In Eastern Europe, the government-run media have followed the official Soviet line that Tuesday's U.S. election offers no real choice. As the Czechoslovak Communist Party newspaper Rude Pravo wrote, the two candidates are "six of one and half a dozen of the other."

Nevertheless, like their Western European counterparts, Eastern European officials also are anxious to salvage as much of detente as possible and to promote negotiations to reduce East-West tensions that soared following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Consequently, as one Polish official put it, President Carter is preferred over challenger Ronald Reagan as "a known quantity."

Another Polish official told Washington Post correspondent Bradley Graham in Warsaw that "the arrival of Reagan [in the White House] would make a change in policy. Maybe not so much as people expect, since what Reagan is talking about cannot be implemented given the current world situation. But the climate would change.

"It is true as people say that in the past the Republicans made the major steps" in improving East-West relations, he said. "But I think better relations can be reestablished most quickly with Carter."

In East Berlin, however, a senior official took the opposite line. "The Soviets would know where they are with Reagan, which is more than they do with Carter," the official told Reuter. "In the past they showed they can talk to hard-liners such as Richard Nixon."