To the editor:

Dalton Delan has high words of praise for Henry Luce's magazine empire and his 1940s "doctrine of American interventionism" ("The decline of a great brand," oped, Oct. 12).

However, Mr. Delan leaves out a less savory side of Luce's political history. As was demonstrated in W. A. Swanberg's 1972 biography of the mogul, throughout the 1930s, Luce openly favored European fascism, which in 1934 he adjudged a "moral force." Luce consistently viewed Hitler, Franco, and Mussolini as bulwarks against Communism, and routinely referred to the Spanish Republicans battling Franco as "Reds." In 1938, moreover, Luce actually visited the German Reich and, in an unpublished report on his travels, glowed with pleasure at the Nazi r gime. He was enraptured by the notion that "in Germany there is no `soak the rich' ideology," for indeed, he continued, "the extraordinary thing about Hitler is that he has suspended the class war." Having seen the many busy theaters and the motorbikes in the German streets at the time, Luce would conclude that the German people "did not seem to be slaves. Their chains are not visible." It was only in 1939 that Luce began to change his mind on the F hrer's militarist policies.

This is a side of media magnate Luce that has long been forgotten. Mr. Delan's eloquent op-ed, alas, keeps alive this forgetfulness.

Gene H. Bell-Villada,