Delays in announcing the appointments of subcabinet-level and White House officials are the result of slow clearances by the FBI, an aide to President Carter said yesterday.

Jack H. Watson Jr., a special assistant to Carter, said that yesterday's Cabinet meeting at the White House was followed by an informal session involving most of the Cabinet members to discuss subcabinet appointments.

The administration has sent few nominations for second-level jobs to the Senate, where many must be confirmed. Well-placed sources have reported some disarray in the White House office of Hamilton Jordan, the President's chief political aide who is principally responsible for clearing top-level appointments.

But Watson said the FBI was the chief source of delay. He said many people had been chosen for jobs on the White House staff and in Cabinet departments but their names had not been announced or formally sent to the Senate because they had not yet received final clearance.

The Carter administration has had some trouble clearing appointments in advance with members of Congress who felt they should have been told of certain appointments. Even House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill Jr. has complained privately that he was not properly consulted about Carter's choice of Elliot L. Richardson to be special negotiator at the Law of the Sea Conference.

Administration sources report some continued tension as a result of Cabinet members' desire to choose their own assistants and the natural instinct of Carter's political associates to influence selections of subcabinet-level personnel.

These sources say these selected by Cabinet members must be cleared through Jordan's office.

At a lunch with reporters Watson revealed the names of his staff, though he said FBI clearances were not complet on them, either. He has appointed:

Larry Bailey, 35, of Charleston, W. Va., a black who was formerly assistant director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He will handle intergovernmental relations for Watson in the White House. (Watson is Cabinet secretary and the President's representative in relations with city and state governments.)

Jane Frank, a lawyer and former assistant to Sen. John V. Tunney (D-Calif.) who will help Watson deal with the Cabinet.

Cynthia Wilkes, 25, Watson's administrative assistant when he was chairman of the board of the Georgia Department of Human Resources. She will be his administrative aide here.

Jim Parham, 48, who was chief executive officer of that same Georgia department when Watson worked there. Watson called him an expert on relations between the federal government and the states and said he will work in that field.

Bruce Kirchenbaum, 31, a lawyer who was previously Washington representative of the City of New York and an aide to Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R-N.Y.).