In honoring the memory of Andrei Sakharov it might be useful, even instructive, to recall one of his contributions to genuine liberal thought rather than the distorted version to which contemporary American liberals are beholden. It is contained in Sakharov's comment on the attitude of Western liberals on arms control and the American experience in Vietnam in his 1976 essay "My Country and the World," which was smuggled to the West from his Gorky exile and reads as follows: "My attitude toward the foreign intelligentsia is a mixture of fondness, hope and admiration . . . But there is one disturbing trait common to many Western intellectuals. I call it "leftist-liberal fadishness." Leftist intellectuals entertain illusions about the nature of Soviet society and urge their governments to grant "gifts" in the name of de'tente and to make unilateral concessions, especially in disarmament . . . The dangers of divisiveness and myopic selfishness have already played a fatal role in the tragedy of Vietnam and Cambodia. The U.S. should have acted more resolutely and consistently in putting pressure on the U.S.S.R. to prevent deliveries of arms to North Vietnam. But a large share of the blame must be borne by Western European countries, Japan and nations of the Third World that did nothing to help their ally oppose the totalitarian threat in Southeast Asia." As they join in well-deserved tribute to Sakharov, American liberals might do well to examine their conscience in light of these comments. WOLF LEHMANN Rockville At Andrei Sakharov's funeral, an old babushka was heard to sigh that, in the death of the great man, Russia lost her soul. On the contrary, I believe that Sakharov will be remembered as the man most responsible for helping Russia to rediscover her soul. How ironic that at the same time as Sakharov's death, on this side of the globe, violent cocaine magnate Jose Gacha left the world in infamy. In contrast to Andrei Dmitriyevich's courageous sacrifices for his fellow humans, Mr. Gacha and his drug-pushing ilk threaten the soul of the Western world without regard to the suffering they bring to humanity. JOHN J. MOLLICK Bowie