Two things need to be said about Michael Massing's account of the work we did last year in behalf of aid to the Nicaraguan resistance {"The Rise and Fall of 'Ollie's Liberals,' " Outlook, June 28}.

First, it was refreshing to see us accurately described as "liberals." One of the current misfortunes of liberalism and Democratic politics is the widespread but mistaken assumption that if you are willing to countenance armed resistance to a Marxist-Leninist police state in Central America, you must be a right-winger. But most of the leaders of the Nicaraguan resistance do not consider themselves conservatives, and the rank and file of the fighters are mostly campesinos whose politics have a democratic and populist hue. Their struggle is one that American liberals can support, and there is a significant group that does.

Mr. Massing is quite wrong, however, in his insinuation that our efforts were conducted at the behest of the Reagan administration. In one paragraph, he even recaptures a style of argument that has not been in fashion since the political scares of a generation past:

"The group's activities highlight the extent to which foreign policy-making in the Reagan administration has been delegated to private individuals. On the military front, people like Richard Secord and Albert Hakim helped set up a covert arms network. In the political sphere, Cameron and his colleagues built congressional support."

The import of this is that the work any of us did in supporting assistance to the resistance was done at the behest of the Reagan administration (it was "delegated" to us); that it somehow violated the rules or spirit of the democratic process (we were part of a "private," i.e., secret network); and that it is fair to associate our efforts with the arms dealing network of Richard Secord and Albert Hakim.

All this, to put it gently, is nonsense. Each of us was involved in one way or another with the struggle for democracy in Nicaragua and elsewhere in Central America before the election of Ronald Reagan. We each believe and have argued publicly that the resistance can succeed in Nicaragua only if the United States supports it openly by legal, democratically accepted means, and that such a policy must have firm bipartisan support in Congress.

We have, inevitably, cooperated at some junctures with the Reagan administration. And we have opposed the administration vigorously at others. We were pleased that there was a substantial group of Democrats in Congress who joined in shaping and voting for a Central American policy that included aid to the resistance.

We have had significant disagreements among ourselves about aspects of U.S. policy in Central America, and probably will when these issues come before Congress once again. But on one point we do agree: there are people in Central America engaged in a brave and honorable struggle for the rights and the dignity of the democratic way of life. They are fighting brutal and tenacious opponents: an anti-democratic right that employs death squads, corruption and economic coercion, and an extremism of the left that is planting on this continent the harsh practices and imperial ambitions of contemporary totalitarianism.

Concern about abuses of our democratic system in the conduct of foreign policy and how these can be prevented is a necessary thing. But the present atmosphere can also, if care is not taken, produce abuses of another kind. The policy differences that arise from the moral and strategic crisis we confront in Central America should be settled on their merits, not by distorting and defaming the motives or activities of one's opponents. BRUCE CAMERON PENN KEMBLE ROBERT LEIKEN Washington