I write with respect to Edwin Yoder's column Sept. 22, "Making Diplomats Scapegoats," in which he quotes from my colloquy with Assistant Secretary of State John Kelly during a hearing on Sept. 18 on the Persian Gulf crisis.

Contrary to Mr. Yoder's allegations, my criticisms were addressed solely to policy, not to personalities or individual performances. Mr. Yoder did not bother to contact me personally about my views. It is also apparent that Mr. Yoder neither attended the hearing nor reviewed the transcript. Had he done so, he could not have called the questioning "unfair and odious" or have made reference to Sen. McCarthy's questioning of Foreign Service officers in the 1950s.

I stand by the statement I made at the hearing:

"You left with this committee, and by you {Mr. Kelly} I don't mean you personally because I don't hold you personally responsible for these statements. I take it you are speaking for the president of the United States. But you left with this committee the clear impression that we seriously misread Iraqi policy and we seriously misread the possibilities of encouraging improvements in that policy and in the relationship with Iraq."

I know Mr. Kelly and other State Department officials involved on this issue to be honorable public servants. Mr. Kelly has served with distinction. He has appeared frequently before the subcommittee I chair. None of my questions or comments in this or in other hearings was directed at him. They were directed to the policies he is representing and is sent to articulate. LEE H. HAMILTON U.S. Representative (D-Ind.) Chairman, Subcommittee on Europe and Middle East Washington