At 6 p.m. on Aug. 1, Raphael J. Calis, Washington bureau chief of the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), checked the final stories on the two office teleprinters linked to Kuwait City.

One was about plans for a new Disney theme park in Long Beach, Calif., and another reported a State Department briefing on the conflict in Liberia.

There was also a third story, the special significance of which would become clear to Calis less than six hours later.

"The Bush administration expressed its hope Wednesday that both Iraq and Kuwait will find ways to resolve {their} differences peacefully and to respect the sovereignty of all states in the area," said the report, written by one of Calis's staff reporters after talks between Iraq and Kuwait had broken off.

The printers then fell silent with the message: "Kuwait News Agency closing down for Wednesday August 1." They have been silent ever since.

That night Calis, for 10 years chief of a Washington bureau that is reponsible for news coverage of all the United States and Canada and feeds news organizations in 21 Arab countries, made his way to his Maryland home hoping that the dispute between his country and Iraq would be resolved. At the same time, Iraqi tanks were rolling into Kuwait.

When he heard the news, the bespectacled journalist rushed back to his small office on the fourth floor of a drab 15th Street NW building and made contact by computer with the agency's Kuwait City headquarters. The contact lasted a day before the lines went dead midway through a transmission.

"We haven't heard a word from them since," said Calis, who fears the 200-strong headquarters staff may have been imprisoned by the Iraqis.

Since the invasion, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has "dissolved" the Kuwaiti-government sponsored agency and has declared its 26 international offices and 50 correspondents "null and void."

However, Calis said, KUNA refused to "lay down and die." With the teleprinters out of action, the agency, using its London bureau as headquarters, turned to fax machines and photocopiers to continue the flow of news. In Washington, its three reporters, including Calis, worked virturally around the clock, receiving up to 40 fax messages a day from the other offices and passing them on to about 50 news organizations in the United States.

"We may now be a dissident group in the eyes of the Iraqis, but we are showing them that we are still the voice of the Kuwaiti people and that we are still very much alive and kicking," Calis said.

With full access to the exiled Kuwaiti government in Saudi Arabia, which is still funding KUNA, the news agency was able to relay the statements of the crown princes and their ministers to other Kuwaitis scattered around the world.

The Washington office is now concentrating on the plight of Kuwaitis here and on the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department.

One of the most poignant symbols of the situation of the small news agency staff here are the two teleprinters, which remain turned on in the hope of receiving a message but which are beginning to gather a thin layer of dust.

So far, none of the faxed reports that have been transmitted worldwide by news organizations such as the British Broadcasting Corp. and the Voice of America has managed to penetrate Kuwait because of jamming of broadcasts and other restrictions imposed by the Iraqis. But, by continuing to operate Calis believes that KUNA can contribute to the downfall of Saddam by constantly reminding him that the people of Kuwait will not be silenced.

"The voice of Kuwait will remain loud and clear and will be heard by everyone around the world until our land is liberated and the constitutional government of Kuwait is reinstated," Calis said.