To the Editor:

Henry Kaufman's article "Insidious Peril in Banking-Commerce Merger" (April 11, page 22) is essentially a blast against the dangers of bigness. The article ignores not only existing antitrust law but the possibility of amending it to limit the overall size of enterprises that combine banking, commerce, and industry.

Mr. Kaufman's thesis - that permitting commercial and industrial firms to own banks would lead to a corporate state serving a self-perpetuating elite - ignores all potential safeguards. Moreover, he does not even try to meet the arguments in favor of universal banking.

If affiliations prohibited in the United States were not profitable, banks in countries that permit universal banking would not take advantage of it. And if such affiliations can be advantageous, being excluded from them must inevitably diminish the competitiveness of American banks in the global financial market.

To say the least, the issue of universal banking is not as black-or- white as Mr. Kaufman's rhetoric makes it appear. Franz M. Oppenheimer Attorney Washington

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