PARIS, JAN. 22 -- The European Parliament, reflecting the dismay felt across Europe over Moscow's military crackdown on the secessionist Baltic republics, today blocked $1 billion in food aid from going to the Soviet Union.

The suspension of the food aid, which had been approved by European heads of government in Rome last month, was the toughest protest action yet taken by the Europeans -- who have been reluctant to antagonize Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and hurt his chances of staying in power.

Parliament members voted in Strasbourg with a unanimous show of hands to block the package after a number of insisted that a signal must be sent to Moscow that business as usual cannot proceed while force is used against the independence movements in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

"The repression in the Baltics has made impossible an immediate decision by the Parliament," said Alain Lamoussoure, chairman of its budget committee.

At the Rome meeting, European leaders had endorsed Gorbachev's efforts toward political and economic change and approved the aid as a goodwill gesture to shore up the Soviet leader's stature and alleviate food shortages.

Most European governments have been trying to sustain relations with Moscow in the aftermath of the Baltic crackdown on the basis that Gorbachev still represents their best hope of building a new era of East-West cooperation and preventing Soviet civil war.

Germany has insisted on maintaining good relations with Moscow, in part because it does not want to provoke a crisis while more than 350,000 Soviet troops still remain on former East German territory.

France and Germany announced today that their foreign ministers would launch a joint appeal to the Kremlin to refrain from force and to revive a dialogue with the elected governments of the Baltic republics.

France also wants to encourage the Soviets to use the 34-nation Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe as a forum to resolve the crisis. A meeting to discuss human rights among the CSCE members is already scheduled for Moscow this year, and French officials want it to focus on the issue of Baltic independence.

But other European Community members, notably Britain and Denmark, have been demanding a tougher attitude toward what British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd has called a reversion to "Stalinist tactics" by Soviet authorities.

The European Community warned Moscow last week after Soviet troops killed 13 civilians and wounded more than 200 in Lithuania that violent tactics to suppress Baltic freedom movements would endanger relations with the West. After Soviet troops killed four more people in Latvia Sunday, punitive action became inevitable, European officials said.

On Monday, the community canceled a meeting set for later this week with Soviet specialists to discuss trade and cooperation in a number of fields, including science and technology, banking and agriculture. No new date has been set.

The 518-member European Parliament, which is largely an advisory body but which holds veto power over most EC foreign aid, acted despite an appeal by the community's external affairs commissioner to release the food aid to Moscow on humanitarian grounds.

The Parliament is to decide at its meeting Feb. 18 if the aid package should proceed. It consists of $340 million in emergency food aid and $680 million in credits for Soviet food purchases from Europe.

{In Chicago, commodities traders quoted by the Reuter news agency said that the Soviet Union was moving swiftly to buy corn, wheat, soy meal and poultry with $1 billion in U.S. credit approved last month by President Bush. Several congressmen have said the credit should be revoked to protest actions in the Baltics.}