U.S. May Use Loophole in Contra Aid Bill

Associated Press

The Reagan Administration expects to take advantage of a minor change in the new humanitarian aid package for the Nicaraguan Contras to institute a series of non-military training programs designed to make the insurgents more self-sufficient.

The aid program that expired Friday permitted the Administration to use the $17.7-million package only for food, clothing, medical services and shelter. The new $27-million, six-month package signed into law by President Reagan on Saturday calls for assistance in the same four areas, but the word only has been deleted, permitting the Administration greater flexibility in how the money is spent.

U.S. officials, insisting on anonymity, said they envision U.S.-sponsored “skills training” in areas ranging from radio maintenance to record keeping, human rights and health care.