the sending of congressional observers to the elections which start April 17. The objection, in the White House and State Department view, is that such a move would impair U.S. government efforts to play a role of disinterested broker in promoting a settlement.
The milder House amendment to the aid bill, sponsored by Rep. Robert Bauman (R-Md. $, would have allowed the president to send a team of observers. It also would have permitted him to send $20 million in foreign aid to Rhodesia when the elections were over.
Rep. Stephen Solarz (D-N.Y.) said the president and secretary of state considered sending observers extremely counterproductive." Solarz said such an action would "alienate every country in Africa" and be considered "a slap in the face of the United Kingdom" whose responsibility it is to observe the elections and decolonize southern Africa.
Solarz said the suggestion of aid "goes way beyond lifting sanctions" and would throw the weight of the United States toward an internal settlement.
Rep. Edward Derwinski (R-Ill.) favored the amendment as a "practical application" of showing that the United States had an even handed policy in South Africa.
In other action, the House voted to cut $45 million in economic aid to Syria, unless the president determines the aid is in the interest of the United States.
Derwinski argued for an outright cut "to emphasize our determination that the Isreali-Egyptian peace treaty not be torpedoed by radical arab governments."
By Rep. Ler Hamilton (D-Ind.) Succeed by a 193-to-177 note in inserting language that allows the president to determine whether the aid is in the national interest. Hamilton argued that Syria is indispensable to pearce in the Miidle East and that the United States should syria to keep its options open and not force them "to choose against us'.(
Another section of the bill, which would have required the president to certify Syria and Jordian were acting in good faith to achieve a Middle East peace before reveiving funds, was softened. The measure now says that the funds in the bill that the funds in the bill are dwsigned to promote peace and Jordan, to get the funds, should make good faith effots to bring about peace.
The House also voted 236 to 136 to create a new Institute for Scienfic and Techological Coopreration, inteneded to strength the ability of development nations to solve problems through scientifc and technological innovations. The bill authorizes $25 million for the next fiscal year to get up the new institute.
The House is expected to take up the aid bill again today. Proposals are expected for across-the-board cuts in foreign aid and to transfer ththe Peace Corps out of ACTION and into a new agency.