President Bush met with top aides yesterday to discuss a smaller package of new weapons for Saudi Arabia than the $21 billion proposal urged a week ago by the Department of Defense, according to administration officials who said the package will be discussed this morning with congressional leaders.

Bush's move to accommodate congressional concerns over the Saudi arms sale came as the White House also indicated it would accept legislation introduced by top Senate Democrats and Republicans to block the Pentagon from spending foreign contributions to the U.S. troop deployments in Saudi Arabia without independent scrutiny.

In a speech prepared for the Senate floor, Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) said the legislation was intended to head off the Defense Department's proposal to create "a huge defense slush fund" formed from cash contributions intended to help defray U.S. expenses in the Persian Gulf.

In Baghdad yesterday, Iraq's information minister, Latif Nassif Jassim, told visiting Jordanian journalists that Iraq would destroy all oil fields in the Persian Gulf if war broke out, Reuter reported.

The minister said "Iraq's strategic plan if it is attacked militarily is to . . . use all weapons at its disposal," an apparent allusion to potential use of the nation's extensive arsenal of chemical arms.

In North Carolina, more than 100 American women and children arrived aboard a jetliner from Iraq. An additional 300 American citizens and their foreign-born family members were flown yesterday from Kuwait to Baghdad aboard a U.S.-chartered plane expected to proceed to London before returning to the United States.

Costs of the American deployment continued to mount as the Pentagon yesterday called up 7,000 more reservists to support Operation Desert Shield. The activation of units in five states brings the total number of Army and Air Force reservists involved in the operation to 21,653, the Defense Department said, roughly half the reserve forces expected to be called to active duty in the operation. the White House said Iraq officials who want U.S. television networks to broadcast a videotaped speech by President Saddam Hussein could give it to the media themselves. State Department spokesman Margaret Tutwiler said Iraq's ambassador, Mohamed Mashat, was advised to deal with individual media outlets if Saddam wants to air a message here. "We are not marketing agents," she said.

On the proposed Saudi arms transfer, a senior administration official said Bush's meeting with congressional leaders will be an effort not only to update them on the gulf situation but also to "listen to their problems {because} . . . we have not done the best job" of consulting on some issues.

The official described the original $21 billion Saudi arms package discussed by the administration as "the Pentagon package," and said Bush heard yesterday "from some {in the administration} who think it's excessive."

The official said the meeting would be used to help build support for the Saudi arms sale and a proposal to forgive a $7 billion Egyptian debt for past arms purchases, which administration officials have urged in response to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's role in the campaign against Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

Fred Dutton, a Washington representative of the Saudi government, said yesterday that the kingdom is determined to obtain all the arms it needs for its long-term security, and will purchase arms elsewhere if Congress and the administration do not approve the full request.

Congressional concern about a potential "slush fund" from foreign contributions arose last Friday, when the administration proposed a $1.9 billion emergency spending bill to cover Desert Shield that would allow the defense secretary to use the money only with the approval of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Congressional sources described the legislation introduced yesterday by Byrd and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) as "insurance." It would require gifts of money to be deposited in a special Treasury Department account that could not be touched without congressional approval.

The bill would repeal a 1954 law that allows gifts to the government outside the usual appropriations channel. Legislators have complained that it was intended mainly to allow patriotic Americans to make small gifts, not for billion-dollar contributions toward a major U.S. military action.

Defense Secretary Richard B. Cheney told members of the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday that he wants congressional approval to receive the contributions "on an expedited basis," without routine transfer through the Treasury Department or the General Services Administration. He also sought flexibility to receive "in-kind" contributions such as fuel, water, billets and the use of other facilities from Saudi and Arab governments.

The proposed legislation would grant broad flexibility to the secretary of defense to use "in kind" gifts but he would have to file a quarterly report describing all property received with a value exceeding $1 million.

Foreign governments have pledged roughly $20 billion to support the United Nations-sanctioned military and trade actions in both cash and "in-kind" contributions, divided fairly equally between the United States and nations in the region whose economies are being threatened.

Elsewhere yesterday, Saddam said in a published interview that his nation was willing to fight a protracted conflict to preserve its stake in Kuwait. "Who says we are ready to accept a war of few hours?" he said in an interview in the Turkish newspaper Milliyet. "If need be, we will fight for three, four or five or six more years."

U.S. officials disclosed that Iraq has asked Iran to accept shipments of oil through a new pipeline that would be constructed between the two countries in a new effort to break the U.N.-sanctioned embargo.

Intelligence reports reaching Washington indicate that Iran has not yet responded, however, and U.S. officials differed on the likelihood of collaboration between the former military foes and the speed with which the pipeline could be established.

A knowledgeable U.S. official said any pipeline probably would be established between the Iraqi city of Basra and the Iranian city of Abadan, a distance of 25 miles across desert terrain and the Shatt-al-Arab waterway. But officials cautioned that such an overt move would be highly risky.

White House spokesman Roman Popadiuk announced yesterday that Sheik Jabir Ahmed Sabah, the exiled emir of Kuwait whom the United States wants restored to the throne, will meet here with Bush on Sept. 28. The session, he said, will "provide an opportunity to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to Kuwaiti sovereignty and territorial integrity."

The Defense Department also disclosed that a second U.S. serviceman has died in the buildup. The soldier perished when a troop carrier overturned Thursday at an undisclosed site in Saudi Arabia, the Pentagon said. The soldier's name was withheld.

Staff writer Dan Morgan contributed to this report.