The U.S. Embassy lodged a strong oral protest with the Soviet Foreign Ministry press department yesterday over the alleged drugging last week of a correspondent for U.S. News and World Report.

An embassy spokesman said the Foreign Ministry rejected the protest made by the Americans on behalf of Robin Knight, who said he had been drugged in Tashkent last Wednesday by Soviet Authorities seeking to discredit him.

Knight, 35, said he was told that the Foreign Ministry read from depositions allegedly taken from Soviets involved in the incident that asserted he had been drunk and disorderly, Washington Post correspondent Kevin Klose Reported.

"Their report was unbelievable and fantastic, completely devoid of truth," Knight charged.

An embassy spokesman said: "The Foreign Ministry rejected [our] protest and offered a version of the events involving the Knights which the embassy will not dignify by repeating."

Knight and his wife, Jean, said that he was given vodka he is certain was laced with drugs during a dinner outside Tashkent to which he and his wife were invited by a man who described himself as their official guide.

When her husband fell unconscious, Mrs. Knight said, she was molested by Soviets. They refused to aid her husband, she said, and tried unsuccessfully to get her to sign a deposition stating he had been drunk and disorderly.

The Knights are British citizens but the U.S. Embassy acted in their behalf because of Knight's accreditation as correspondent for an American magazine.