Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt Jr. is attempting to force author Tad Szulc to reveal his sources who say that Hunt was the CIA's acting chief in Mexico City when President Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was allegedly there.

Hunt yesterday filed an action in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, seeking to have Szulc, a former New York Times reporter, cited for contempt if he refuses to name his sources. Hunt has claimed that Szulc's sources are essential to a $2 million libel suit he is pressing against author Alan J. Weberman.

Hunt has said Weberman's book "Coup d'Etat in America. The CIA and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy," libeled him by linking him to a Kennedy assassination plot.

Hunt, a former CIA employe, has denied his was in Mexico City in 1963, according to his Miami attorney, Ellis Rubin Rubin said that statements in Weberman's book placing Hunt in Mexico City were taken from Szulc's book, "Compulsive Spy": The Strange Career of E. howard Hunt."

Hunt, a novelist and chief recruiter and lookout for the Watergate burglary, served 32 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy, burglary and illegal wiretapping in the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Wasington. Rubin said Hunt is now painting and writing in Miami.

During a June deposition Szulc, now a Washington free-lance writer, refused to reveal his sources, citing "the professional confidentiality of sources" and "Journalistic privilege," according to court papers.

"A free-lancer can't just refuse to answer a question because he's written a book," Rubin said yesterday. Knowing Szulc's source is not only important to the libel suit, Rubin said yesterday. The passage "is what everybody uses as an authority . . . he's cited in everything written on E. Howard Hunt," the lawyer said.

Rubin said knowing Szulc's source may put an end to rumors linking Hunt to the Kennedy assassination.