VIENNA, FEB. 9 -- Chancellor Franz Vranitzky said today that many Austrians are embarrassed by the conclusion of an international historians' commission that President Kurt Waldheim concealed parts of his war record for decades, but Vranitzky said that his government would not try to force Waldheim to resign.

Vranitzky, a Socialist who heads a coalition that includes a party that strongly backs Waldheim, said it was up to the president to decide whether to step down from his largely ceremonial post. Waldheim said last night that the report exonerated him and that he would not resign.

The coalition nearly broke up last night because Waldheim and the conservative People's Party wanted the government to refuse to accept the highly critical report, government officials from the Socialist Party told Washington Post special correspondent Peter Hoffer.

The Socialists insisted that the Cabinet accept it.

The report, which was officially released today, found no evidence that Waldheim personally committed war crimes, but left open the possibility that evidence might emerge in the future implicating him in such acts. Waldheim and his supporters have emphasized that no such evidence was found and said there was no reason for him to resign.

The government-sponsored report by historians from six countries criticized Waldheim for failing to object to war crimes that he knew about while serving as a staff lieutenant with a German Army unit in Yugoslavia and Greece from 1942 to 1945.

It also charged that Waldheim had tried since the war to hide his knowledge of war crimes, especially deportations of Jews and reprisal killings in Greece.

Asked at a news conference whether Austrians were embarrassed because Waldheim had been "less than truthful" about his past, Vranitzky said, "There is no doubt that many people in our country and in our party will have that kind of embarrassment."

Vranitzky declined to deny a reporter's suggestion that he personally wanted Waldheim to step down.

Austrian political analysts said that they doubted that the report's criticisms of Waldheim would cause Austrian public opinion to swing decisively against him and force his resignation.

"I am afraid that in Austria, the people are not very concerned by the lack of credibility of the president," said Erika Weinzierl, director of the Institute of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna. A political reporter for the magazine Profil said, "people are tired of the Waldheim case."

Hours after the presentation of the report, Austrian television showed an unprecedented special report on Waldheim' wartime past, using Nazi films, statements by witnesses and quotes from the report.

{In Washington, Neal Sher, head of the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, said the findings make Waldheim accountable for war crimes as defined by the anti-Nazi Nuremberg laws, The Associated Press reported.

{"Under the Nuremberg standard, one who is involved in the implementation and facilitation of deportations of civilians, is culpable of war crimes," he said.}

Last April, the Justice Department barred Waldheim from entering the United States as a private citizen, citing evidence suggesting that he was involved in committing war crimes.

{In Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said the report's conclusions "will oblige the Austrian people and its government to grapple with their grave significance."}

The report said that Waldheim was one of the best informed officers in his unit because of his responsibility for compiling data about its activities. It said that he must have known about the deportations of Jews and anti-Nazi guerrillas, of reprisal killings of civilians, and of execution of captured Allied commandos.

Waldheim participated in meetings "that decided in some cases . . . on procedures and measures that were in violation of the laws of war and of the principles of humanity," the report said.

It was impossible to determine Waldheim's precise role at such meetings, so "the questions of Waldheim's guilty behavior in the war was not conclusively answered," it said.

Panel member Manfred Messerschmidt of West Germany told a new conference, "just because we don't have the proof doesn't mean that something didn't happen." New evidence may arise in the future implicating Waldheim, he said.

Waldheim repeatedly has denied that he knew during the war of the deportation from Salonika in Greece of 50,000 Jews, or one-fourth of the city's population, in 1943. Most of the deportees were sent to death camps.

Waldheim worked for a time during 1943 near Salonika, but he has said that he was away from the area when the deportations took place.

The report said, "Waldheim's claim, which was repeated to the commission on January 28, 1988, that he knew nothing of the Jews' expected fate, is unbelievable."

Israeli panel member Jehoda Wallach, who wrote the section on Greece, said, "Even if he wasn't there when they were transporting people away, the disappearance of a quarter of the population was a fact known to everybody."

The report also challenged Waldheim's claim that he was enrolled without his knowledge in a Nazi student group in 1938.

"The commission is of the view that a personal initiative was necessary in order to become a member," the report said.

The commission questioned Waldheim for four hours on Jan. 28 in Vienna, but an appendix to the report regarding that meeting was not issued. Commission members said it was withheld for technical reasons.

Messerschmidt and Wallach criticized Waldheim and People's Party leader Alois Mock, who also is vice chancellor and foreign minister, for claiming that the report had exonerated Waldheim.

Divisions within the commission also came to light, as Messerschmidt and Wallach criticized commission chairman Hans Rudolf Kurz of Switzerland for telling Vranitzky, Mock and Waldheim last night that the commission had not directly implicated Waldheim in criminal behavior.