Tonight, President Reagan is scheduled to hold his 42nd formal news conference. This chart, based on information from the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, shows the dates of the previous 41 news conferences in the first column and their major topics in the second column.

1981

Jan. 29 - U.S.-Iranian relations, U.S.-Soviet relations, inflation -

March 6 - U.S. aid to El Salvador -

June 16 - Budget, tax cut proposals -

Oct. 1 - Protection of Saudi oil fields -

Nov. 10 - Economic program -

Dec. 17 - Martial law in Poland, Libyan "hit squads" -

1982

Jan. 19 - The economy, administration leaks -

Feb. 18 - The economy, Federal Reserve Board -

March 31 - The economy, budget compromise -

May 13 - The economy, Social Security -

June 30 - Alexander M. Haig Jr. resignation, charges against Raymond J. Donovan -

July 28 - The economy, defense budget -

Sept. 28 - Marine presence in Beirut -

Nov. 11 - The economy, U.S.-Soviet relations -

1983

Jan. 5 - Budget, taxes, appointment of Elizabeth Hanford Dole as transportation secretary -

Feb. 16 - AWACS sent to Egypt, EPA investigation -

May 17 - Budget, taxes -

June 28 - "Debategate" -

July 26 - U.S. involvement in Central America -

Oct. 19 - No announcement on running for reelection -

Dec. 20 - Marines in Lebanon -

1984

Feb. 22 - Marines in Lebanon -

April 4 - Chemical-arms ban -

May 22 - Central American aid package -

June 14 - Conditions for superpower summit -

July 24 - Taxes, Geraldine A. Ferraro -

1985

Jan. 9 - Social Security benefits -

Feb. 21 - Sandinista government in Nicaragua -

March 21 - U.S. role in Mideast peace talks -

May 10 - Contra funds, budget proposal -

June 18 - TWA hostage crisis -

Sept. 17 - Strategic Defense Initiative -

1986

Jan. 7 - Rome and Vienna airport bombings -

Feb. 11 - White House budget proposal, George Bush's presidential aspirations -

April 9 - U.S.-Libyan relations -

May 7 - Tokyo economic summit -

June 11 - SALT II Treaty, shuttle explosion -

Aug. 12 - Farm assistance, U.S.-South Africa relations -

Nov. 19 - Arms to Iran -

1987

March 19 - Budget, Iran-contra affair -

June 11 - Venice economic summit, Iran-contra affair -

wight D. Eisenhower-193 news conferences, January 1953 to January 1961- John F. Kennedy- 64 news conferences, January 1961 to November 1963- Lyndon B. Johnson-135 news conferences, November 1963 to January 1969- Richard M. Nixon- 37 news conferences, January 1969 to August 1974- Gerald R. Ford- 39 news conferences, August 1974 to January 1977- Jimmy Carter- 59 news conferences, January 1977 to January 1981-