Yesterday, New York's wealthy builder-developer Donald Trump spent nearly $100,000 to have published in triplicate an open letter on his foreign policy views in The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Boston Globe. And wouldn't you know, speculation followed almost immediately that he is running for president. He says no. "I just have a great interest in the future of this country."

Trump, the 41-year-old powerhouse, is concerned about the money the United States is spending in defense of Persian Gulf oil that benefits other nations. He said yesterday he is "tired of watching the U.S. get ripped off by so many foreign countries." And he specifically mentioned Japan and Saudi Arabia. "We're bringing Japan's oil out so they can kick hell out of Chrysler and Ford," he added. He said he has talked to several people in this administration, and still can't understand what they're doing.

Out and About

Entertainer Johnny Carson has picked on nearly everyone at one time or another, but when he decided to make jokes about dentists, one Long Island dentist was not amused at all. He complained, and then Carson read Dr. Michael Mendelson's letter demanding an apology on television last April with such added jokes as "Mike, you're a member of a privileged profession. There are only two groups of professionals that spend their working days watching water go round and round in a little bowl -- dentists and men's room attendants ... There's one new advance dentists should try for themselves: breath mints ... The only thing that smells worse than a dentist's breath is riding in a car pool with six wet grizzly bears." Mendelson is now much angrier and is suing. He says he "suffered emotional grief" from the jokes and wants $5 million compensation. Carson will undoubtedly have more to say about dentists ...

Television talk show host Phil Donahue is still holding to his principles about not crossing picket lines of striking NBC employes in New York City. Until the strike is settled, Donahue says he will tape his show at Channel 49 in Stamford, Conn. When Donahue first took the show to Connecticut in July he praised striking technicians, editors, artists and writers employed by the network and criticized General Electric, NBC's owner, for not meeting the union demands ...

It is possible that the late actor Lee Marvin will be buried in Arlington Cemetery. Marvin, a World War II Marine veteran with a Purple Heart for wounds in combat, is eligible for burial in the cemetery. His wife Pamela has been in contact with cemetery officials, but hasn't made a decision yet because friends are advising her to have him buried in Hollywood ...

Hospital Report: Actor Gregory Harrison, who played Dr. "Gonzo" Gates on the now defunct television series "Trapper John, M.D.," joins that long list of celebrities who have been treated at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Harrison, who stars in a new surfing movie, "North Shore," was released from the center yesterday where he had undergone four weeks of treatment for an undisclosed chemical dependency ...

Norman Kean is the producer of the long-running musical "Oh Calcutta!" That's the show that brought legitimate theater nudity to Broadway, where it has been running for 19 years. Kean, however, doesn't like it that people are nude-sunbathing in front of his East Hampton, N.Y., home and has asked the town board to post "No Parking" signs where bathers often change clothes. Seeing no inconsistency in his request, Kean said, "Business is business and pleasure is pleasure" ...

Fellow actors still make a point of sending telegrams to fellow entertainers beginning a long run. Veteran performer Robert Goulet opened his run in the role of the French planter Emile de Becque in "South Pacific" Tuesday at Wolf Trap and received telegrams of support from Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Julie Andrews, Roddy McDowall, Angie Dickinson and Jane Powell. But the most colorful was from the great impersonator Rich Little, who wrote that if Goulet had any problems, he should let him know. "As you know, I do you better than you do and I do it cheaper" ...