In a startling contradiction of the official view of history, a Politburo member said on Saturday that the 1956 Hungarian Revolution was a popular uprising, not a counterrevolution.

Imre Pozsgay became the first Hungarian leader to publicly contradict the official view that the revolution, which was suppressed by Soviet tanks, was a foreign-instigated counterrevolution designed to subvert the communist system.Pozsgay, who heads a Communist Party panel investigating Hungary's postwar history, made his announcement in a radio interview.

His portrayal of the revolution as a popular uprising could signal the government's readiness to rehabilitate the men who led the upheaval. Premier Imre Nagy, Defense Minister Pal Maleter and other top men in the short-lived revolutionary government were executed in 1958 and buried in unmarked graves.

In another development, Rezsoe Nyers, another reformer and father of the 1968 economic reform, was quoted as saying he and other top officials favor a center-left coalition to govern Hungary after the 1991 parliamentary elections.

Nyers, who is also on the Politburo and in the government of Premier Miklos Nemeth, made the statement in an interview carried in the latest issue of the Vienna news magazine Profil to be published Monday.

The comments by Pozsgay and Nyers underscored once again Hungary's current pioneering role in political and economic reforms in the Soviet bloc.

Pozsgay, speaking on Hungarian radio in the 1968 Hours news magazine, made clear his comments reflect the fact-finding work of the party's committee carrying out an inquiry into the Hungarian history of the past 40 years.

But he refrained from commenting on the Soviet role in crushing the revolution, which led to heavy losses of life and a mass exodus of Hungarians.

The working committe he heads was installed by the party's policy-setting Central Committee. At a meeting on Friday, the committee said the ruling Communist Party must "radically, once and for all, break away from all remnants of Stalinism and sincerely reveal the past, this being the only way to lay the groundwork for a purified socialist policy," Pozsgay said.