Prosecutors began yesterday to portray former White House aide Michael K. Deaver as a well-paid Washington lobbyist who did little to earn the six-figure retainers he won from major clients that he secured for his firm.

C. Edward Meyer, former Trans World Airlines president and chief executive officer, testified that he agreed to pay Deaver's firm $250,000 as part of TWA's effort to thwart a New York investor's attempt to take over the airline.

But Meyer, one of the first prosecution witnesses at the perjury trial of President Reagan's former deputy chief of staff, said he could recall only two specific instances when Deaver helped.

Deaver told him once, Meyer said, that he was going to try contacting then-Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Hanford Dole, and the other time he offered to help TWA regain the aircraft hijacked to Beirut in the summer of 1985.

Prosecutors have charged that Deaver ultimately contacted Dole and others on behalf of TWA and later lied about his actions to a federal grand jury investigating his lobbying contacts.

Independent counsel Whitney North Seymour Jr., prosecuting Deaver on five counts of lying to a congressional subcommittee and the federal grand jury, also produced the top American executive of a British advertising firm that had agreed to acquire for about $16 million the lobbying firm formed by Deaver after he left the White House.

Andrew Woods, deputy chairman of London-based Saatchi & Saatchi, said the firm quickly grew disenchanted with the deal after Deaver became the focus of "unfavorable publicity" accusing him of attempting to trade on his White House ties.

Defense lawyers sought to blame the transaction's collapse on top officers of the advertising firm, who they said were Jewish and offended at the furor over Reagan's decision to visit a Germany cemetery near Bitburg where Nazi SS soldiers were buried.

Deaver, who planned and executed all of Reagan's public appearances, was responsible for the controversial visit.

Stephen L. Braga, a member of Deaver's defense team, also sought to blame Walter Annenberg, former U.S. ambassador to Great Britain, for sabotaging the merger.

Questioning Woods, Braga contended that Annenberg also was offended by the cemetery visit and had called a top Saatchi official in an effort to kill the deal. Woods testified that he knew nothing about such efforts.

Annenberg, reached yesterday at his Philadelphia office, said he had attempted to scuttle the transaction because he believed that the image of Deaver "stepping out of the White House and accepting an $18 {million} to $20 million position" was "very destructive" to the president.

"If a Democrat had been president, I'd have done the same thing," said Annenberg, a Republican and a friend of Reagan. "It was done pro bono publico . . . a responsibility of citizenship."

Annenberg, publisher of TV Guide magazine, said Saatchi officials "saw the point."

Meyer, who negotiated the $250,000 contract with Deaver on the telephone, said promised contact with Dole was important because she could grant TWA's request for a hearing on whether investor Carl Icahn, mounting a hostile takeover of TWA, would be qualified to run the airline.

TWA contended that Icahn, who ultimately won control of the company, did not have the credentials to run an air carrier.

Seymour said in his opening statement Tuesday that the question of what Deaver did to earn his large lobbying fees was one of the critical questions jurors would have to ask in determining whether Deaver lied.

He has contended that Deaver did little for his fees despite his claim that he planned "corporate strategies" and that he lied in part to save the sale of his company to Saatchi, a transaction that would have given him most of the $16 million.

Yesterday, the defense sought to argue that the Saatchi deal was dead when Deaver appeared May 16, 1986, before a House subcommittee investigating his lobbying activities, and Woods appeared to back them in that claim.

He said that, while the Deaver acquisition had been formally suspended for 30 days, he realized, in fact, that it had no hope of being revived.

Another prosecution witness, lawyer Kenneth A. Lazarus, also testified that Deaver seemed unaware while he was still in his $75,100-a-year White House job how much money he could command on the outside.

"He didn't realize how valuable he was," said Lazarus, a former assistant presidential counselor in the Ford administration.

Lazarus said he recalled Deaver mulling whether to leave the White House for a $500,000-a-year position with Burson-Marsteller, a major public relations and lobbying firm, and having to be assured that he could easily make that much by forming his own firm.

Many major firms will find it economical to hire lobbyists such as Deaver for work in Washington, Lazarus said. Fees of $100,000 to $150,000 a year would be "very low" for large corporations, and fees of $1 million would be "high," he said.

"When you cost it out, it's not that expensive," Lazarus said.