A House subcommittee rebuked the Reagan adminstration yesterday and cut its requests for military aid to Morocco, Tunisia and Zaire, three staunch U.S. supporters in Africa.
The subcommittee then redirected $45 million from the programs to developmental assistance.
Rep. Howard E. Wolpe (D-Mich), chairman of the Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa, said the region's "economic stagnation" and political problems cannot be cured by "larger and larger military expenditures."
The administration sought $100 million in military aid for Morocco in fiscal 1983 and $90 million in 1984, up from $30 million in 1982. The subcommittee cut the request to $50 million for both years. But it added $13 million to the adminstration's developmental aid request for 1984, bringing that total to $32 million, up from the 1982 level of $11.7 million.
For Tunisia, the subcommittee limited military aid to the 1982 level of $95 million for both 1983 and 1984. The administration had sought $140 million for each year.
Subcommittee members, sharply criticizing Zaire's government and its use of past U.S. aid, approved $4 million in military aid for both 1983 and 1984 rather than the $12 million and $10 million requested.
The administration was also rebuffed in its effort to add $7 million in 1983 and $10 million in 1984 in economic support funds for Zaire.
The subcommittee also voted to increase developmental aid in sub-Saharan Africa by $32 million.
In total African aid, the committee cut adminstration requests by $95 million for 1983 and $66 million for 1984.
State Department officials criticized the cuts and said they could hurt U.S. efforts in the region. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Princeton Lyman said a number of African countries are "looking for a signal from the United States that we are engaged with them as well as South Africa" on the continent's problems.