If the U.S. Fails to Invest in Eastern Europe, We Will Become Only a Spectator to History

Allan H. Meltzer ("No Marshall Plan for Soviet Union," Dec. 10) misses the point of a lot of what is happening in the U.S.S.R. and Eastern Europe. He is afraid that by giving monetary and material aid to the governments of the Eastern Bloc, the United States will shore up their unreasonable economies and delay their disarmament.

The information Meltzer is not assimilating into his analysis is that the people of the Eastern Bloc want to change both their governments and their economies. The reform movements under way do not ask for small cosmetic changes, but rather a full revamping of the inefficient economies involved and the virtual elimination of the oppressive governments that controlled them.

There is an unparalleled opportunity here to establish a "development bank" for Eastern Europe that will link aid not only to reforms, but also to the training of people needed to make the new economy run. The best part is that the governments soliciting the economic aid will also be happy to receive the judicial, managerial and bookkeeping education to go with it. It is naive to believe that the European Community and Japan will not step forward to supply this money and training, especially when the material and human resources available in Eastern Europe are so great.

Meltzer's call for U.S. caution, if heeded, will relegate us to a spectator's role in these fascinating and exciting developments. Indeed, his strategy is based on economic isolationism and would prevent the United States from participating in what is perhaps to be the greatest development project in history.

JAMES K. PHELAN

Beverly Hills

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