Kai Bird makes several false or misleading assertions in his criticism of the Smithsonian's revised Enola Gay exhibit {op-ed, July 7}. Mr. Bird calls the Smithsonian's statement that dropping the bombs led to Japan's immediate surrender "a highly contentious interpretation" contradicted by "many historians" -- never identified -- who argue that it was the Soviet entry into the war that pushed Japan to surrender.

Mr. Bird's position would have been news to Emperor Hirohito, who explicitly cited the bomb in his taped broadcast to the nation announcing Japan's surrender on Aug. 15, 1945. In a statement otherwise noteworthy for its euphemisms and circumlocution, the emperor noted that "the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is indeed incalculable."

In the passage immediately following, Hirohito warned that prolonging the war would result in the "ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation" and declared that only acceptance of the Allies' Potsdam declaration -- unconditional surrender -- could save the nation. The emperor made no explicit reference to the belated Soviet entry into the war. (Source: "Japan's Decision to Surrender" by Robert J. C. Butow, Stanford University Press, 1954).

Mr. Bird also minimizes Hiroshima's importance as a military target. In fact, it was the location of the headquarters for the Second General Army, which was charged with preparing the defense of Kyushu against the expected American invasion. The city also was an important military port of embarkation to Kyushu and to Japan's overseas empire, and its airport served as a base for military aircraft. Also within its boundaries were munitions works, a small arms factory and barracks for the 45,000 Japanese soldiers and marines stationed in the city. (Source: "Enola Gay," Gordon Thomas, Simon & Schuster, 1977).

Mr. Bird, who denounces critics of Hiroshima revisionism as "patriotically correct," would better advance his revisionist agenda by concentrating on being factually correct. MICHAEL J. HUGHES Reston How nice of Kai Bird, from the comfort and safety of an easy chair and word processor, to give us his authoritative and critical analysis of the Enola Gay exhibit and of why the A-bomb drop was unnecessary.

I expect I reflect the views of most of us diminishing millions of World War II veterans who take great exception to his views.

From the standpoint of millions of fighters and civilians the world over as well as the concentration camp victims who might have been spared, it was two or three years too late.

How wise to speculate so knowingly that Japan would have capitulated soon anyhow. The fanatical banzai and kamikaze attacks during the invasion of Okinawa implied otherwise.

Had President Truman chosen not to use the bomb and hundreds of thousands of Americans died invading Japan, an outraged public might have hanged poor Harry from the nearest lamp post.

How long does Kai Bird think Japan would have hesitated to use the bomb on us?

He should only live so long! JOSEPH LEE HUDSON Arlington

There were many questionable and debatable statements in the article by Kai Bird, but one was completely wrong.

Mr. Bird wrote, "No evidence has ever been uncovered that leaflets -- issuing a warning of either conventional or atomic attack -- were dropped on Hiroshima."

In 1960, I was in Hiroshima and went to the museum that was established concerning the bomb. In that museum, there were leaflets -- not copies, but some of the actual leaflets that were dropped. There was also an English translation, since those leaflets were in Japanese. There was absolutely no doubt at that time, among the Japanese, that leaflets had been dropped.

Since then, as an example of historical cleansing, it appears that those leaflets are no longer on exhibit in that museum. LEONARD NADLER Silver Spring

Kai Bird and other revisionist historians need to be reminded of just one fact that justified the use of the atomic bomb against Japan.

Not one American life was lost in an invasion against the heavily fortified home islands. Nothing else is of any consequence whatsoever.

Unless these historians were to be in a first wave going ashore against the enemy, they have no right to make any sort of judgment on the use of this weapon.

I was hoping the atomic bomb might have been used against North Korea when I was in the Army during that war. I had no desire to come home in a box to satisfy some fool's moral standards. VENLO WOLFSOHN Bethesda

The article by Kai Bird {"Enola Gay: Patriotically Correct' "} chided the exhibitors for carrying the banner for a particular view, but Mr. Bird seems to have created some bias of his own in his treatment of the exhibit.

I have visited both the Peace Park exhibit in Hiroshima and the site near Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki and my information from those visits disagrees with some of Mr. Bird's data.

First, the number of people killed by the bombs is not exactly known. The estimates are that approximately 70,000 people were immediately killed in each city and a similar number later from the effects of radiation.

However, these later statistics have to be examined more closely. At the Peace Park Museum there is a large book listing the causalities. Fortunately, it was written in English. The most recent entries, at that time in 1970, listed people who had died of ailments such as heart disease, tuberculosis etc. None of their diagnoses related to radiation exposure.

I asked the curator for an explanation. He told me that the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) had determined that anyone who was in the city limits on the day the bomb dropped would be counted as a casualty when he died. This fact certainly biases the total statistics in such a way as to inflate the totals.

Mr. Bird states that no evidence has been uncovered that leaflets were dropped over Hiroshima. However, not far from the book listing the casualties I saw a leaflet on display. I recall that it had both Japanese and English writing. The legend described it as being released over the city before the bomb was dropped.

I think that Mr. Bird needs to temper his writing with better research. There is certainly plenty of grist for the critique mill when we look at the handling of the Enola Gay exhibit on both sides of the ideological aisle. One does not have to generate half- or non-truths to make a point. WILLIAM P. JONES Davidsonville, Md.