The White House isn't sinking. But it does appear to be rotating.

So say preliminary findings from a survey team that spent five days last month in a routine check of the presidential mansion's foundation.

The rotation is barely measurable, and even if confirmed through further checking is no cause for immediate alarm.

Charles Whales, an official of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's geodetic survey, said his findings indicate the southwest corner of the White House, adjacent to the Rose Garden, has sunk five one-hundredths of an inch since a 1971 survey.

But at the same time the northeast corner, on the left to a person facing the building from Pennsylvanai Avenue, has risen about the same distance.

"This would really indicate that you're having a slight rotation about an axis which would run through the southwest and northeast corners of the White House," Whalen said.

He said the apparent rotation could be a result of normal settling following the extensive renovation of the presidential mansion during the Truman administration.

Even if the movement continues, it would not necessarily cause cracks in the walls, provided the settling continues as evenly as it apparently has so far, Whalen said.