Thanks for the excellent editorial {Oct. 2} in support of Sen. Jesse Helms' U.S. Department of State Freedom of Expression Act of 1987.

I feel inclined to point out, however, that when the State Department took the liberty to declare itself a "foreign mission" of the Soviet Union, it did not break up a planned demonstration as the editorial stated; it broke up a vigil that had gone on for more than 11 hours.

More than 40 people, including members of Congress and a presidential candidate, were prevented from continuing the peaceful protest at the State Department so that Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze could avoid the embarrassment of having the U.S.S.R.'s human rights violations protested.

At 8 p.m. on the night before Mr. Shevardnadze arrived, more than 75 members of human rights and other organizations (including the Center of Peace and Freedom, which organized the event) gathered to begin a vigil that was scheduled to continue until Mr. Shevardnadze arrived. A number of the protesters stayed all night. At 7:30 a.m., D.C. police ordered the participants in the vigil to evacuate the area under threat of arrest. The police then disassembled a mock cemetery bearing the names of Soviet-occupied countries that some participants had erected earlier.

Later, more than 40 protesters reassembled just outside the 500-foot sanctuary surrounding the "mission." Unfortunately, 500 feet was nearly out of sight of the State Department. S. DENNIS HOFFMAN Communications Director Center for Peace and Freedom Washington