Richard Burt has gone native. Our ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany has caught the epidemic of the Foreign Service: he thinks his job is to speak to the American people on behalf of the government of West Germany. I thought it was supposed to be the other way around.

Ambassador Burt's op-ed column {"The Allies' Fair Share of Defense," Oct. 8} replays the same tune about why the NATO allies should not be asked to do more: the allies are contributing more than they did in 1970; European nations maintain a draft; the German countryside is littered with bases and military exer-cises. At least Burt had the intellectual honesty not to try to argue, as so many others have, that the INF agreement should somehow let the allies off the hook.

Burt's statistical computations elude me. The fact is that in 1971, West Germany spent 3.4 percent of its Gross Domestic Product on defense, and by 1985 the figure had dropped to 3.2 percent. U.S. spending stayed about the same, at 6.9 percent. About eight out of every 1,000 Germans are in uniform; 9.5 out of every 1,000 Americans are in uniform. And more than a half million of these Americans are stationed in Europe.

How about the question of conscription? The reason the Pentagon is not interested in going back to drafting soldiers is because the all-volunteer peacetime military has been a success. We are attracting high-quality, dedicated men and women who will serve long enough to master the incredibly complicated weapons we deploy. Our readiness would plummet if we had to rely on an army of short-time draftees. If we had a draft army, who would know how to operate the fire control systems to stop the feared Soviet tank attack in the central region of NATO?

Burt creatively suggests that we measure burden sharing through some indicator like the number of military jets overflying the average square mile of soil or the frequency of being behind a foreign soldier in the grocery line. If Burt is recommending reducing the 330,000 American troops in Germany, I agree. If he is arguing instead that the Germans have their own crosses to bear, I cannot disagree. However, if the burden of American troops stationed in Germany is too great, the Germans could field more of their own and ask us to remove some of ours.

My defense-protection-fee proposal links the trade war and the cold war. Burt says it "seems more than a thinly veiled attempt to gain greater support for protectionist policies than a serious effort to stimulate greater Allied defense spending." He's shooting at the wrong target. I'm no protectionist. I voted against the Gephardt Amendment to the trade bill. And Burt cannot seriously believe that the 3.2 percent tariff my bill would impose on German goods would protect American manufacturers. How many Yuppies are going to switch to Chevys because the cost of a BMW 325 goes up $740?

The fact is that we are in two global conflicts. In one -- the dangerous competition between the superpowers -- Germany and our other NATO allies, as well as Japan, South Korea and other Asian nations, are our allies. We need them and they need us. In the other -- the trade war -- Germany, Japan and South Korea are some of our most successful rivals. And we are being taken to the cleaners.

The link between the security and trade is clear. Japanese goods can enter the United States cheaply because we deploy the massive Navy which keeps the Pacific sea lanes open. German manufacturing can concentrate on building top-quality consumer products because the majority of German R&D marks are not going into defense, as a majority of our dollars are.

Of the $300 billion the United States spends on defense, something over half -- say, $150 billion -- goes for NATO obligations. Our trade deficit is running at about $175 billion a year. What we are spending to protect our allies is nearly the same amount by which we are losing the trade war.

Burt accuses me of ally bashing. I do not know whether to take umbrage at that label or not. I would no sooner cede West Germany to Soviet expansion than I would give up Florida. We have spilled too much American blood in Western Europe to relinquish our interests now. Our security interests require a strong Western Europe.

Surprisingly, Burt's conclusion -- "make no mistake: our principal allies do need to spend more for defense" -- is identical to mine. Where we differ is that Burt believes my attempts to promote burden sharing are "unworkable and counterproductive." He never does say what he would propose.

Clearly, the administration's feeble attempts to beg a little additional defense spending from our allies have not worked. Between 1979 and 1984, while real U.S. defense spending went up 42 percent, our European NATO allies' real defense spending went up only 10 percent -- far, far less than the 3 percent real annual growth they committed to in 1979. Maybe if officials such as Burt spent a little more time telling the Germans what Americans believe and less time telling readers of The Post what Germans think, such intimidating proposals as the defense protection fee might be unnecessary.

The writer, a Democratic representative from Colorado, is a member of the Armed Services Committee.