Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Seeking Foreign Aid Shift to Advance Policy Anti-Communist Effort Downplayed

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Seeking Foreign Aid Shift to Advance Policy Anti-Communist Effort Downplayed

Article excerpt

President Bill Clinton's administration seeks to overhaul the nation's foreign aid programs to give the president broad flexibility to use aid to advance his foreign policy goals. The change would jettison programs conceived primarily to combat communism.

Under the new plan, foreign aid would be used to advance such broad policy objectives as promoting democracy, encouraging free trade and combating terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

Aid to Israel and Egypt - historically the largest recipients of U.S. assistance - would be protected, and plans to help finance Russia's move toward a free market economy would be preserved.

But otherwise the work of the Agency for International Development, which manages U.S. aid programs, would aim at enhancing "sustainable development" and "promoting peace" rather than supporting individual nations.

Additionally, all foreign aid programs would emphasize population control, environmental protection and improvements in the status of women in developing countries. The planning of aid programs would require "active involvement . . . of potential recipients."

The proposal for the new approach to foreign aid, which seeks to bring all federal agencies with international programs into a coordinated assistance effort, was sent to key members of Congress this week in draft form. A bill to bring about these changes is expected to be introduced next year.

On Capitol Hill, early response to the Clinton administration's initiative was mixed. Some members regard the proposal as a useful starting point, staff aides said, while others already have objected to a provision that would allow the president to waive restrictions on aid to nations suspected of developing nuclear weapons, in particular Pakistan. …

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