Dessima Williams, a former ambassador from Grenada to the Organization of American States, was arrested last night by agents of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service as she was leaving a forum on "Peace in the Americas" at Howard University.

INS spokesman Greg Leo, who confirmed the arrest early this morning, said a warrant for Williams' arrest was obtained yesterday after immigration officials learned she was to speak at Howard.

Williams "is an illegal alien . . . . without legal status in this country" since Grenada revoked her diplomatic passport, Leo said. He said she may be released on bond after a court hearing today.

Williams, 32, had been named ambassador to the United States as well by Grenada's Marxist Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, whose murder Aug. 12, 1983, set off a bloody power struggle on the island nation that led to the invasion by U.S. troops a year ago yesterday. However, the Reagan administration refused to accept her credentials as ambassador.

Williams went into hiding after Bishop's assasination, but had been living openly here recently in a Dupont Circle apartment, attending American University. She also appeared publicly around the country, making numerous speeches criticizing the U.S. invasion of Grenada and Reagan administration policies.

James Drew, a lawyer who formerly represented Grenada in this country, called Williams' arrest "quite outrageous, coming on the anniversary of the invasion." His office said early this morning that Williams was being held at the Fairfax County Detention Center and she had made her one permitted call to Drew, but had not been told the reason for her arrest.

Michael Maggio, an immigration lawyer who attempted unsuccessfully to contact Williams after her arrest, said "one thing is clear. This is nothing but harassment, a publicity stunt. They certainly knew where she was. She's spoken at well-publicized gatherings here and in New York. They didn't have to take her out of there like a bunch of gestapo." Grenada Ex-Envoy Arrested INS Agents Seize Dessima Williams By Paul Hodge Washington Post Staff Writer

Dessima Williams, a former ambassador from Grenada to the Organization of American States, was arrested last night by agents of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service as she was leaving a forum on "Peace in the Americas" at Howard University.

INS spokesman Greg Leo, who confirmed the arrest early this morning, said a warrant for Williams' arrest was obtained yesterday after immigration officials learned she was to speak at Howard.

Williams "is an illegal alien . . . . without legal status in this country" since Grenada revoked her diplomatic passport, Leo said. He said she may be released on bond after a court hearing today.

Williams, 32, had been named ambassador to the United States as well by Grenada's Marxist Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, whose murder Aug. 12, 1983, set off a bloody power struggle on the island nation that led to the invasion by U.S. troops a year ago yesterday. However, the Reagan administration refused to accept her credentials as ambassador.

Williams went into hiding after Bishop's assasination, but had been living openly here recently in a Dupont Circle apartment, attending American University. She also appeared publicly around the country, making numerous speeches criticizing the U.S. invasion of Grenada and Reagan administration policies.

James Drew, a lawyer who formerly represented Grenada in this country, called Williams' arrest "quite outrageous, coming on the anniversary of the invasion." His office said early this morning that Williams was being held at the Fairfax County Detention Center and she had made her one permitted call to Drew, but had not been told the reason for her arrest.

Michael Maggio, an immigration lawyer who attempted unsuccessfully to contact Williams after her arrest, said "one thing is clear. This is nothing but harassment, a publicity stunt. They certainly knew where she was. She's spoken at well-publicized gatherings here and in New York. They didn't have to take her out of there like a bunch of gestapo."