Resurrecting East-Bloc Pride

My husband and I were struck by the clarion note of the Opinion page article "Learning to Do Business in Former USSR," Feb. 24. It brought back - painfully - experiences we had in Bulgaria not long ago. We were privileged to spend some time in that country under the auspices of the Citizen Democracy Corps - an organization formed by George Bush to enlist the American private sector in aiding the transition of former East-bloc countries to a free market economy.

We observed the arrogance of the Americans in our group - our own ignorance not to be excluded. Like the Russian people, the Bulgarians are proud people, with much to be proud of. Their problems are too complex for simplistic thinking, and their culture is too rich and deep-rooted to be treated with an air of Western superiority.

Indeed, an institute for the training of those who want to work with the newly independent states would be a wise step for the Clinton administration. Earlene Asher, Nickerson, Kan. Peccadilloes in the press

The editorial "Gossip's Corrosive Influence," Feb. 23, suggests that the issues in J. Edgar Hoover's "long controversial career" were "the abuse of privacy by law enforcement agencies and the acquisition of personal power by unelected officials." The personal peccadilloes of Mr. Hoover's private life should be interred with his bones. But the issues here are not those suggested in the editorial. Under Hoover, the failure of the FBI to address the prosecution of organized crime constituted explicit dereli ction of duty. Even more heinous was not a circumscribed invasion of privacy but repeated, single-minded unlawful attacks on civil rights in the ostensible pursuit of law and order.

When the FBI, under any director, becomes corrupt to the point of dereliction of duty and subversion of civil rights, then our constitutional guarantees are themselves in jeopardy. Ralph K. Meister,,Aurora, Ill.

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