Action on Holbrooke Urged

Three senators, led by Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner (R-Va.), called on Republican leaders yesterday to stop blocking action on the nomination of Richard C. Holbrooke to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

"Holds" have been placed on the nomination by several Republicans, including Majority Leader Trent Lott (Miss.) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.), chairman of the Republicans' campaign committee, who are trying to pressure President Clinton to accept their candidate for a seat on the Federal Election Committee.

Warner said a "very powerful voice" is urgently needed at the United Nations because of risks to NATO troops by confusion over restoration of civilian government in Kosovo, which is technically under U.N. control. Warner was joined by Sens. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), himself a former U.N. ambassador.

More Anti-Drug Funds Sought

White House anti-drug chief Barry R. McCaffrey, citing an "explosion" of cocaine production in Colombia, wants Congress to add $1 billion to current anti-drug outlays of $256 million, a government official said.

In a letter to Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, McCaffrey asked for her support to enhance air interdiction and field operations in southern Colombia. He said CIA estimates show sharp increases in cocaine production and opium cultivation.

Without acknowledging the $1 billion price tag, McCaffrey told a news conference that the situation in Colombia was an "emergency."

"I think the support we have given Colombia today is inadequate to deal with the enormous internal threats they are facing," he said.

Apparently seeing the situation differently, the Senate recently cut $80 million from the initial administration request of $295 million. McCaffrey called that a "bad signal."

Cisneros Jury Might Hear Tapes

The federal judge in former housing secretary Henry Cisneros's upcoming conspiracy trial indicated he likely will allow jurors to hear some -- but not all -- of the taped conversations between Cisneros and his ex-lover.

Fretting that some of the tapes secretly recorded by Linda Jones show signs of heavy editing, U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin told the special prosecutors: "Some of this is going out as far as I'm concerned."

But he also suggested that he is likely to permit independent counsel David M. Barrett to use some of the 26 tapes.

The recordings are central to prosecutors' contention that Cisneros, while he was being considered for the Cabinet job in 1993, conspired with Jones and others to conceal the scope of his financial support for her.

The recordings, made as the relationship soured, captured conversations in which Jones and Cisneros discussed his payments to her -- and his characterization of those payments to the Clinton transition team and the FBI agents conducting his Cabinet background check.

The trial is scheduled to start Sept. 7.