Rear Adm. John M. Poindexter yesterday became the second former White House official to testify that lobbyist Michael K. Deaver called him on behalf of a client, but the admiral said he did not view the call as improper or exceptional.

"My recollection is that it was a very short call, less than five minutes," former national security adviser Poindexter said at Deaver's perjury trial in U.S. District Court here.

As did Roger Porter, another former White House official, Poindexter said Deaver made no effort to influence him during the call.

The admiral, who resigned from the White House last year after the president said he discovered Poindexter had approved the diversion of funds from Iranian arms sales to aid the Nicaraguan contras, was the first of the major Reagan administration figures expected to testify during Deaver's trial.

Deaver, former deputy White House chief of staff, is accused of five counts of lying to a House subcommittee and a federal grand jury to cover up contacts he made to high administration officials on behalf of the clients of the lobbying firm he founded after leaving the government in 1985.

A special prosecutor has accused him of calling Poindexter in October 1985 to help set up a meeting between President Reagan and Kim Kihwan, a trade emissary from the South Korean government. Deaver was working at the time on a $475,000-a-year contract with the International Cultural Society of Korea.

Poindexter testified yesterday that Deaver did call him asking whether such a meeting had been approved, saying that Kim had a letter from the president of South Korean that he wanted to deliver to Reagan. "I said I didn't know {about the meeting} and would check and find out," the admiral testified during his 20-minute appearance on the stand.

He said he learned from another member of the National Security Council staff that a request for the meeting had been made by someone else and was approved. "I couldn't swear it happened," said Poindexter who said he had only a "very vague" memory of details of the telephone coversation with Deaver.

"Did Mr. Deaver try to coerce you into having this meeting?" asked Herbert J. Miller Jr., head of Deaver's defense team.

"In no way," replied the admiral.

Poindexter described the request as normal, and one that the White House staff would attempt to accommodate "if there was time on the president's schedule and it was a friendly county, one of our allies."

The defense sought yesterday to paint Deaver as a highly principled businessman. Pamela G. Bailey, one of the top lieutenants in his lobbying firm, said that the law firm of Arnold and Porter had advised Deaver shortly after the lobbying firm opened that it would be acceptable for him under federal lobbying rules to talk to the president, his longtime friend, about his lobbying clients.

"He didn't think it was good advice," Bailey said. "He wasn't going to do it."

"Do you believe in your heart that he didn't?" asked Randall J. Turk, another Deaver lawyer.

"Yes," Bailey said.

Bailey remained on the stand throughout the day and is scheduled to return Tuesday when the trial resumes. She spent much of yesterday recounting the steps that the firm took on behalf of its client, an obvious effort by the defense to refute claims by prosecutors the firm was only out to perform "quick fixes" for its six-figure fees.

When Trans World Airlines executives seemed uninterested in their $25,000-a-month relationship, Deaver continued to press ideas on the airline. "He was not just happy sitting around and getting the check every month," Bailey said.

Ultimately, however, Bailey said that the publicity over Deaver and the questions about the ethics of his dealings drove away clients. When she left the firm in 1986, she said, it did not have enough money to pay salaries.