Rep. Robert E. Bauman (R-Md.) said yesterday he will visit Panama to gather facts supporting his belief that American control over the Panama Canal should not be relinquished because Panama "doesn't have the capacity to operate the canal."

Bauman, who opposes approval of the treaties that would eventually give Panama control of the canal, said the will be the first House member to visit the county since President Carter last year agreed to the arrangement.

Although approval of the treaties is required only by the Senate, Bauman and 43 other House members have filed suit in U.S. District Court here to give the House a voice in the decision too.

Before leaving on the five-day government-paid trip Thursday, Bauman said he plans to confer with Panamanian exiles who he said will give him the names of opponents of Panamanian chief of state Omer Torrijos, with whom Bauman also hopes to meet.

Bauman said he did not seek the help of either the State Department or the military in planning the trip because he feared he would get only their view of the situation.

He will be accompanied by Ernest Corrado, chief counsel of the House Merchant Bauman is a member. The committee oversees operations of the Panama Canal Co., which is helping Bauman arrange an itinerary.

Except for mileage paid for his daily commute between Easton and the Capitol, Bauman said this is his first trip at public expense since being elected to Congress four years ago.