Libyan ruler Col. Muammar Qaddafi said last night that he did not expect to take any action in retaliation for expulsion of his country's representatives from Washington but left open the possibility of future action regarding oil supplies.

Qaddafi was interviewed in Trippoli on the Public Broadcasting Service's MacNeil-Lehrer Report, and his remarks were his first since the United States ousted his diplomats, charging the Tripoli government and its "People's Bureau" here with unacceptable conduct and support of terrorism.

Speaking in frequently broken English, Qaddafi said, "I don't now expect anything" when asked about potential retaliation. Libya lost nothing because of the expulsion, and the United States had made a childish and unjustified act, he said.

When the interviewer then said specifically, "so you don't intend to use oil as a weapon of retaliation," Qaddafi answered: "That is another matter. Oil is power and is a weapon in our hands, and we have a full right to use it when it is a necessity."

"But it is not a necessity now?" he was asked. Qaddafi answered that the Libyan people's congress may discuss this matter "and decide what is suitable and right."

Qaddafi reiterated that the approximately 2,000 Americans in Libya are safe and needed to help with oil production. He said nothing will happen to them "until the situation deteriorates."

Asked what that meant, Qaddafi suggested that he felt the United States may be planning additional steps against Libya, the third largest supplier of oil to the United States. s