BEIRUT, NOV. 27 -- Two French journalists, who had been held hostage by an underground group in Lebanon, were freed this evening at a hotel in Moslem-controlled west Beirut and taken under Syrian Army escort to the residence of the French ambassador in Christian east Beirut.

The Revolutionary Justice Organization, which says it continues to hold two American hostages, had announced late yesterday that it would release two Frenchmen within 24 hours. Jean-Louis Normandin, 35, a lighting technician with the French network Antenne-2, and free-lance reporter Roger Auque, 31, were dropped off separately at the entrance of the beachfront Summerland Hotel.

Senior Syrian officers received the two, but French Ambassador Paul Blanc, who was also at the hotel, insisted in an exchange with a Syrian officer that the newly liberated hostages be taken immediately from Syrian-controlled west Beirut.

Auque was overheard telling a journalist, "I was with the Palestinians."

When asked by Voice of the Nation, a Sunni Moslem-run radio station, where he was held, he replied, "The most accurate picture I could give of my place of detention is that it was a psychiatric ward, and my kidnapers were mentally deranged patients."

The Revolutionary Justice Organization said in a handwritten communique delivered to the independent An Nahar newspaper last night that it would release two Frenchmen in response to positive gestures by the French government and because of the "mediation of some friends."

Normandin and Auque looked dazed and thin as they arrived at the hotel. Both showed signs of weakness and fatigue. Normandin was abducted on March 8, 1986, along with three associates from Antenne-2 while they were covering a rally by the Iran-backed group Hezbollah (Party of God). Normandin's colleagues, Philippe Rochot, George Hanssen and Aurel Cornea, were freed last year, the first two in the summer and Cornea on Christmas Eve.

Auque, one of a handful of foreign journalists who had remained in west Beirut despite the heightened risk of abduction, was kidnaped while in Beirut to cover Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite's last mission here on Jan. 13. Waite, who was here to negotiate the release of two American hostages, has been missing since January, and his fate is unknown.

The Revolutionary Justice Organization claims to be holding two U.S. citizens, Joseph James Ciccippio, the acting comptroller of the American University of Beirut, and Edward Austin Tracy, a poet and writer who came to live in Lebanon in the mid-1970s.

Normandin, who had cut himself shaving one hour before his release, told journalists he had sensed his release was imminent yesterday because of unusual activity around him.

An hour before the release, the Revolutionary Justice Organization issued another communique saying it was acting out of "reciprocity and a desire to steer clear of negative attitudes."

"We have come along the paths which must lead to understanding. We have been patient when it was necessary, and we have exerted pressure when it was warranted," last night's statement said.

There are still 24 foreigners kidnaped or missing in Lebanon, including nine Americans. Militia sources in west Beirut said a certain organization here was approached several days ago with an offer to pay for the transfer of Auque and Normandin. The source said the hostage issue in Lebanon had been reduced to a "transaction of buying and selling." It was still not evident whether any ransom was paid for the Frenchmen's release.

Korean diplomat Do Chae Sung, freed last month, told journalists he had spotted Auque and a tall man wearing a large ring, believed to be Waite, while he was in captivity.

A senior official of the French Ministry of Defense, Alexandre Stephanie, was with Ambassador Blanc in west Beirut today. Stephanie had been here for several days negotiating with the captors, according to French diplomats here. The two came to west Beirut after receiving instructions addressed to them in the Revolutionary Justice Organization's statement.

Two French diplomats, Marcel Carton and Marcel Fontaine, are still being detained by the Iran-linked Islamic Jihad organization. Jean Paul Kauffmann, a correspondent for France's L'evenement du Jeudi, is also held by Islamic Jihad.

{In Washington, State Department spokesman Charles Redman said the United States welcomed the release of any hostages. "But there are lots of other hostages in captivity," he said. "All of these people are innocent and ought to be released immediately, and anyone who has the ability to do that should get with it."}