A senior International Monetary Fund official said yesterday that the Venice summit had, for the first time, produced "a coherent system for surveillance and coordination" that will enable the IMF to help the seven leading countries regenerate global economic growth.

"We have a lot of problems, and not enough growth", the official told reporters in a background briefing at IMF headquarters.

He acknowledged that skepticism had been expressed about the surveillance procedure agreed upon in Venice, which is based on IMF monitoring of the seven nations' economic performance in line with their privately announced projections, but said that "peer pressure" could lead to a success.

Although there are no sanctions to enforce the agreement, he acknowledged, "no one of these countries now believes that it can manage all by itself. All of them know that they need the others in order to survive. . . . There is a growing consciousness of the need to work together," he said.

The background comments of the senior official appeared designed to do two things: To answer the general criticism of the Venice summit, by assuring "that there is substance there, and, for we in the fund, a major responsibility and quite a challenge.

And to assert that the IMF would play an aggressive role in fostering economic cooperation within the limits of the agreement.

He said that a "totally new" agreement at the Venice summit was that the IMF had been asked to develop "a medium-term scenario," as well as alternative suggested scenarios, for the seven nations as a group. That exercise would focus attention on the interaction of the major economies and their impact on the rest of the world.

"We have been invited {by the summit heads} to do permanent monitoring of these developments, and from time to time, there will be yellow lights flashing. I hope it will be only a yellow light, and not a red flag," he said.

He also contended that the leaders of the United States, West Germany, Japan, Britain, France, Canada, and Italy had committed to the need for additional economic stimulus. The IMF official cited paragraph 10 of the Venice commmunique, which said that the seven agreed that "if in the future, world economic growth is insufficient, additional actions will be required to meet their common objectives."

When several reporters suggested that this language is vague, and, in fact, had been watered down in Venice at the insistence of West Germany, the IMF official acknowledged that "the language is weak, but it exists. If {growth} starts to show a real deterioration, we have for the next year a good starting point for what the Tokyo summit promised. And the IMF will work hard for a better coordination of economic policies, because the world needs better economic policies."

He warned that no one should expect an immediate modification of any country's behavior. "All of this is important, but we are involved in an evolving process," he said.