The allies of the United States this week promised more money to cover the cost of the war in the Persian Gulf, bringing to $30 billion the amount pledged to ease the U.S. financial burden.

New pledges of $9 billion from Japan, $13.5 billion from Kuwait and $1 billion from Germany appear to be aimed at assuaging concerns among the American public and members of Congress that the allies have not been shouldering their fair share of the military or financial responsibility for the war against Iraq, even though those countries would receive much of the benefit of stable oil prices presumed to be one result of an allied victory.

Earlier in the week, House Budget Committee Chairman Leon E. Panetta (D-Calif.) said: "The costs of the war should be shared fairly.

"The real test of the 'New World Order' is going on now in the Persian Gulf. If 95 percent of the military burden and 95 percent of the costs fall on the United States, the New World Order is more myth than reality," he said.

Panetta suggested that allied contributions should be determined by a formula based on the countries' economic strengths and the benefits they derive from preventing Iraq from controlling the region's oil supply. "You can't take simply a tin-cup approach," Panetta said.

There were suggestions this week that the Bush administration is using a formula to solicit funds from overseas. Various sources suggested the formula might be based on a $45 billion cost estimate for the war, 20 percent of which would be covered by the United States, 20 percent by Japan and 60 percent by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Persian Gulf states.

The Bush administration yesterday refused to describe its fund-raising goals, but State Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler yesterday did elaborate somewhat.

"The United States is obviously not just at random picking numbers out of the sky," she said. "So the United States is asking for specific numbers based on what the United States believes the United States needs for this alliance."

The question of who pays the cost of the war not only has diplomatic implications but will have a very real impact on the strained budget of the federal government, already groaning under the weight of a deficit of more than $300 billion.

Money contributed by foreign governments will be deposited in a Defense Cooperation Fund established at the Treasury by the Defense Authorization Act last year to pay for the war. The administration will still have to ask Congress for a supplemental appropriation for the entire amount the U.S. military spends, but the contributions will count against that total, leaving less of a bill for U.S. taxpayers.

Kuwait has been the largest cash contributor so far, and the most prompt in making good on its pledges. In addition, the country's ambassador to Washington has appeared sensitive to the cost the United States will pay in American lives to free his homeland from Iraqi occupation. In announcing plans to give $13.5 billion in addition to the $5 billion Kuwait has already given, half to the United States and half to other countries, Kuwaiti Ambassador Sheikh Saud Nasir Sabah said, "We believe this is a small and insignificant contribution {compared} to the contribution our friends in the United States have made, not just in financial but in human resources."

Saudi Arabia may turn out to be the biggest contributor of all, but its contributions have largely been in the form of petroleum products used to fuel allied planes, tanks and trucks, as well as other support for the massive force arrayed in the Saudi deserts. As of Jan. 17, the Saudi government had also given the United States $760 million in cash.

Even before its new pledge of $9 billion, Japan had been the second largest cash contributor to the financial cost of the war effort. It had promised $2 billion, but much of that was to be received "in kind" through the donation of light trucks and other nonmilitary items. The new pledge will be given entirely in cash, Japan said, once a bill passes the Diet, the Japanese parliament.

Next to these, Germany's contributions look small, many lawmakers say. After a week of virtual silence about the war, Chancellor Helmut Kohl's government yesterday moved to stem allied criticism. It increased its contribution by more than $1 billion, for a total of about $3.6 billion.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hanns Schumacher said the new funds include a previously announced $167 million in humanitarian aid to Israel and $114 million for the British military. The new figures do not include a multibillion-dollar contribution that Kohl this week said he will give to the United States. Formal announcement of that package is not expected until next month.

One issue raised by lawmakers has been whether U.S. allies have been slack in delivering the money, what one congressional budget adviser called a "check is in the mail" approach. As of Jan. 2, the United States had received only $4.56 billion in cash, even though allies' promised contributions were much higher.

Even these contributions will not placate all critics. Sen. Timothy E. Wirth (D-Colo.) said "oil producing countries have reaped enormous windfall profits in the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion. How much of this is being channeled to support Operation Desert Shield?" Wirth even belittled Japan's $9 billion pledge as little more than enough to cover nine days' combat.

But others appeared appreciative. President Bush said he was "very pleased with the cooperation and participation from foreign countries." He said Japan had "stepped up to the plate" and added "we salute that."

"If you start putting all these things together, especially if the Saudis are serious in saying that their checkbook is open, I would say we are getting the most extraordinary extent of burden sharing since the Second World War," said Gordon Adams, a military analyst at the Defense Budget Project. Adams noted that foreign allies have never carried more than 42 percent of the cost of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Staff writer John E. Yang contributed to this story from Washington and correspondent Marc Fisher from Bonn.