By WILLIAM E. FARRELL
Special to The New York Times
WASHINGTON, Dec. 2--Are they boondoggles for junketing politicians and possibly a device for meddling in the affairs of foreign countries? Or are they mechanisms by which the two major political parties can overtly export the best of the United States political process without the clandestine covers that were such an embarrassment in the past?
Such questions are at the core of a dispute over two new federally fin- anced institutes, one affiliated with the Democratic National Committee, the other with the Republican National Committee.
The two organizations are the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the National Republican Institute for International Affairs. Both are part of the, a foundation created by Congress in 1983 and sponsored by the Reagan Administration to foster and support democratic institutions abroad.
Two other organizations are also part of the endowment: the Free
Trade Union Institute, which is affiliated with the A.F.L.-C.I.O., and
the Center for International Private Enterprise, affiliated with the
Chamber of Commerce of the United States.
The overall thrust of the program is to "complement and supplement" the work of Government, with the institutes organizing such activities as conferences on democratic development.
But the Republican and Democratic institutes both were denied funds for the fiscal year 1985 because of Democratic and Republican mis- givings in Congress about channeling Federal money to organizations with close ties to major political parties.
The two institutes are existing on an initial Federal grant of $1.5 million each. The arguments against further financing include suspicions that the institutes were inexperienced in international matters and, because of their political party ties, would become "a home for political hacks," as one official connected with the project summarized the criticism.
Supporters of the institutes are expected to try to persuade Congress
to change its mind when it convenes in January, but some are skeptical
about the chances of renewed financing at a time when the legislators
will be dealing with proposed budget cuts and trims in Federal
These advocates contend that Congressional opponents have been unduly cynical about the goals of the two institutes and have been unwilling to listen to the designs of "a program that takes two hours to explain and two minutes to trash," as one ally put it in the last session of Congress.
The legislation creating the states that it "is not an agency or establishment of the United States Government" and that one of its purposes is "to facilitate exchanges between United States private sector groups (especially the two major American political parties, labor and business) and democratic groups abroad."
John P. Loiello, executive director of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, said the institutes hoped to model themselves after the political party foundations created in West Germany 20 years ago. Those organizations have extensive foreign outreach programs.
Crucial to the institutes' programs is that all activities be open
and public and avoid efforts like those of the 1950's and 1960's in
which United States intelligence agencies used other programs for a
cover and tried to proselytize abroad.
One of the leading Congressional critics of the entire program is Representative Hank Brown, Republican of Colorado. In October Mr. Brown asked the Government Accounting Office to ascertain whether the two institutes had already received more money than they were entitled to and to halt their use of current funds until the question was resolved.
"There's an awful lot of bipartisan opposition in both chambers," said Jerry Martin, legislative assistant to Mr. Brown. "There is skepticism about the endowment in general. There's a question of propriety of the way we want public funds used."
Next year Congress will be presented with reauthorization legislation for the National Endowment for Democracy and its subgroupings that will provide the legislators with a chance to review the concept, structure and aims of the organizations receiving Federal funds.
"We're optimistic," Mr. Loiello said in an interview. "We're going
to talk to Congress and show by our works we're not irresponsible."
(text of December 3, 1984 New York Times article)
COPIES OF THIS WERE INCLUDED IN A JANUARY 5, 1985 LETTER TO THEN-PRIME
MINISTER OF CANADA BRIAN MULRONEY AND THE FEBRUARY 7, 1985 REGISTERED
LETTER TO U.S. SENATOR EDWARD KENNEDY.)
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