THE SENATE is about to consider two measures aimed at promoting peace in Ulster. The first is a revised extradition treaty with Great Britain, which will allow the return of accused and convicted terrorists who have been claiming sanctuary in this country on the grounds that their crimes are "political acts." The treaty was initially opposed by some members of the Foreign Relations Committee who wanted to preserve this country's tradition of providing a haven for revolutionaries and political dissenters. That tradition continues. But those who murder, take hostages, plant bombs and the like will now be returned to Great Britain if an American court finds that there is probable cause for a warrant, that the accused is not being persecuted because of his religion, nationality or political opinions, and that he will receive a fair trial. The committee vote to send the treaty to the floor was a solid 15-to-2, so there should be little delay in getting the full Senate to consent to ratification.
SK The other half of the Ulster package takes the form of foreign aid. Immediately after the Foreign Relations Committee approved the extradition treaty, it also reported a bill authorizing $20 million in grants and some additional loan guarantees for projects in Northern Ireland and in some border areas in the Irish Republic. If you question the sending of such assistance to two members of the Common Market with strong economies and much more generous social safety nets than this country's, keep in mind that the companion bill the House passed on March 11 would have authorized grants of $250 million. All this came about because over a number of years a series of American political leaders has given assurances that the United States supported efforts to secure peace in Northern Ireland and was willing to help once an agreement had been reached. Thus the pact signed last November between Great Britain and Ireland triggered a request by the president for $100 million in direct aid.
SK,3 The impact of the Gramm-Rudman543389044foreign aid program was not clear last March when the House acted on the Ulster proposal, but the cuts are turning out to be devastating. Half the money for the program in Northern Ireland -- this year's grant -- will have to come out of funds now slated to go elsewhere. What an irony that to demonstrate our friendship and support to two valued allies the United States may be sending to Western Europe exactly the amount that lawmakers are trying to scrape up for extra help to Haiti, the poorest nation in this hemisphere.