President Reagan will attempt to smother the controversy over his plans to visit the West German military cemetery at Bitburg next month, partly by honoring during the same trip Germans who fought the Nazis during World War II, sources said yesterday.

"They're going to squash Bitburg into 18 seconds," one administration official said, describing White House efforts to direct attention away from the controversial cemetery visit through Reagan's speeches and appearances while in West Germany.

The White House strategy became known as the furor continued over Reagan's announced plan to lay a wreath May 5 at the Bitburg cemetery, where 47 soldiers from Hitler's Waffen-SS are buried among nearly 2,000 German war dead.

In Congress yesterday, House Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.) blocked consideration of a resolution sponsored by Democrats calling on Reagan to reconsider the Bitburg trip. Lott said it represented a "gratuitous slap" at Reagan. But he also said he feels "very strongly" that Reagan should find another site.

Almost 200 members of Congress signed a letter to West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl urging him to reconsider the invitation to Reagan. The letter, initiated by Rep. Bob Mrazek (D-N.Y.), said the trip has become an "embarrassing incident" for Reagan.

In Bonn, Kohl said in a speech to Parliament that many Nazi troops had "no chance to escape conscription into the Waffen-SS." Kohl said he regrets that Reagan has run into protests over the planned visit but added that the trip will go ahead as scheduled next month.

In New York, Edgar M. Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress, announced that leaders of Jewish communities in 70 nations will call on U.S. ambassadors in their countries to urge Reagan to drop the Bitburg trip. It also was announced that European Jewish communities are planning a "massive demonstration" outside the gates of the cemetery if Reagan goes there. The World Jewish Congress also said that demonstrations are planned in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, on May 5. And leaders of Conservative Judaism said yesterday that they will observe a day of "mourning, prayer and fasting" if Reagan visits Bitburg.

Also yesterday, Rabbi William Berkowitz, national president of the American Jewish Heritage Committee, met with Peter Sympher, the West German consul-general in New York City, to urge Kohl to change the Reagan itinerary. In a statement afterward, Berkowitz said German insistence that Reagan make the visit "casts the Kohl government in a negative light and makes it seem as though they condone the SS."

The former national security affairs adviser to President Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, also criticized the Bitburg visit yesterday.

In a breakfast meeting with reporters, he said the episode has become a "holy mess" that has "weakened" the president on the eve of his European tour.

Brzezinski suggested, as have others, that Reagan pay tribute to those who fought the Nazis. He said the Soviet Union has been wanting to use the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II to "flagellate" the West Germans, and the controversy over Bitburg may play into their hands.

He added that he thinks the controversy will have the positive effect of jogging memories about the Holocaust. He said the Germans should be reminded that they have a "historical responsibility that can't be thrown off."

White House officials have tried to avoid comment on the controversy in recent days. A Reagan news conference scheduled for this week was scrubbed because aides feared that questions about Bitburg would dominate it.

"If Bitburg and the controversy surrounding it dominates the trip, that would be a shame," said a senior administration official, who spoke on condition he not be identified, in briefing reporters yesterday on Reagan's plans.

Officials said no additional Aides Hope To Smother Trip Furor Reagan Will Honor Anti-Nazi Effort While in Germany By David Hoffman Washington Post Staff Writer

President Reagan will attempt to smother the controversy over his plans to visit the West German military cemetery at Bitburg next month, partly by honoring during the same trip Germans who fought the Nazis during World War II, sources said yesterday.

"They're going to squash Bitburg into 18 seconds," one administration official said, describing White House efforts to direct attention away from the controversial cemetery visit through Reagan's speeches and appearances while in West Germany.

The White House strategy became known as the furor continued over Reagan's announced plan to lay a wreath May 5 at the Bitburg cemetery, where 47 soldiers from Hitler's Waffen-SS are buried among nearly 2,000 German war dead.

In Congress yesterday, House Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.) blocked consideration of a resolution sponsored by Democrats calling on Reagan to reconsider the Bitburg trip. Lott said it represented a "gratuitous slap" at Reagan. But he also said he feels "very strongly" that Reagan should find another site.

Almost 200 members of Congress signed a letter to West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl urging him to reconsider the invitation to Reagan. The letter, initiated by Rep. Bob Mrazek (D-N.Y.), said the trip has become an "embarrassing incident" for Reagan.

In Bonn, Kohl said in a speech to Parliament that many Nazi troops had "no chance to escape conscription into the Waffen-SS." Kohl said he regrets that Reagan has run into protests over the planned visit but added that the trip will go ahead as scheduled next month.

In New York, Edgar M. Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress, announced that leaders of Jewish communities in 70 nations will call on U.S. ambassadors in their countries to urge Reagan to drop the Bitburg trip. It also was announced that European Jewish communities are planning a "massive demonstration" outside the gates of the cemetery if Reagan goes there. The World Jewish Congress also said that demonstrations are planned in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, on May 5. And leaders of Conservative Judaism said yesterday that they will observe a day of "mourning, prayer and fasting" if Reagan visits Bitburg.

Also yesterday, Rabbi William Berkowitz, national president of the American Jewish Heritage Committee, met with Peter Sympher, the West German consul-general in New York City, to urge Kohl to change the Reagan itinerary. In a statement afterward, Berkowitz said German insistence that Reagan make the visit "casts the Kohl government in a negative light and makes it seem as though they condone the SS."

The former national security affairs adviser to President Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, also criticized the Bitburg visit yesterday.

In a breakfast meeting with reporters, he said the episode has become a "holy mess" that has "weakened" the president on the eve of his European tour.

Brzezinski suggested, as have others, that Reagan pay tribute to those who fought the Nazis. He said the Soviet Union has been wanting to use the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II to "flagellate" the West Germans, and the controversy over Bitburg may play into their hands.

He added that he thinks the controversy will have the positive effect of jogging memories about the Holocaust. He said the Germans should be reminded that they have a "historical responsibility that can't be thrown off."

White House officials have tried to avoid comment on the controversy in recent days. A Reagan news conference scheduled for this week was scrubbed because aides feared that questions about Bitburg would dominate it.

"If Bitburg and the controversy surrounding it dominates the trip, that would be a shame," said a senior administration official, who spoke on condition he not be identified, in briefing reporters yesterday on Reagan's plans.

Officials said no additional stops are being included in the itinerary. But they said Reagan's appearances and his rhetoric are being planned with an eye toward countering the Bitburg protests with remarks honoring leaders of the resistance. Also, Reagan may drop plans to lay a wreath during his Bitburg visit.

One resistance leader, suggested yesterday by Rabbi Berkowitz, was the Rev. Martin Niemoeller, a German Protestant preacher who led church opposition to Hitler and survived the Dachau concentration camp. He died last year at age 92. stops are being included in the itinerary. But they said Reagan's appearances and his rhetoric are being planned with an eye toward countering the Bitburg protests with remarks honoring leaders of the resistance. Also, Reagan may drop plans to lay a wreath during his Bitburg visit.

One resistance leader, suggested yesterday by Rabbi Berkowitz, was the Rev. Martin Niemoeller, a German Protestant preacher who led church opposition to Hitler and survived the Dachau concentration camp. He died last year at age 92.