It was the climactic finish of the western economic summit as West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl took the podium at the Bundestag today to read the final communique.

But some of the world's leaders seemed ready to fall asleep while listening to their handiwork.

As Kohl read passages about "the establishment of a research network on dry zone grains," and "pressing environmental problems such as acid deposition" -- usually known as acid rain -- the leaders, along with their foreign and economic ministers, fidgeted and looked out at the audience as if in a daze.

President Reagan pensively grasped the earphone through which he listened to an English interpreter. One Canadian official put his head into his hands in a sign of weariness.

Secretary of State George P. Shultz admitted later he had a "little trouble" staying awake himself.

"The time zone is hard, and you get up very early in the morning, and you work hard all day, and you're up at night for the very wonderful dinners. But, anyway, you don't get an awful lot of sleep," Shultz said. "I just speak for myself."

"It was a kind of boring communique, though, don't you think?" a reporter asked.

"Well, as a matter of fact, I thought it was fantastic," Shultz responded, laughing.

ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER Bettino Craxi seemed to be the summit guest who had the hardest time getting an audience with Reagan.

Perhaps it was because he came to Bonn bearing a critical letter from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The letter talked of Gorbachev's missile moratorium and reiterated his criticism of Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative.

White House officials twice postponed scheduled meetings with Craxi. Other leaders -- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, Kohl and French President Francois Mitterrand -- were each afforded hour-long sessions with Reagan before the summit began.

Craxi finally got his meeting. He and Reagan sat in a corner and chatted after a luncheon of the world leaders. Shultz said it was a "little longer" than five minutes.

UNLIKE THE OTHER national leaders, Reagan did not hold a news conference after the summit, and has not in the past. But a group of West German newspaper reporters got a rare opportunity to chat with him at a reception last night at Augustusburg Castle, a favorite spot for West German official receptions, which dates back to the 18th century.

The reporters invited to the event elicited a host of old and new Reaganisms, some of which were quoted in the German press.

When one reporter commented that Reagan looked pale next to the tanned Shultz, the president laughed. "George always picks the sunny countries for his travels," Reagan said. "He is always going somewhere and I am stuck in Washington. Sometimes I don't even know where he is."

Asked what he would do in Bonn if he could do what he wanted, Reagan's eyes lit up. "I would go for a ride on the Autobahn, really tear along, that would be fun," he is quoted as saying. "When I was governor of California and not yet president, under President Nixon, I was in Munich once. We drove along the Autobahn then -- that was great."

"Now, I can't get behind the steering wheel of a car anymore -- for security reasons. A while ago we were at our ranch in Santa Barbara. We took the jeep. Nancy and I got into the back seat. There we were, sitting there and no chauffeur. That's how much we've gotten used to just being driven."

AS TENSIONS MOUNTED over trade issues, Reagan told Mitterrand a joke.

According to a White House official, Reagan told of a farmer who won $1 million in a lottery. Asked what he was going to do, the farmer said, "I'm going to keep farming until I go broke."