Isn't it ironic that in a summit devoted essentially to peace in our time the highlight of the opening ceremonies was a 12-gun salute and a review of troops (plus military bands, a naval "piping-on" at Camp David, etc.). No doubt, when President Bush returns the visit to Moscow, he will be greeted by the same kinds of things. One would think that even reasonably imaginative planners could find something more appropriate to the occasion than these anachronistic practices, harmless though they may be. ROBERT B. PEARL Silver Spring

I was surprised and discouraged to read that Mikhail Gorbachev received five humanitarian awards here in the United States {news story, June 3}. I understand and agree that Mr. Gorbachev has done a great deal to promote positive changes during his reign as leader of the Soviet Union, but to award him the title of "humanitarian" is exaggerated and premature.

Webster's describes a humanitarian as follows: "a person devoted to promoting the welfare of humanity, especially through the elimination of pain and suffering." To prove himself a real humanitarian, Mr. Gorbachev must end the pain and suffering of the Lithuanian people as a result of the economic blockade, implemented by Mr. Gorbachev himself. He must end 50 years of pain and suffering in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia by admitting to the historical injustice of the forcible annexation of the three countries into the Soviet Union, and recognize their independent, freely elected governments. Would a humanitarian make jokes about doing like the Chinese and "firing a few rounds" in the Baltics, in order to get most favored nation trade status? Not to mention the bloody pain and suffering of people in Armenia, Azerbaijan and elsewhere.

As Americans shower Mr. Gorbachev with humanitarian awards, at home he is obstructing his own policies of perestroika and glasnost, instead of letting the democratic forces run their natural course and truly "promoting the welfare of humanity."

Humanitarian awards should be given to people who live by humanitarian ideals without exception. At this point in Mr. Gorbachev's political career, there are too many exceptions for him to be compared to great and true humanitarians like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. Maybe Webster's should consider modifying its definition, so that Mr. Gorbachev could fit into the picture. TIJA KARKLIS Vienna