The United States should improve relationships with Latin America by stationing military advisers in friendly countries throughout the hemisphere, Gen. Fred W. Woerner, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, said yesterday.

Woerner complained during a breakfast with military writers that his command is limited to 55 military advisers in El Salvador while "the Soviet Union has 2,800 {military advisers} in Cuba alone, 19 times more than I have on one island," and about 150 in Peru, Woerner said.

"I would like to see a structure out there that puts young, dynamic American officers and noncommissioned officers into the school systems {of Latin America}, into the major units and centers, transferring our values as professionals, all our skills as professionals . . . .

"I would like to see teams of 25 people across the spectrum -- Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard" in friendly Latin American countries, Woerner said. He called for a return to the former U.S. military structure in Latin America, which included 700 to 800 advisers.

"Right now throughout the hemisphere there is a military hierarchy that in large measure is a product of our {military} school system," Woerner said. The U.S. cuts in military assistance to Latin America is weakening this special military-to-military relationship, he said.

The combination of less aid from the United States and prohibitively high prices on American weaponry will impel Latin military leaders to build political, commercial and military relationships with other countries, Woerner said. "That doesn't serve our interests at all," he added.

The military "is, has been and forever will be a major player" in Latin America, and "I say it's important to have relationships with them. That military overwhelmingly has stepped out of the role of determinant of the political process and has stepped into a very new role for it, that of guarantor. So we see hemispherically an overwhelming trend in the last decade from military rule to democratically elected civilian rule."

Woerner portrayed the contra force fighting Nicaraguan government troops as a guarantor of the peace process in that country. He said the House's refusal to approve more military aid for the contras signals other countries in the hemisphere that the United States is not a reliable ally.

He theorized that the contras have been hoarding military equipment for fear aid might be discontinued. He said he could not estimate how long they could continue fighting without fresh military supplies from the United States.

On other subjects, Woerner said he had only a "formal" relationship with Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega, Panamanian military leader who was indicted on drug charges by a federal jury in Miami yesterday. Noriega and his supporters will portray the indictment "as one more example of the United States being in alliance with the economic elite of Panama" while his opponents will hail the unusual action as "an indication of U.S. support," Woerner predicted.

The general said the indictment has not prompted his command to take any additional measures to protect Americans in Panama, the canal or military facilities.