Arthur Levitt Jr., chairman of the American Stock Exchange, yesterday bought control of Roll Call, a 31-year-old weekly newspaper published on Capitol Hill.

Sidney Yudain, founder of the lively chronicler of congressional life, will continue as editor and retain a minority interest in the paper. Levitt, who declined to say how much he paid for Roll Call, will provide an infusion of cash to improve the paper.

"When I realized Roll Call might be for sale, I saw a wonderful opportunity to develop it in a meaningful way as a significant hometown paper for Congress," Levitt said. "I'd like to see the paper include more features, more information of relevance to Congress, more pictures."

Yudain, in announcing the sale, said, "With the dynamic changes in the newspaper industry and the nature of the Hill, the time has come when substantial capital outlays are needed to take the paper on to the new heights it is capable of attaining."

Levitt said he expected to add staff, expand the number of pages and find new office space on Capitol Hill. James K. Glassman, former executive vice president of U.S. News and World Report and former president of Atlantic, acted as a consultant on the Roll Call purchase, Levitt said.

Levitt said he saw no conflict between his role as chairman of the American Stock Exchange and owning a newspaper that covers events in Congress.

"As chairman of the exchange, I recognize the potential conflict in any investment area in which I am involved. As an absentee owner, and a non-active participant in the day-to-day running of Roll Call, I do not expect to be involved in any issue that could conflict with my responsibility as chairman of the exchange or chairman of the American Business Conference," Levitt said.

Levitt made an unsuccessful effort last year to buy the Village Voice in New York.