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    Date: Friday, 12 February 1982, 18:40-EST
    From: Daniel L. Weinreb <dlw at SCRC-TENEX>
    Re:   defvar

    DEFVAR will set even a bound variable if and only if you execute it with
    the Eval Defun or Compile Defun commands.  This is a feature, not a bug.
    The idea is that if you want to edit your program and change your mind
    about the initial value of a variable, you can do so easily.  I realize
    that there is no documentation on this editor, and I'm sorry about it.

I can hardly consider this a feature.  It may be convenient to have this
capability somewhere but its behavior is too unexpected for it to be
on vanilla flavored Compile Defun or Eval Defun.  I expect you will get
bug messages about this from confused users until it is changed.