The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted Tuesday to subpoena the private diaries of fired White House aide Oliver L. North after Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said they may prove essential to the panel's investigation of international narcotics smuggling.

The subpoena, which the committee voted 16-1 to issue, calls for North and his attorney, Brendan Sullivan, to produce 2,848 pages of diary notes with no deletions of any kind.Kerry said that of that total, 1,269 pages have been heavily edited or censored by covering the contents of copies of the diary pages with heavy black ink.

He said the pages are studded with intriguing references to narcotics, to Kerry's own ongoing investigation, and to possible links to anti-Sandinista Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

Meanwhile, North and his Iran-Contra co-defendants are on a collision course with a federal judge, as they argue for dismissal of the case on grounds that evidence was gathered illegally.

A pretrial hearing Monday began on a sour note for the defense team, when U.S. District Judge Gerhard A. Gesell ruled defense lawyers violated his ground rules for the hearing and would be barred from presenting any witnesses.