French paratroopers flew to the Chad capital of Ndjamena to rescue 4,000 Westerners in the strife-torn former French colony and the U.S State Department said approximately 260 Americans have been advised to leave the country.

Meanwhile, informed sources in Paris said a cease-fire between rebel Moslem guerrillas led by Premier Hissen Habre and forces loyal to the government of President Felix Malloum appeared to be holding.

Habre's forces still appeared to hold the upper hand, and Malloum was reported to be under French protection at the airport.

A mission from Sudan, currently presiding over the Organization of African Unity, was expected in Ndjamena soon to try to negotiate a reconciliation between the two sides, the sources said.

The French Foreign Ministry reported that four French citizens, including a woman, had been killed in the fighting, which began Monday. Sources said the French citizens who died included a military adviser to Chad's army and the pilot of a DC4 airliner.

About 550 French citizens, mostly women and children, had been evacuated from Chad, to Libreville, capital of Gabon, the Foreign Ministry said.

State Department spokesman Hodding Carter III said the United States was arranging to evacuate official dependents, nonessential U.S. government personnel and any private U.S. citizens who wish to leave.

Carter added that France has offered to help in the evacuation and said about 30 Americans left Chad Thursday on the French shuttle to Libreville. He said Washington had received a report that one American, identified as George Henry Suhre, a pilot for the Continental Oil Co., was killed by a stray bullet during the fighting in Chad Wednesday.

In Geneva, the International Red Cross Committee announced that it transported 20 wounded persons from Abeche in eastern Chad to Ndjamena following fighting in Abeche, which reportedly was captured by rebels.

The apparent defeat of Malloum may spell the end of 20 years of French military and political support for the Christian-dominated central government. French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing said at a press conference Thursday that France now favors a restructuring of the Chad government.