A tree planted in a Salt Lake park Saturday was only symbolic, but it may go a long way in preventing a repeat of the atomic bomb dropped on Japan.

About two dozen people gathered Saturday afternoon at the International Peace Gardens, 10th South and Ninth West, to plant a second tree in the Soviet pavilion.Six Soviet inspectors, who are stationed at the Hercules plant in Magna to verify production of Pershing 2 missiles has ceased, participated in the ceremony as on-lookers endured the rain.

"It's just a matter of honesty to stop the arms race without undermining the security" of either the United States or the Soviet Union, said Vladimir Orekhovsky, a member of the inspection team.

"There's a direct connection between our work here and planting trees in the peace gardens. They have the same goal - to eliminate the war, to strengthen the peace," Orekhovsky said as the sun broke through the clouds above the garden.

"We were allies during World War II. We can be allies again, this time hopefully not allies against an aggressor, (but) against cancer, pollution, heart disease," he said.

The inspectors requested to be part of the ceremony commemorating the 43rd anniversary of the United States dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Their U.S. counterparts are in Votkinsk, U.S.S.R., to monitor missile production in accordance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed Dec. 8 by President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

"When we came to Salt Lake City a month ago, we couldn't imagine in your wonderful city you have specially created this special garden," Anatoli Samarin, chief of the Soviet inspection team in Utah, said through an interpreter.

The team is the first to call Utah home, Samarin said, and "we think that the future teams in Salt Lake City will try to keep and even extend the relationships" formed by the initial group.