Charles Percy: Still Focused on Peace

Marjorie Wallace writes: ''Illinois had an illustrious statesman, Sen. Charles Percy. I heard he is with a 'think tank' in Washington. True?''

AT the height of the cold war, Sen. Charles Percy (R) exhorted President Reagan to deal more directly with the USSR on arms control. We've got to ''figure out a way not to blow each other up,'' the then-chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee told Mr. Reagan.

But in 1984, after 18 years in the Senate, Mr. Percy became the third successive Foreign Relations chair ousted by voters back home. Then he tried taking his own advice. After turning down Reagan's offer of ambassador to India, he started an international-trade consulting firm because history shows that ''political alliances follow along the trade routes,'' he said in a recent interview. Today he aims to boost trade - and peace - in two global hot spots: the India-Pakistan region and the Mideast. He plans his 70th trip to India this year. He and Mrs. Percy live in Washington, D.C., where ''eight of our nine grandchildren'' also reside.

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