A House-Senate conference committee will meet within the nest few days to consider reviving the administration's proposal for an Institute for Scientific and Technological Coopration, defended in a Washington Post editoral ["A Modest Aid Proposal," July 7]. In pleading the case for building yet another federal bureauracy, the editorial argued that "the ISTC idea strikes a lot of thoughtful people as awfully promrsing." It further contends that because "only $25 million" was requested for establishing the agency "the very modesty of the idea . . . made it so attractive."
There are also many thoughtful people who understand that the initial price tag for creating any new federal bureauceating any new federal bureaucracy is but a small fraction of what it ineviatably because within a few short years.
At a time when federal funds are being withdrawn from lunch programs for needy children and when Congress considers rolling back benefits for survrvors of Social Security recipients, a $25 million federal revenue-sharing program for colleges is out of order.
In attempting to characterize opponents of ISTC as those who would turn their backs on the less fortunate people of the world, The Washington Post is particularly unfair. Among the members of the Senate who voted against the proposal were such champions of humanitarian assistance as Sens. Inouye, Bayh, Leahy, Nelson, Proxmire and Weicker. U.S. aid to the Third World is necessary and should be delivered to programs directly helping the poorest of the poor break the cycle of deprivation and misery destined to continue unless on a course of compassion, understanding and common sense.
Perhaps it is only coincidental, but nevertheless relevent to the debate, that the same Senate Appropriations Committee that recommends approval of a $25 million expenditure to establish ISTC, saw fit to cut $25 million from the administration's request for one of the most vital and proven foregn-aid efforts -- world population assistance.
The question underlying the ISTC issue is: Should foreign aid be spent on research in laboratories at home, or on effective programs within the countries it is intended to help?
Certainly, there is much vital research warranting expenditures of federal dollars, but not at the expense of much needed humanitarian efforts already under constant attack by those still clinging to the antediluvian concept of isolationism.
The Senate, which last month defeated the ISTC proposal, would be welladvised to flatly reject any conference report contining efforts to resurrect it.