A House subcommittee, ignoring Reagan administration veto threats, voted yesterday to ban major military sales to Jordan until King Hussein's nation promises to recognize Israel and to begin direct peace negotiations.
Another subcommittee, acting without any administration request, authorized $5 million in aid to noncommunist groups in Cambodia fighting the Vietnamese occupation, the first time any funds have been earmarked for that conflict.
The two votes were further evidence that Congress is asserting itself this session in foreign policy matters, and appeared to foreshadow major legislative battles.
They came as the State Department announced that Secretary of State George P. Shultz will visit Israel May 10 in what was described as a tribute to victims of the Nazi holocaust in World War II.
Although the announcement said the trip was "not related" to the Mideast peace process, the visit will take place while Congress is debating aid to all the Mideast countries and as the administration considers further military sales to Arab nations.
President Reagan last year threatened to veto stopgap spending legislation that contained a restriction on Jordanian aid identical to the one passed yesterday in the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Europe and the Mideast. Congress yielded, turning it into a nonbinding sense-of-Congress resolution.
A knowledgeable administration official called this year's provision "a killer amendment" that would again lead Reagan to veto the foreign aid bill.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Taher Masri, visiting Shultz for more than an hour yesterday, was told "we'll fight this every step of the way," the official said.
Pro-Israel Democrats pushed the provision through over the opposition of the subcommittee chairman, Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.), and after meeting with Masri to hear his objections.
Hamilton argued that the peace process is "alive but at a very delicate stage" in Hussein's hands and that the amendment "would have the effect of damaging his credibility" in resisting Syrian demands.
The provision will be "most welcome to Syria," Hamilton said.
The Democrats, led by Rep. Lawrence J. Smith (D-Fla.), said the vote was necessary to make sure that both Jordan and the Reagan administration understand Congress' continuing commitment to peace between Jordan and Israel.
"It indicates that we continue to be very upset that we cannot get the two countries together," Smith said.
The measure also praises Hussein for his recent efforts toward peace.
Democrats supporting the measure insisted that the vote, coupled with a separate amendment that increased economic aid to Jordan by $10 million, added up to encouragement for Jordan.
"If there's a desire to understand, then Jordan will understand," said Rep. Robert G. Torricelli (D-N.J.).
Masri said in an interview that he got a different message. The vote was "very disappointing and ill-timed . . . not helpful at all," he said. "The movement that Jordan has started should be encouraged."
The subcommittee approved an overall package of aid to the region of $7.6 billion, including $890 million for Turkey, $500 million for Greece, $2.3 billion for Egypt and $3 million for Israel.
Hamilton said the administration has promised to present its request for a 1985 supplemental appropriation for Israel, held up to pressure Israel for economic reforms, "as soon as possible."
The $5 million approved by the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs for noncommunists fighting Vietnamese in Cambodia is to be funneled through Thailand, as part of a $1.5 billion package for the region.
Subcommittee Chairman Stephen J. Solarz (D-N.Y.), sponsor of the Cambodia measure, said he was responding to a public request last month from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for help "to compel the Vietnamese to come to the negotiating table."
Solarz said it was "a small but significant contribution to demonstrate that the United States is willing to put its money where its mouth is" in supporting noncommunist Cambodians and "to send a signal to the Vietnamese" that the international community remains concerned about the fate of Cambodia.
Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) opposed the measure, calling it "something unprecedented: interventionism without executive sanction."
He said in an interview that U.S. history proved that $5 million would have no military effect but would give rise to "unrealistic expectations of American support" among the resistance fighters.
"I don't sense any desire by the American people for an open-ended commitment to support these forces, even though they are thoroughly the right forces to support in Cambodia today," he said.
The subcommittee also approved a provision, aimed at Pakistan, that would suspend aid to any country "violating export laws" of the United States through transactions involving "material, equipment or technology that contributes significantly to the ability of such country to manufacture a nuclear explosive device."
Authorities recently arrested a Pakistani agent who was trying to export triggering switches for nuclear weapons. The administration requested $651.2 million in military and economic aid to Pakistan this year.
The subcommittee then knocked $75 million off the administration's request for military aid to the Philippines, replacing most of it with economic assistance. Language in the accompanying report specified that the aid was not for President Ferdinand Marcos but for the Philippine people.
"That country is going to hell in a handbasket, and unless there are fundamental political and economic reforms, there's a very good chance the communists will be able to take power by the end of the decade," Solarz said.
Meanwhile, the Senate gave voice-vote approval to a bill authorizing $175 million in emergency nonfood aid for drought-ravaged countries in Africa.