Monday night's televised interview with Mikhail Gorbachev showed the new Soviet leader to be more charming and less fearsome than any leader in the country's 70 years of existence. Here was a man with a ready smile, a friendly expression and a raconteur's disarming parable. His devotion to glasnost, or openness, came through.

And yet, the one-hour NBC interview showed that Gorbachev, when put on the defensive, retains the instincts of an old-style Moscow apparatchik, argumentative, proud, and eager to best any challenge by settling ideological scores and scoring points -- with facts if possible, without them if not.

When pressed by NBC's Tom Brokaw on sensitive points, the friendly Gorbachev disappeared, replaced by a defensive debater steeped in party polemics. On the right to emigrate, on Afghanistan, on the Berlin Wall, the Soviet leader's explanations sounded not like the "new thinking" that Gorbachev has often asked for from his countrymen, but like lessons from a party handbook.

Answering Brokaw's query about the U.S.S.R.'s restrictive emigration policies, Gorbachev -- an ethnic Russian, the nationality that dominates Soviet life -- argued that the right to live where one pleases is not a universal freedom, as recognized in numerous international covenants signed by Soviet leaders.

"I understand the concern of the American side to some extent," Gorbachev said, "since that is a nation that was formed largely as a result of emigration processes. And therefore our views are different." He accused the United States of exploiting Soviet emigration "to resolve their own problems, and what they're organizing is a brain drain. And of course, we're protecting ourselves."

Gorbachev said the United States didn't want to admit "people from Mexico or other countries . . . who don't have the skills that are required," then claimed that "a highly placed representative" of the American government had said in the 1970s that thanks to the emigration of Soviet Jews, "we've resolved the problems of mathematicians by 50 percent."

Prodded by Brokaw's comment that "there is no uglier symbol in the world . . . than the Berlin Wall," Gorbachev shot back that it stood as "the sovereign right of a sovereign state, the German Democratic Republic, to defend . . . and protect {itself}, and not to allow any interference in its domestic affairs." The real wall dividing Germany, he contended, came not when the Berlin Wall went up in 1962, but years before, when the western allies recognized a West German state.

This theme of self-protection from outside marauders seemed to echo Stalinist formulas of the past rather than those of Gorbachev's perestroika, or restructuring, the modernization drive that welcomes outside investment, joint ventures and foreign experts of every kind.

Gorbachev also pointed the finger back at his accuser when asked about the sudden dismissal of his former comrade-in-arms Boris Yeltsin, the man he made Communist Party boss in the city of Moscow. What happened to Yeltsin was "a normal process for any democracy," adding: "I don't want to count how many ministers or secretaries were replaced even recently in the United States . . . . "

Turning to Afghanistan, Gorbachev explained the 1979 Soviet invasion as a response to calls for help from a Kabul government endangered by "interference from outside." He did not mention the fact that the Soviet invaders helped assassinate the leader of the government that invited them into Afghanistan.

But for all his tough talk to Brokaw, Gorbachev apparently chose not to share with his domestic audience all that he had to say to NBC on one sensitive point. In the interview Brokaw asked him if he consulted with his wife, Raisa, who is a controversial figure in the U.S.S.R.

"We discuss everything," he replied.

Brokaw pressed the point -- "Including Soviet affairs at the highest level?" And Gorbachev replied that he had already answered the question, repeating, "We discuss everything."

Soviet viewers last night saw the interview, but that passage was cut. Only the first "we discuss everything" was included -- the rest fell on a cutting room floor.