The following is a reply to Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Bandar bin Sultan Al-Saud, who wrote an open letter to Jordan's King Hussein that appeared in this and several other newspapers Sept. 26.

Your Excellency,

His Majesty King Hussein is precluded by a natural preference for the language of diplomacy and reason over the language of passion and personal denigration from replying himself to the open letter you addressed to him through the American and British press.

He is also restrained by his wish to respect the agreement made between his grandfather King Abdullah and your distinguished grandfather King Abdul Aziz al Saud to bury the memory of the circumstances in which the dynasty of Al Saud replaced the Hashemite family as sovereigns of the Hejaz and custodians of the Holy Places, which agreement he continues to honor unless it is provenly one-sided.

Your letter, inspired by King Hussein's broadcast through the CNN channel to the American public, was perhaps a personal initiative of your own, taken maybe at the prompting of your public relations consultants, rather than a decision by your government to open a campaign against the person of King Hussein.

Nevertheless your letter does call for a reply. King Hussein did not say that the Holy Places in Saudi Arabia have been "desecrated" by what you call "friendly forces," and out of discretion. He did not mention the occasion when your government called in French forces to evict, not foreigners, but your own citizens from the precincts of the Holy Kaaba. What he did say was that the presence of non-Arab and non-Muslim forces in Saudi Arabia united secular nationalism and religious conservatism against it, which might, in the event of war breaking out, "result in incalculable grave consequences involving Arabs and Muslims the world over."

He therefore advocated that these forces should be withdrawn "within the shortest possible period of time." It is difficult to understand why you, as the representative of your government, should object to that, unless of course you have in mind that these foreign forces should prolong their presence beyond the period of the immediate crisis.

You make the extraordinary statement that King Hussein was "responsible for the Palestinian homeland on the West Bank from 1948 to 1967," and you ask why he did not give them (the Palestinians) their rights and statehood. King Hussein acceded to the throne of his grandfather and father in 1953. And there was, and still is, no "Palestinian homeland" on the West Bank! The territories of Palestine that remained in Arab hands after 1948 and 1949 joined the kingdom of Transjordan at the request of the Palestinians themselves, who did not accept at that time the idea of a Palestinian state on only part of their country.

You remark that "your whole country was created by the {same} colonial British," as if any country in the Arabian Peninsula achieved its present frontiers other than through arrangements made by Great Britain and France during and after World War I.

Jordan has not opposed the right of any sovereign country to invite troops to its defense. It was in exercise of that right that Jordan called for foreign troop assistance in 1958.

Like some Western statesmen, you seek to draw a parallel between "this entire crisis in our region" and Germany's invasion of neighboring countries in 1938 and 1939, forgetting that the rise of National Socialism took place against the background of frustration and resentment caused by the Versailles Treaty.

Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait cannot be correctly described as the sole cause of "this entire crisis in our region"; the crisis in the region has its roots in other annexations, other problems created by the international community but left unresolved.

In calling not only for the withdrawal of Iraq from Kuwait but also for a serious international effort to solve the other equally serious problems in the region, King Hussein has consistently put forward a point of view to which the governments of France, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and even the United States of America are gradually coming around. It is difficult to understand in whose interest it is to discredit and denigrate King Hussein's and the crown prince's efforts.

Could it be that the real cause of your outburst against the king is his statement that "as regards all countries and peoples in the region, every encouragement must be given to their governments to ensure their orderly and rapid transformation into democracies recognized as such by any acceptable yardstick in this world, where citizens enjoy equal rights, and where human rights are recognized, enjoyed and respected"?

You state that you have lost "the great respect and affection" you had for King Hussein. I do not think King Hussein will be unduly upset by whatever change of mind you may make about his personality. He is quite happy with the solid support he enjoys not only of the Jordanian people, but also of a broad and perhaps major spectrum of the Arab peoples, of whose aspirations he is the authentic spokesman.

The writer is former foreign minister and former permanent representative of Jordan at the United Nations.