Due to an editing error, an article Tuesday stated that the CIA's covert lethal aid to rebel forces in Angola will be suspended if there is a cease-fire in the 15-year civil war there. The suspension of the aid does not hinge on a cease-fire being in place, but on agreement by the Angolan government to accept the cease-fire as well as other conditions.

House and Senate intelligence committee conferees have decided to limit covert lethal aid for Jonas Savimbi's rebel army in Angola and to provide for its quick suspension if there is a cease-fire in the 15-year civil war and firm progress toward free elections.

The restrictions, first enacted by the House last week, were modified in conference after warnings of a possible presidential veto. But administration officials were still uncertain last night whether the compromise would be acceptable.

Lethal aid to Savimbi's National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), sources said, is slightly less than half of the $60 million of covert aid in the classified section of the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act. The conferees said the flow of weapons should be suspended if the Soviet-backed Angolan government is willing to accept a cease-fire and proposes "a reasonable timetable" for free and fair elections and if the Soviet Union indicates it has ceased to provide the regime with lethal aid and has withdrawn its advisers from the region.

The leading sponsor of the suspension plan, Rep. Stephen J. Solarz (D-N.Y.), said in House floor debate last week that it was designed to prod the regime in Luanda to reach a settlement in the war.

The House enacted the Solarz proposal last week with a provision stating that either the president or Congress by joint resolution could certify that the conditions for a suspension had been met. But sources said the conferees dropped the congressional certification language after the State Department said it might recommend a veto.

"The administration is still extraordinarily skeptical of what is going to emerge {in the conference report}," one source said last night. "A lot depends on the fine print."

The conferees also agreed to overhaul the laws governing U.S. covert actions and make the president personally responsible for keeping Congress "fully and currently informed" of U.S. intelligence activities.

The new rules, growing out of the Iran-contra scandal, include several provisions sought by the American Civil Liberties Union, according to informed sources.

One of the changes, sources said, will be to make it clear that any covert action undertaken by the CIA or any other component of the government must be in support of "identifiable foreign policy objectives."

"That has never been in the law before," one source said. For instance, he said, harking back to the Iran-contra scandal, "if our policy is to isolate Iran and not sell them weapons, you couldn't sell them weapons covertly because that would run counter to an identifiable foreign policy objective."

The new rules, approved by the Senate in August and modified by House and Senate intelligence conferees over the weekend, would require written presidential approval of covert actions undertaken by any unit of the government in addition to making it the president's duty to keep Congress informed of his decisions.

Current law, which would be repealed, applies only to the CIA's covert actions and is ambiguous about whether the president must approve them in writing. The existing rules also make it the CIA director's responsibility to keep Congress informed about these and other U.S. intelligence activities.

In their final 1987 report on the Iran-contra scandal, the select House and Senate investigating committees said that "covert actions should be consistent with publicly defined U.S. foreign policy goals." In the Iran-contra affair, the committees said, the covert operation to supply military aid to the contra rebels in Nicaragua "was carried out in violation" of an explicit congressional ban on such aid and the secret arms-for-hostages deals with Iran were carried out "in violation of the country's stated policy against selling arms to Iran or making concessions to terrorists."

The provision requiring that covert actions be in support of identifiable policies is still open to manipulation, several sources said.

"There's always going to be a problem with that -- like saying what you're doing is in support of the containment of communism or the release of hostages or something like that," one source said. The new rule, he said, is "a minor step forward, but a new step."

Broader than current law, the new rules define covert action as activity "conducted by an element of the United States government to influence political, economic or military conditions abroad so that the role of the United States government is not intended to be apparent or acknowledged publicly."

The ACLU and other critics attacked the Senate version in August because it would have "explicitly authorize{d} the conduct of covert activities" for the first time. Sources said the conferees changed this to a negative formulation, saying the president may not authorize such actions unless he finds them "necessary to support identifiable foreign policy objectives" and "important to the national security."

The rules do not define "currently informed," but the Senate and House select intelligence committees say they expect to be notified before the initiation of any covert action except in emergency situations where notice can be withheld for "a few days" after the president decides to act.