A former White House official testified yesterday that when lobbyist Michael K. Deaver called him about a client, he was so alarmed about possible ethics violations that he immediately reported the incident to the president's lawyer.

The statement by Roger Porter, a former executive director to a Cabinet committee, came at Deaver's trial on perjury charges Deaver, 49, the former deputy White House chief of staff, is charged with five counts lying to a congressional committee and a federal grand jury that investigated the lobbying firm he founded after leaving government.

Porter's appearance yesterday, the fourth day of Deaver's trial, was the first testimony that Deaver made one of the contacts about which he is alleged to have lied. But Porter, now a professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, may have undercut the prosecution's case when he said that Deaver neither asked him to do anything nor attempted to pressure him during the brief telephone call on behalf of Trans World Airlines in early June 1985.

That call came about a month after Deaver left the White House. Porter said was he was so troubled by the possibility that it violated rules restricting contacts by former government workers with their former agencies that he immediately called Fred Fielding, then counsel to President Reagan.

The courtroom of U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson broke into laughter as Porter reenacted the call, pretending to hold a telephone against his ear and nodding his head as if in silent communication with Deaver. The conversation lasted 35 seconds, announced defense counsel Stephen L. Braga, who requested the reenactment during cross-examination.

Deaver placed the call to Porter to learn whether the Cabinet committee on economic policy was considering a TWA request for a hearing aimed at slowing the takeover bid of investor Carl Icahn.

Porter said he knew nothing of the issue and quickly ended the call, which he said he had expected to be a social one. "I was expecting it to be about tennis," he said, explaining that he and Deaver frequently played on the White House tennis court when they both worked there.

Later, Pamela G. Bailey, who left "I was expecting {Deaver's call} to be about tennis."

-- Roger Porter

a White House job to join Deaver's lobbying firm, testified that Fielding was so troubled by the telephone call that he called William F. Sittman, another Deaver associate, to caution the firm to stop contacting White House staffers.

Bailey, who said she received an $83,000 bonus during her first year with the firm, indicated that Deaver showed awareness of ethical issues in one of their first conversations. She said they had been discussing a lobbying issue one Friday while she was still at the White House.

" 'Thinking about it, I don't want to have any more conversations with you about it while you're still at the White House,' " she quoted Deaver as saying. " 'You ought to go back and resign today so you can come to work for me on Monday.' So I did," Bailey said.

Janet Harvey, who worked as a receptionist and secretary to Deaver at the firm, was the first witness to testify about Deaver's drinking, which his lawyers have said will be a key element in his defense.

Harvey said she learned of Deaver's alcoholism last October after he had checked into a detoxification facility in Maryland.

"The more we talked about it, the less surprised I was," she said. "It somehow gave an explanation to the way he was. The moodiness or depression, not remembering things. It was frustrating," Harvey said.

Often Harvey said she had to remind Deaver of conversations and he frequently seemed "distant or preoccupied. He was not focused."

In response to a question by prosecutor Whitney North Seymour Jr., Bailey said she did not learn of Deaver's drinking problem until about the same time as Harvey -- last November, nearly 18 months after Deaver first entered a hospital for treatment of alcoholism.