Western industrialized nations will hold two separate meetings this week to discuss the problem of international terrorism, but they are unlikely to agree to Reagan administration calls for sanctions against Beirut Airport, according to officials from a number of their governments interviewed during the past week.
European Community foreign ministers meeting Monday and Tuesday in Brussels will discuss possible measures to improve airport security and guidelines for dealing with actual hijackings.
On Wednesday and Thursday, terrorism experts from the economic summit group, including the United States, Japan, Canada, France, Britain, West Germany and Italy, will meet in Bonn to consider measures to strengthen existing antihijacking agreements.
There is widespread commitment in Europe to take some sort of coordinated action against terrorism. Japan and Canada -- both involved last month in airline bombing incidents -- have indicated that they intend to follow the U.S. lead at the meeting in Bonn.
But even Britain, which has been the most supportive publicly of the U.S. call for sanctions against Beirut, is reluctant to act on that issue without an overall Western European agreement. Officials say that will not be achieved.
The U.S. decision to boycott Beirut Airport and Lebanon's state-run Middle East Airlines was announced July 1, one day after Moslem extremists released 39 American hostages held in Beirut for 17 days after the hijacking of a TWA jet. So far, no other western government has taken similar action.
There is a general feeling that Washington's lack of consultation before announcing its own unilateral sanctions made it harder to support appeals to follow suit. Since then, the Arab League has strongly opposed the sanctions and made persistent appeals in European capitals for rejection.
But beyond the question of sanctions against Beirut, officials from a range of western governments said any kind of joint action against terrorism is made difficult by individual foreign policy goals, national laws and existing bilateral agreements outside the western groups.
In addition, allied governments have perceptions that differ from the United States on both the overall problem of terrorism and how to deal with it.
"Terrorism for Europeans is an internal problem mostly, while for the United States it is an external one," one European diplomat said.
For Europe and Japan, terrorism generally means bombings and attacks by rightist or leftist groups within their own countries -- a "political problem" rather than a predominantly military one. Over the years, each has had to deal with its own domestic terrorist threat -- the Provisional Irish Republican Army in Britain, the Red Brigades in Italy, the Red Army Faction in West Germany, the Red Army in Japan, Direct Action and others in France -- in a way the United States has not.
Some have had problems on an international level, including last year's shooting of a London policewoman from Libya's diplomatic mission here and the subsequent refusal of Libya to allow British citizens and diplomats to leave Tripoli, and attacks against French and British installations in Beirut.
But while these U.S. allies share the administration's concern over the proliferation of international terrorist attacks, some are reluctant to support U.S. measures that may not coincide with their own foreign policy interests.
France, as the former colonial power, considers its relationship with Lebanon special, for example. Italy also has had good relations with the Lebanese Shiite Moslems as a result of the highly popular role of the Italian peace-keeping force that served in Beirut.
The close U.S. relationship with Israel also makes it difficult for the Europeans to coordinate Middle East policy with Washington.
Although privately they may share the administration's view of Iran as one of the masterminds behind the wave of terrorism aimed at U.S. interests, most European countries and Japan have worked hard to establish good relations with the new Iranian government.
U.S. policy toward Nicaragua, another of the countries Reagan has identified as part of an international terrorist "federation," has made most Western European governments uncomfortable.
U.S. officials privately express frustration over the lack of European support for concerted action immediately after the TWA incident. But, at the cost of some embarrassment, the administration now is reassessing its whole approach toward cooperation with its allies against terrorism.
It has muted its sanctions call and shifted emphasis to negotiating directly with Lebanese authorities over the airport in Beirut. While "consultations" with the allies over sanctions officially are continuing, administration officials in Washington said that the U.S. approach is now more bilateral and low-key.
Even by itself, Europe has had difficulty coming to agreement on antiterrorism measures. Despite calls by Britain's Margaret Thatcher for a strong antiterrorism statement during last month's meeting of EC heads of state in Milan, no such declaration was made. Instead, lower level officials have drafted proposals to present to their foreign ministers this week in Brussels.
One possibility, officials said, was an EC-wide agreement for special handling of flights coming from sensitive areas such as Beirut. Some countries already have begun additional baggage checks and quarantines of such flights. Although none of their national airlines currently flies into Beirut, Middle East Airlines and other carriers still serving Lebanon fly into Europe.
Another suggestion is for a joint commitment to refuse, in advance, to accede to any terrorist demands. The British hope other governments will match Thatcher's pledge of last week to refuse to allow any hijacked plane that lands in their countries to take off, to refuse to release prisoners in response to terrorist demands and to avoid publicizing terrorist statements.
In terms of Beirut Airport, officials pointed to a possible collective offer to match the U.S. offer of assistance in providing technical training and equipment to improve airport security.
But any joint EC action, officials acknowledged, would have to meet a "lowest common denominator" of approval among them. Greece, which has particularly close ties to the Arabs and whose government was angered by a U.S. travel advisory against Athens Airport on the grounds that the TWA hijackers boarded there, is likely to resist a commitment to punitive moves.
In any case, because of the need for further consultation by the governments involved, no firm decisions are expected in this week's meetings.
The Bonn meeting will include terrorism experts from the seven countries who have met regularly since the 1978 summit adopted an antihijacking resolution. That agreement calls for each of the seven to "take immediate action to cease all flights" connected with any country that "refuses extradition or prosecution of those who have hijacked an aircraft or does not return such aircraft."
So far, despite what State Department legal adviser Abraham D. Sofaer last week called "all the grisly stories" of hijackings, the agreement has been implemented only once, after a Pakistani group hijacked an airplane to Afghanistan in 1981.
According to Sofaer, in a speech to the American Bar Association convention here, the U.S. administration wants to "amend the Bonn declaration to provide for a range of sanctions, and for their swift imposition whenever any important aspect of the aviation conventions is violated."
Should the TWA hijackers not be "brought to justice," Sofaer said, "we will be faced with the option of seeking action" under the 1978 declaration. "However persistently we pursue this course, it is a difficult one, depending on the will and courage of seven nations, each with independent interests and views."
According to U.S. officials in Washington, the administration will not push vigorously for specific agreements in Bonn, but rather will listen for what other governments have to offer.
There is some hope within the Thatcher government, which tends to share Reagan's perception of the terrorist threat and general world view more than some of the other allies, that "political will coupled with recent experience" will make agreement easier than in the past, said one official. "Our view is that there are overriding issues of air safety" above bilateral agreements or individual policies.
But "simplicity gives rise to its own problems," he acknowledged, and strong doubt remains as to whether any group of nations, however committed, can pledge in advance to respond in a given way to a set of circumstances no matter who or what is involved.