The state of Maryland has been dangling a big carrot before the noses of expansion-hungry national and international corporations.

The carrot, what the state is calling its relatively new thrust to attract industrial development was illustrated this week in a Business Week magazine 16-page color special advertising section, complete with a text touting the state's new "pro business program."

"Maryland's strategic position on the Eastern Seaboard has long contributed to its history of diversified and profitable industry," the text begins. "It's been a quiet growth -- prosperity without fanfare. However, Maryland is no longer content with the reference, in genteel circles, to being the 'sailing capital of the world'."

"The Free State has launched an aggressive probusiness program to attract new industry to expand," the text continues.

The project was a year in the making, state economic and community development officials said. The area representative for Business Week suggested the supplement. The state's carrot program began last April. w

Besides the text, the supplement includes ads from Montgomery Country, Commercial Credit, Baltimoere City and surrounding counties, McCormick Properties Inc., Kelly Tires, the First National Bank of Maryland and United States Fidelity and Guaranty Cos.

A full-page color ad, featuring -- of course -- a carrot, cost the state $34,000. The ad's bottom line is, "Come for the carrot. You'll stay for the greens."

"It should have impact all over the country," a state official said.

Some of the meatier parts of the carrot so far have included:

Expenditures of $700,000 of the state's allotted $1.2 million fund for advertising in major national business publications this year.

A direct-mail marketing campaign aimed at scores of Canadian firms which resulted in a visit to Montreal last week between state officials and Canadian busines leaders.

Plans for the spring opening of the state's first Office in Tokyo.

In addition, directors of economic development programs from five Maryland counties and Columbia and several state officials participated in a one-day seminar in New York last month to tout Maryland to representatives of Japanese business.

During that session state officials met with representatives of the Japan External Trade Organizations, a quasigovernmental agency which represents Japanese commerce abroad.

Also in attendance were 25 Japanse officials from banks, trading companies and manufacturers.Other states represented were South Carolina and Connecticut.

"There are 18,000 industrial development groups who compete for something like 800 relocations a year," a state spokesman said. "Of the 800 relocations, half are ruled out of a state's perspective for some reasons, so that leaves only 400 companies."

The state began an intensified carrot advertising approach last December which involved about 25 ads in major publications. So far, ads have generated 767 inquires, of which 42 are active prospects, the state spokesman said.

Eight of those are considered "hot prospects," the spokesman said, because they have been contacted by state officials and given a presentation, and they have a site or a building in mind for relocation. Two of these hot prospects are Maryland companies wanting to expand, the spokesman said.

Those hot prospects represent 875 new jobs, 380,000 square feet of space and $7.4 millon in capital investment, the spokesman added.

State officials don't have a goal of how many new jobs or square feet of office space they hope to gain through the recent advertising section, the spokesman said. They are contemplating a large ad campaign in a different U.S. publication or a foreign one next, the spokesman said.

One of the state's prime goals is to make corporations aware of what the state has to offer.

The Business Week ad, for example, contains a response card so state officials can have some idea of how attractive the carrot was, at least, on paper.

The section contains plenty of testimonials from business and government leaders such as James W. Rouse, chairman of the board of Rouse Co. in Columbia, and Gov. Harry Hughes.

"There's a new confidence in Maryland now -- an energy and an excitement that I haven't seen in a long time," said David W. Barton, president of the Baltimore-based marketing firm Baton-Gillet.

"For Westinghouse, Maryland is agood a place to do business," said Harry B. Smith, executive vice president of Westinghouse Defense Electronics Systems Center in Baltimore. "Not only are we close to our customers in Washington and enjoy a favorable tax climate, we are fortunte to be located in an area that has the highest concentration of scientists, engineers and technologists in the country."

Besides perfunctory facts and figures on Maryland, the ad gives highlights of Maryland, history and recreacational amenities that officials hope will enhance the state's attractiveness.

There is also a section on how Washington is helping the state.

"Increasingly, access to the power structures located in Washington is proving to be a real asset in attracting industry to Maryland," the ad's text says. "Foreign firms in particular have found that being close to their countries' embassies and the specialized banking and trade facilities that a nation's capital provides have given them a distinct advantage in doing business in the United States."