Saudi Arabia's decision to sit out of Mideast peace talks has left Congress and administration officials feeling betrayed. Some senators say it smacks of ingratitude toward the Americans who defended the kingdom against Iraq.

Sixty-four senators have written Saudi King Fahd urging him to change his mind."We risked and lost American lives to assist Saudi Arabia" against a threatened attack by Iraq, said Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., co-author of the senators' letter to Fahd. "Now, when we ask them to help us achieve peace and stability in the Middle East, they say `no thanks."'

"They welcomed out soldiers to defend their country," said the letter's other sponsor, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. Now, he added, "they act as if nothing has happened . . . they're as intransigent as ever."

Secretary of State James Baker, who has been shuttling around the Middle East trying to set up Arab-Israeli peace talks, was chagrined by the Saudi decision, said one U.S. official who spoke only on condition of anonymity.