Effi Barry, who has lashed out in recent televised interviews at those she believes are her husband's adversaries, says she was snubbed in 1979 when Bennetta Washington, the wife of former mayor Walter E. Washington, refused to meet with her to discuss her duties as the District's first lady.

"The first year . . . was horrendous for me," Barry said in the fourth and final segment of the two-hour interview that was taped last Friday for WRC-TV (Channel 4). "I had made several attempts to meet with my predecessor but she chose not to meet with me, so I had to kind of fumble around to get an idea of what does it mean to be the first lady of the capital city of the western world."

Bennetta Washington, whose husband was unseated by Marion Barry in a close, three-way race in 1978, disputed Effi Barry's account in an interview with The Washington Post yesterday and said she was surprised by such comments.

"I prefer not to get into this foolishness, but I did not decline {to meet with her}," Bennetta Washington said. The former first lady said she does not recall ever being asked to meet with her successor. "We tried to leave everything in order for her.

"I have a great deal of concern for this city -- I have lived here all my life," she said. "I would never stand in the way of information {for others}. I have been available if called upon, but not to intrude."

Relations between the two families generally have been cool in private but cordial in public, according to city politicians. The Washingtons and Barrys often have been perceived as representing sharply different political and social sectors of the city -- with the former mayor identified with the old-line middle-class professionals of Washington, and Barry at the time of his election in 1978 associated with a newly arrived activist element.

Effi Barry was unavailable for comment yesterday. The mayor's office said she left the District yesterday with an aide, Stephanie Greene, on a six-day trip to the Netherlands for the International World Flower Day festival in Amsterdam.

The mayor's office said the trip was being paid for by the International Flower Bulb Center in Amsterdam, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and the public relations firm of Hill and Knowlton, and that no government funds were involved. Effi Barry was among first ladies of 10 capital cities invited to the event. She is expected to return with bulbs to plant in city parks as part of World Flower Bulb Day here.

In yesterday's televised segment, the mayor's wife told reporter Barbara Harrison that she feels she does not have any close friends, is under constant scrutiny of the media and was deeply hurt by news media reports of her mother's arrest in an arson case in Prince George's County.

"I felt so helpless -- to have your mother completely humiliated . . . . It was all politically motivated . . . to get at the mayor," Barry said, though she declined to identify her antagonists. "I felt such pain . . . . I've been reared to believe that you respect mothers."

Polly Lee Harris, Effi Barry's mother, pleaded guilty to one count of arson in June and agreed to pay $4,480 to cover damages.

The mayor said in an interview Saturday that he knew his wife was doing the interview, but had not asked her what she planned to say. Aides to the mayor, who said they learned of the interview only after it was over, have privately worried that the excerpts broadcast since Friday have served to keep the public focused on Barry's problems.

In the interview broadcast yesterday, Effi Barry said she believes her husband's description of his relationship with Karen Johnson as "nonintimate" and said that Johnson "for the sake of her own dignity" should have left town. She also attacked U.S. Attorney Joseph E. diGenova, who is leading the federal probes of the Barry administration, for waging "war," and accused the news media of being out to get her husband.

Harrison, the early morning news anchor for WRC-TV, said yesterday that the mayor's wife consented to the interview last week after news reports that $1,500 used to pay for an outstanding fur bill may have come from the mayor's ceremonial fund.