Charles Krauthammer's repetition of the oft-told tale of French ingratitude does not make it so ["The Schwarzenberg Principle," op-ed, Sept. 3]. It is true that in 1966 Charles DeGaulle ordered France to withdraw from the NATO integrated military structure (not from NATO). He also required the removal of NATO headquarters related to the integrated military structure from French soil. It is not true that he "ordered American troops off of French soil." In fact, American forces were then in France under bilateral agreements. The decision to withdraw U.S. forces from France was a unilateral American decision made as a gesture of disapproval of French withdrawal from the integrated military structure.

DeGaulle also did not order the dismantling of NATO's lines of communication in France. Again, this was an American gesture of disapproval. France's withdrawal reflected its dissatisfaction with what it viewed as American intransigence over command-and-control issues.

In recent years, these issues reappeared in connection with negotiations to bring France back into the integrated structure. It is interesting that France participated more often in NATO military exercises after withdrawing from the integrated military structure than before. Ironically, the last four countries to join NATO (Spain, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland) also are not members of the integrated military structure.

DAVID R. COX

Washington