It is ironic that, in the first three pages of The Post on Sept. 20, a historic missile agreement was bannered, Jim Hoagland commented on U.S. actions to contain Syrian terrorism, The Post reported on congressional consideration of applying the War Powers Act to U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf, and we read that the State Department has had its budget cut.

Each of these foreign policy issues -- arms control, counterterrorism, U.S. economic interests in the Gulf -- and all others consume millions of person-hours yearly in background consultations, analysis of host country reactions, de'marches to governments and careful reasoning and formulation of policy within the department. In addition, of course, the State Department takes care of U.S. citizens abroad, issues thousands of visitor and immigration visas, explains U.S. policies, administers U.S.-sponsored programs, provides 24-hour information to the public, law enforcement offices and others, and generally tries to maintain the United States' role as a responsible global leader. All on a budget of less than two-tenths of one percent of the total U.S. budget.

Okay, I admit I'm a Foreign Service officer, but how can reducing our budget make sense? MICHAEL BROWNRIGG Washington