Former Sen. Leverett Saltonstall (R-Mass), the reserved the genteel patrician who represented his state in the Senate for 22 years before retiring in 1967, died of congestive heart failure yesterday in his home in Dover, Mass. He was 86.
At the time of his retirement, he was the ranking Republican member of tow of the most powerful committess in the Senate - Appropriations and Armed Services - and exerted a strong influence on national policy.
He spoke little on the Senate floor, but was at his best in conference committees, where his compromise language on controversial bills often carried the day. Elected to the Senate in 1944, Sen. Saltonstall wa sperceived as an Eastern liberal during his early career, but perhaps with rising age, seemed to grow more conservative.
In a 1965 editorial, The Post said that he was "neither a fighting liberal nor a reactionary, but his voice and his vote have usually been on the side of common sense."
During his early years in the Senate, Sen. Saltonstall favored the Bretton Woods agreement, the United Nations charter, and American participation in the international organization. He voted for the European recovery bill in 1948, and the North Atlantic security pact in 1949.
Sen. Saltonstall opposed American involvement in Southeast Asia in 1953, but voted in favor of administration appropriations bills for Vietnam expenditures during the Johnson years.
In domestic legislation, he voted against the expansion of the Tennes-see Valley Authority in the 1940s, favored cuts in nondefense spending in 1950, and helped lead the unsuccessful fight against the St. Lawrence Seaway bull in 1954.
Sen. Saltonstall sat in on White House consulations during the Cuban missile crisis and was a member of the Amercian party that went to Moscow to sign the limited nuclear test ban treaty in 1963.
During the mid-1960s,he heoped write and lead the fight for a GOP alternative to the Democratsh medicare program.
For eight of the years he served as Massachusettsh senior senator, the state's junior senator was John F. Kennedy. When Kennedy entered the Senate in 1953, Sen. Saltonstall was a committee chairman in a Republican administration. Ofr long periods in those early days, Kennedy was in bed with a back injury.
"I put his name on everything I did for Massachusetts while he was sick," Sen. Saltonstall once said, meaning that he saw to it that his junior colleague got equal billing for federal funds going to Massachusetts.
Kennedy gave only mild support to Sen. Saltonstall's 1954 and 1960 opponent, Foster Furcolo, and seemed to limit his opposition to the patrician senator to mild ribbing.
In a speech in Bostion on Oct. 19, 1963, Kennedy evoked a roar of laughter when he mentiond the appearance of Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) earlier that week, when Goldwater was introduced at a Boston GOP% rally by Sen. Saltonstall with the words: "He and I have differed on many problems, but we we respect on another."
"Why," Kennedy exclaimed, "I used to get a better introduction form Sen. Saltonstall when I was in the Senate than that."
Sen. Saltonstall had a lantern jaw and long Yankee face, "a face that hasn't changed in 300 years," according to one writer.
He was descended form Sir Richard Saltonstall, who came to America in 1630. Gov. John Leverett became in the 1600s the first of eight forebears to serve as governors of Massachusetts.
In the 1920s, an uncle was appointed to clean up a Boston scandal. Whn Mayor James Michael Curley called anxiously to find out who the new man was to be, he was told it was Endicott Peaboddy Saltonstall.
"On my gosh, not all three of them!" screamed the Irish boss.
Sen. Saltonstall was Chestnut Hill, Mass., and earned bachelorhs and law degrees at Harvard University.
After serving as an Army artillery officer in France during World War I, he practiced law in Boston.
He served on the board of aldermen of Newton and as an assistand district attorney of Middlesex County beofre winning election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1922.
He served in the state house for 13 years, the last five as speaker. In 1938, Sen. Saltonstall defeated James Michael Curley for the Massachusetts governorship, and won reelection in 1940 and 1942.
From 1939 to 1944, he was chairman of the New England Governors' Conference and was chairman of the National Governors' Conference in 1944.
In 1944, Sen. Saltinstall ran for the Senate seat vacated by Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge (R-Mass), who had redigned from Congress that year to serve in the Army.
Sen. Saltonstall defeated Democrat John H. Corcoran by more than 400,000 votes, and was reelected in 1948 over John I. Fitzgerald.
After retiring from the Senate, Sen. Saltonstall became a gentleman farmer on his Dover estate. He returned to the public eye last November when he endorsed Francis W. Hatch, the Republican's unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate.
Sen. Saltonstall is survived by his wife, the former Alice Wesselhoeft, tow daughters, a son, and 10 granchildren. CAPTION:
Picture 1, LEVERETT SALTONSTALL, AP; Picture 2, Sen. Saltonstall, second from left, at meeting with President Eisenhower and Massachusetts officials.