Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. today appointed a controversial former Vietnam war prisoner to the Board of Supervisors in Orange County, south of Los Angeles, after being caught in a two-day crossfire over the decision.

At the center of the fray was Edison Miller, a 48-year-old attorney who was retired from the Marine Corps six years ago under formal censure after an investigation into charges that he collaborated with the North Vietnamese.

Actress Jane Fonda and her husband, Tom Hayden, are Miller's principal supporters. Lt. Gov. Mike Curb, among the opponents, called the proposed appointment "an irresponsible action."

A steady stream of calls and visitors poured into Brown's office, starting Thursday and continuing today, seeking to influence Brown on the Miller appointment.

Navy Capt. John McCain, another ex-POW now serving as liaison officer to the U.S. Senate, said Miller had made tapes "not only condemning U.S. participation in the war but also the United States as a government."

Miller denied taping statements against the United States "as a government," but said he made tapes condemning U.S. participation in the Vietnam war.

The Orange County board vacancy was created by the conviction of former Supervisor Ralph Diedrich on bribery charges. Diedrich was sentenced Monday to one to 14 years.