In the small print of the 950-page appendix to the budget are found flashes of government actions that often provide a better picture of an administration's intentions than the rhetoric of the President's message.

President Ford, for example, criticized programs for failing to aid "intended beneficiaries" and instead rewarding "those who have learned how to work the Washington system."

Ford's budget shows a new emphasis on investigation fraud in federal programs.

Supplemental money in fact is being sought to beef up investigations in the current year. There is an added $4 million to HEW's Office of Education to trace down "fraud and abuse" in education programs. To emphasize the point, that same office is requesting $32 million this year to pay for defaults on guaranteed student loans.

Another $6 million is being requested to audit the child-support enforcement program in HEW's public assistance and expand prevention of fraud and abuse in the Medicaid program. Medical payments, the budge also notes, must be increased by $600 million this year because of higher-than-expected demands.

HEW's newly authorized inspector general is seeking an additional $1 million supplemental appropriation for this year and a $25 million full year's appropriation in 1978.

Another investigative unit being beefed up is the Internal Revenue Service's compliance unit. It is in line for a $41 million supplemental appropriation which emphasizes money for tax fraud investigations and expanded audits. Ironically, this same unit was cut back from its 1976 level by $3 million in this year's budget process. The budge appendix shows that in 1977 the number of returns examined and taxpayers put under investigation was scheduled to decline from the totals of 1976.

The Justice Department is asking for supplemental funds to pay for a slightly different type of investigative matter. It is seeking funds this year "to represent present and former federal employees accused of using illegal investigative technicques."

Although the budget shows that President Ford's swine flu immunization program will cost $35 million less then expected, the Justice Department is also asking for supplemental funds of more than $1 million "for litigation arising from the swine flu . . . program.

The budget also shows there is a new government-wide concern with firefighting. The Agriculture Department's Forest Service cut back its 1977 budget requests, preferring to take money to fight forest fires from other accounts when the need arose.

Now a $207 million supplemental appropriation is being sought because some 242,514 acres burned last year, up 40 per cent from the year before.

In addition, the Interior Department is seeking $20 million in supplemental funds to cover costs of forest and range fires. Interior, like the forest Service, didn't have fire money on hand.It took the needed funds from its land and water conservation fund.

Even the Bureau of Indian Affairs gets into the firefighting act. It is seeking a $2.8 million supplemental appropriation to be used to "suppress forest and range wildfires."

The Justice Department's federal prison system wants a $22 million supplemental to construct a youth correctional facility at Lake Placid, N.Y., site of the 1980 winter Olympic games. Justice will permit the institution to "be utilized initially, as housing for Olympic athletes," according to the budget.

Several government studies are advertised in the budget that will have a future impact on spending.

A $1.7 million supplemental appropriation is requested to pay for a nation-wide study on the needs of handicapped children since legislation passed last year calls for an appropriate free education to every afflicted child.

In the Maritime Administration, according to the budget, "an intensive analysis of the basis of federal support for the maritime industry" is proposed for 1977. Pending its completion, no new budget authority for ship construction subsidies or ship operating subsidies have been requested.

In the Defense Department, military construction for next year has been slashed $1 billion pending outcome of a special presidential study and preparation of a "multiyear program for the modernization of essential domestic defense installations." Closing down of outmoded military bases has been a continuing problem for Defense secretaries over the past 10 years.

The budget contains $14.5 million to operate the Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y. That's $300,000 above this year's budget. But the Ford budget also says legislation will be proposed "to introduce charges for tuition, room and board" at Kings Point beginning with the class that enters July 1978. No tuition is charged at the three military service academics nor is any contemplated.