Secretary of State George P. Shultz has "a number of major concerns" with foreign-aid legislation scheduled for consideration today by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and some of them could sink the bill, Shultz indicated in a letter to the committee yesterday.
The four-page letter to Chairman Dante B. Fascell (D-Fla.) and its quarter-inch-thick attachments detail arguments that Republican committee members are likely to make in seeking to restore cuts and remove restrictions imposed by various subcommittees on the administration's $14.8 billion package. A copy was provided to The Washington Post.
"We strongly oppose the adoption of language that would place restrictions on the sale of sophisticated weapons to Jordan" until Jordan agrees to recognize Israel and to open direct peace talks, Shultz wrote.
President Reagan last year threatened to veto the foreign-aid bill over a similar ban that passed the House, and Congress backed down, converting the ban to a nonbinding resolution. But pro-Israel Democrats in the subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East pushed the measure through again last week.
The letter also uses the phrase "strongly oppose" in referring to a proposed ban from the western hemisphere affairs subcommittee on introduction of U.S. troops "into or over the countries of Central America for combat." That section also repeats a House effort that wound up as a nonbinding resolution last year.
"The administration has repeatedly made clear that it has no intention to introduce combat forces into Nicaragua or El Salvador," Shultz wrote. "Nevertheless, every administration needs . . . a full range of possible actions it can take."
Shultz singled out aid cuts proposed for the Philippines, Turkey and Pakistan for special concern.
The subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East slashed $75 million from the administration's $100 million military aid request for the Philippines, shifting most of it to economic aid. "This drastic change in the 'mix' virtually ignores the gravity of the growing communist insurgency in the Philippines," Shultz wrote.
The same subcommittee reduced military aid to Turkey and increased economic assistance "in light of little programmatic justification," Shultz wrote. A $25 million cut in aid to Pakistan "breaks an important commitment and sends the wrong signal at the wrong time on Afghanistan," he said. Pakistan is under increasing pressure from the Soviet Union because of its support for Afghan rebels.
Shultz said he is "disturbed" by the Africa subcommittee's reduction in aid to Zaire from $6.4 million to $4 million and by new controls on distribution of southern Africa funding, particularly in South Africa.
He said it was "distressing" to see the Western Hemisphere's $255 million in overall aid cuts, particularly in Central America, where "our efforts to improve the security of our friends would be seriously hampered."
The attachments said the cut would hurt El Salvador's military training and in Honduras would "eliminate the air defense . . . needed to cope with the increased Nicaraguan air capability."
The attachments argued that a provision banning funds for antigovernment rebels in Nicaragua is "gratuitous and unnecessary" because the administration requests no money for them in the foreign aid bill and has never diverted any from it to that purpose in the past.
The letter added that a renewed requirement for semiannual presidential certification of progress towards human rights goals in El Salvador is "counterproductive" and would "create uncertainty about the constancy of U.S. policy."