The article ``Memories of '56 remain sharp in Hungary today'' [Nov. 4], and the 30th anniversary of the Hungarian revolt, recall an immobilized and frustrated United States leadership, helplessly witnessing the dismemberment of something we in the West seemingly value and esteem: freedom. What if an internal revolt in the USSR proved so successful that the Soviet regime was actually in danger of collapse? Wouldn't the US be faced with the same dilemma it faced in 1956 with Hungary? In view of the coupling effect and implications of our present-day offensive nuclear deterrence (mutual assured destruction), a destabilized USSR would be dangerous to the US.
Under the present system of offensive deterrence, the US is inextricably linked to the USSR. A system of defensive deterrence, such as the Strategic Defense Initiative, would unchain and decouple us and our prospective destinies. David C. Benton Research Associate Natl. Security Program JFK School of Govt. Harvard University Cambridge, Mass.
Ridgway not first It will not, I think, detract significantly from Rozanne Ridgway's record to point out that Ambassador Ridgway was not, as your story says, ``... the first US woman career officer to land a European embassy'' [``This woman thrives in a `man's world' at State,'' Nov. 6].
Frances Elizabeth Willis served as ambassador to Switzerland from 1953 to 1957 and to Norway from 1957 to 1961. She served as ambassador to Sri Lanka from 1961 to 1964. Her exceptional career in the Foreign Service was crowned by her appointment to the rank of career ambassador. Leland Barrows Washington
Machel a dictator The article ``Mozambique's political agenda riddled with uncertainties,'' Nov. 3, states that Samora Machel ``... was no Western democrat. But neither was he a dictator.''
Unfortunately, evidence points to the contrary. Shortly after taking control of Mozambique, Frelimo, the political party of Machel, introduced forced labor and pass cards for international travel. Also, religious life was denounced as Bibles and other religious works were burned. Churches were taken over, soldiers would interrupt services and prevent baptisms, and Machel himself entered mosques uttering profanities.
Besides nationalizing everything, Machel killed thousands of his own countrymen, placed people in ``reeducation'' camps. And he placed Mozambique firmly inside the Soviet camp. Eileen Hendrickson New Wilmington, Pa.