The International Civil Aviation Organization council today deplored the Soviet Union's action in shooting down a Korean Air Lines jetliner with 269 aboard, and ordered an international investigation.
The vote was 26 to 2, with the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia in opposition. China, Algeria and India abstained.
By approving the resolution--proposed by Canada and sponsored by 10 other nations, including the United States--the council also rejected a countering Soviet resolution that condemned by inference the United States, Japan and South Korea for failing to control the movement of the KAL plane.
The ICAO resolution contains no sanctions against the Soviets other than an official international expression of censure, but the strength of the vote on the resolution and against several Soviet delaying tactics indicated that feeling is strong.
The council, which has 33 members, is the governing body for the ICAO's 151-nation assembly. Although the ICAO is a U.N. agency, it has no single-nation veto.
The resolution directs the ICAO's secretary general to investigate the Sept. 1 incident and to report to the council at its November meeting.
For an investigation to be fruitful, the Soviets will have to cooperate. J. Lynn Helms, chief of the Federal Aviation Administration and head of the U.S. delegation during two days of deliberation here, said after the vote:
"I would not try to prejudge whether the Soviet Union will cooperate or not. But by not doing so, they would clearly set themselves apart from the rest of the international aviation community and clearly establish that the impact of civil aviation safety is not as meaningful to them as it is to the rest of the world. I think they'll think about that an awfully long time."
The South Korean observer, Dr. Kun Park, told the council after the vote, "We would like to express the gratitude of my government for this resolution," but added that it "is far behind our expectations, to be frank."
Later, at a news conference, Park praised the resolution warmly and said that "the only way the Soviets can reestablish their credibility" is to cooperate in the investigation.
Soviet delegate Ivan Orlovets said the council had acted "in haste and without the facts." Soviet delegates had charged during the debate that the Korean flight was coordinated with U.S. intelligence operations.
Orlovets complained to reporters that he had been beaten by a "voting machine," but said he would have no comment on whether the Soviets would cooperate with an ICAO investigation.
"Our position is clear," he said, an apparent reference to the fact the Soviets say they have started their own special inquiry in accordance with ICAO rules and have invited other countries with information to submit it.
The ICAO resolution does not "strongly condemn," which was the language Helms used in a speech to the council Thursday. Instead, it puts the ICAO council in a position of "deeply deploring the destruction of an aircraft in commercial international service, resulting in the loss of 269 innocent lives."
The Soviet Union, although not mentioned in that clause, is cited in an earlier one stating that a "Korean Air Lines civil aircraft was destroyed . . . by Soviet military aircraft."
Thus the resolution is not as strong as one the ICAO council passed in 1973 when it "strongly condemned the Israeli action" in shooting down a civilian Libyan airliner that had strayed from its course near the Suez Canal; 108 people were killed. The resolution condemning Israel was passed several months after the incident and after an ICAO investigation.
Helms called today's resolution "the strongest pre-investigation resolution in the history of ICAO."
The measure was drafted and redrafted Thursday night and again this morning to win the strongest possible vote. It contains these points Helms said were particularly important to the United States:
* Recognition that use of armed force against civil aircraft "is incompatible with the norms governing international behavior and elementary considerations of humanity" and "invokes generally recognized legal principles." That last clause, Helms said in an interview, protects the right of victims' families to seek compensation, a major aim of the United States.
* A call for a thorough international investigation.
* A call for the Soviets to "assist the bereaved families to visit the site of the incident," a matter of particular religious importance to Japanese and Korean families, officials said.
* Studies of international navigational rules to ensure that such an incident does not reoccur. These studies are to include an examination of ways to improve coordination between civilian and military aircraft and air traffic control services.
U.S. and Japanese officials have spent some time since the incident explaining how they knew so much about what happened but did not warn Flight 007 that it was off course.
The defeated Soviet resolution was one of a series of delaying tactics. The resolution called on the ICAO council to condemn "the actions of the agencies and services which sanctioned this flight and which failed to exercise proper control over the aircraft's compliance with the established rules of international flight or to prevent violation of the sovereignty of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics by the aircraft . . . ."
Voting for the Canadian resolution were Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, El Salvador, France, West Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Spain, Uganda, the United States and Venezuela. Iraq and Lebanon were not present.
The ICAO council early tonight also adopted a French proposal to study whether a special session of the ICAO Assembly should be called to amend the Chicago convention, a treaty that sets out basic international aviation rules.
The amendment would prohibit the use of force against civil aircraft. Present language says force "should" not be used. An amendment would require a two-thirds vote of the 151 ICAO members. Any nation declining to ratify the amendment within a year could be expelled.