Through more than a half-century of turbulence and major change in our economic life, Leon H. Keyserling, who died last week, made important contributions to the United States. His government service spanned the Great Depression, World War II and the successful transition from a wartime to a peacetime economy. He applied his economic and legal training at the highest policy levels in both the executive and legislative branches.

In the 1930s as an aide to Sen. Robert Wagner, Keyserling played a key role in revolutionary changes in housing laws and institutions and assisted the senator in fostering a wide range of recovery measures. He was effective in drafting key legislation for wartime economic mobilization.

He was in the forefront of economists sponsoring the 1946 Full Employment Act and then its implementation, as the first vice chairman and second chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Truman.

He was a principal architect of the 1978 Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act. He was untiring in his assembly of impressive data to demonstrate the benefits of full employment and economic growth. A strong supporter of the free-enterprise system, he recognized the limitations of the marketplace with respect to the disadvantaged and others who do not share in affluence. His impact will continue.

ROBERT R. NATHAN

Washington