MOSCOW, DEC. 20 -- Excerpts from Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze's resignation speech, as translated by The Associated Press:

I have the briefest and most difficult speech in my life. I didn't ask to take the floor, but some of the deputies have insisted, and I know the reasons this group insisted I speak, and I have prepared the text of the speech and am giving it to the secretariat of the Congress.

I want to make a short statement consisting of two parts. First, yesterday there were speeches by some of our comrades. These were our veterans. They have raised the question of adopting a declaration forbidding the leadership and the president from sending troops to the Persian Gulf. I will be frank, yesterday's statements were the last straw.

We have very good friendly relations with Iraq that have been built for years, and these relations are still preserved, but we do not have any moral right to agree to the aggression by Iraq, to the annexation of a very small country that cannot defend itself. Then we would have crossed out everything that has been done in recent years by all our people in the sphere of establishing the principles of new political thinking. That's the first point.

Second. I have explained more than once, and Gorbachev in his speech in the Supreme Soviet {legislature} mentioned the fact that the Soviet leadership has no plans -- I don't know, maybe there is some plan, there is some group . . . . . But some speakers say the Minister of Foreign Affairs has plans to deploy troops to the Persian Gulf. I have said that we have no plans. They do not exist, and no one is planning to send even one soldier, even one representative of the armed forces of the U.S.S.R. And this was stated.

Is all this accidental? Was the statement of two members of parliament accidental that it was possible to remove the interior minister and the time has come to settle accounts with the foreign minister? This statement has gone around literally the entire world press and our newspapers. Are those fellows so brave? I will say, because my age allows me to, because they are really too young, with colonel epaulets, to make such statements addressed to a minister, addressed to a government member.

In this connection, allow me to say a few words about the personal dignity of an individual, about the personal feelings, because many people think that ministers who sit there, or members or the government, or the president or someone else, that they were hired, are hired, and that they can treat them however they wish.

I think that this is inadmissible. In this connection, I recall the party congress.

Against my will, without consulting with me, my name, I, my candidacy, was entered in a secret ballot, and 800 delegates voted against me. What was this, accidental or not accidental? Was it that the policies carried out by the foreign minister were no good? Or did his personality fail to suit someone? It's a serious question, a more than serious question.

I think, in fact, this phenomenon is not accidental. I apologize, but I am recollecting now the Supreme Soviet session.

I happened to be away, and my deputies were called in and they were put in a foolish situation, and the {discussion} of the question failed. I had to speak the next week, and what happened was that the same people who are now acting as authors leveled serious charges that the foreign minister made one-sided concessions {over the treaty}, that he is incompetent, illiterate, etc., etc.

There was not a single person, including the chairman, who would respond and say that it is not fair.

I was shaken, I will say it directly. . . .

Comrade democrats, in the broadest sense of the word, you have scattered. Reformers have gone and hidden in the bushes. A dictatorship is on the offensive. I tell you this with full responsibility. No one knows what this dictatorship will be like, what kind of dictator will come to power and what kind of order will be established.

I want to make the following statement. I am resigning. Don't react and don't curse me. Let it be my contribution, protest if you will, against dictatorship. I express my great gratitude to Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev. I am his friend. I think as he does. I have always supported and will until the last day, support the ideas of perestroika, the idea of renewal, the ideas of democratization. We have done great work in the international area. But I think that it is my duty as a person, a citizen, as a Communist. I cannot accept those events that are happening in our country, or accept those trials that are in store for our people.

And still I think the dictatorship will not come to pass. The future belongs to democracy and freedom!

Thank you very much.