Following is an edited transcript of an interview with Waterloo Mayor Leo Rooff, 61, a Republican.

Waterloo is the greatest city in the world. It's a city that will hand you back tenfold what you will put in. It's a city that has a heart bigger than anything.

I'm telling you all this to lay the groundwork for the part that we're all very, very troubled by the recession. We cry. We feel sadness for our brothers who are out of work, and our sisters. We feel frustration and we feel their same anger. We can't understand this. "Why am I out of work?"

I was 7 years old when the '29 Depression hit. And as a young boy I recall my father coming home . . . crying at night. He had gone to the bank to get his money only to find it was closed and his money was gone . . . . The only difference between that Depression and this is that in the Great Depression, everybody was in trouble. Today you still have that segment of the population that's been untouched. And the rest of them are becoming the angry, the frustrated, the unemployed . . . .

I'd like to have a chance to talk to Ronald Reagan. I'd bend his ear like it's never been bent before. And I guess I would like to take him with me on a little tour of the city and show him our town, what's going on. I guess I'd have to compliment him on the fact that he's got guts enough to do what he thinks is right, because that's a rarity. I guess I'd tell him the same thing I just told you guys. I want him to see that frustration. I want him to see those fears. I want him to see all of this stuff. And I would do every bit of this with all due respect to him and not in an angry tone.

On foreign affairs, before the terrorist bombing in Lebanon: You ask about Lebanon and Central America. The most I hear is we ought to stay out of those things. We don't want another Vietnam. They also believe we should do whatever necessary to protect ourselves, and if that is necessary, just tell us so, show us.

After President Reagan's speech Thursday: From what I heard, I feel comfortable. There's one place I reserve comment on--it's what those troops do once they get there, their training. In Lebanon, had they had proper security, that might not have happened. But other than that, I feel confident with what he's doing.