The House must decide whether to go along with a Senate vote to reinstate Oliver North's

$23,000 annual pension, revoked after he was sentenced for illegally shredding documents in the Iran-Contra scandal."Let the vendetta end," said Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., whose bill to restore North's pension was approved by the Senate late Thursday on a 78-17 vote. "Ollie North has been punished enough."

But despite that plea, the debate over whether to give North back his retirement pay dredged up bitter partisan feelings stemming from President Reagan's efforts - with North in a key role - to evade congressional restrictions and fund the Contra war in Nicaragua.

"We are asked to bend the law for someone who broke the law," said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. "North's defense was that he was just following orders. But we settled that issue at Nuremberg," a reference to trials of Nazis involved in World War II atrocities.

The issue now goes to the House, where similar legislation has been introduced.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph Biden, D-Del., said he would vote to put North in jail if he could. But he dropped his opposition to the retirement-pay measure after Helms modified it to apply not just to North but to any military officer who may later be convicted of shredding documents.

"Even a felon deserves equal treatment under the law," Biden said.

Sen. Paul Simon, D-Ill., protested that the measure wrongly trespassed across constitutional grounds.

"We should not change that sentence any more than we should for Zsa Zsa Gabor," Simon said.

North, a Marine lieutenant colonel, lost his retirement pay after he was sentenced July 5 to 1,200 hours of community service and a $150,000 fine on three felony counts. He is appealing the convictions.

One of the counts, shredding government documents, stipulates that anyone convicted "forfeit his office."

The General Accounting Office ruled North's status as a retired military officer came under that provision and that forfeiting his office meant he no longer qualified for retirement pay. The case marked the first time the 15-year-old law had been applied to revoke a pension.

"We should never have come to this point," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. "This has been a terrible injustice. GAO has done a lousy job of legal analysis. There's a wrong here that has to be righted."