Former CIA director William Colby has agreed to pay the government $10,000 to settle a dispute over whether he violated his secrecy agreement by publishing a book without CIA approval, the Justice Department said yesterday.

Colby's payment of $10,000 and pledge in the future to obey the CIA secrecy agreements he signed in 1950 and 1958 is a "full and complete settlement" of the dispute arising from the 1977 publication of "Honorable Men: My Life in the CIA."

Deputy Attorney General Edward Schmults said the settlement between Colby and the department's civil division was reached Dec. 28.

Schmults said the secrecy agreements required Colby, as a former employe, to seek approval from the CIA before publication of any classified information.

The settlement said that although Colby's publisher, Simon and Schuster, received the manuscript with the understanding that publication was subject to CIA review, the publisher distributed copies to a French publisher before certain sensitive passages could be deleted by the CIA.

Assistant Attorney General J. Paul McGrath, head of the civil division, said yesterday that the CIA considered Colby's publication arrangement "a breach of Colby's secrecy obligation." He said the CIA had referred the matter to the Justice Department, asking that a lawsuit against Colby be considered.

The settlement agreement binds Colby to his original promises "not to publish or participate in the publication of any information or material relating to the agency, its activities or intelligence activities generally" without agency approval.

The government contends that all CIA employes and former employes are bound by such agreements.

The government has sued several former CIA agents in recent years for publishing information about CIA activities without clearance from the agency.

The Supreme Court, in a landmark decision, upheld a government charge that former agent Frank Snepp violated his position of trust when he published a book about the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam without first obtaining approval from the CIA.

Snepp was ordered to turn over to the government $140,000 in profits from the book, "Decent Interval." CAPTION: Picture, WILLIAM COLBY. . .must pay government $10,000.