Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) has introduced a plan to "abolish the State Department as it is now known." At a press conference, Helms said merging or eliminating up to nine foreign affairs agencies could save up to $6 billion by the year 2000. "Over the past four decades, key foreign policy functions have been spun off into a constellation of money absorbing, incoherent satellites," he added. TIME Washington correspondent Sandy Burton says the senator repeatedly invoked the philosophical support of Secretary of State Warren Christopher, who proposed his own streamlining plan earlier this year. But Burton says State Department officials received Helms' proposals coolly, in part because they believe his ideas are isolationist. "Getting rid of the (Agency for International Development) program as we know it implies a retreat back into the shell," Burton says.