The cuts in bank interest rates in West Germany, France and the Netherlands earlier this week also will help the United States, Federal Reserve Board Governor Robert Heller said yesterday.

Heller took pains, however, to stress that the European countries were not acting in concert with the United States. He also said he hoped the dollar's value against other currencies would remain stable, but even as he spoke the the U.S. currency was falling in European exchange markets.

Heller's agency controls the underlying conditions that largely determine how much interest banks charge for loans and pay on accounts.

American officials such as Treasury Secretary James A Baker III have encouraged Heller's counterparts in other countries to keep their base interest rates lower than those in the United States, thus encouraging investors around the world to send their money to America.

On Tuesday, the central banks of West Germany, France and the Netherlands cut a variety of rates affecting loans among private banks.

"It's an action that they had to take in their own self-interest," Heller said in an interview on NBC's "Today" program. "They took what was appropriate to maintain price stability and to keep economic growth in the various European countries."

As for its effect on the United States, "Obviously it gives us some more room to maneuver," he said, "but basically it was an action that was taken in Europe."

Heller also defended the Fed from criticism that it made a mistake when it decided earlier this fall to raise the discount rate, which is the interest rate it charges private bankers who need short-term loans from the Fed.

Baker said in a newspaper interview late in October that he believed the Fed should not have raised the discount rate.

"I wouldn't say there was a mistake," Heller said. "At that time there was an inflationary psychology. You're talking about the days before the {stock market} crash, and to counteract those tendencies the Fed had to take that step."

Both interest rates and the value of the dollar are now moving "sideways," he said.

Asked if the dollar's value is stable, he replied: "At the present time, yes. ... Nobody wants the dollar to drop."