MONROVIA, LIBERIA, JULY 4 -- The following, transmitted by the Associated Press, is a pool report by journalists in Monrovia, Liberia.

President Samuel K. Doe met with U.S. Ambassador Peter de Vos for about an hour today but still had not accepted a U.S. offer to help him leave the country.

Officials here declined to give details of their discussion, held at Doe's fortress-like mansion in this capital cut off by rebels attacking its outskirts on two fronts. Monrovia has been without water and electricity for more than a week, and telephone and telex lines from the city were not working.

{In Washington, a State Department official said the U.S. offer, revealed Tuesday, was "on the table" in de Vos's meeting with Doe and that the Liberian leader had not turned it down. The offer was still open, the official said.

{In response to a question in Brussels, Secretary of State James A. Baker III told reporters that the United States is prepared to transport Doe out of the country "if he wants it" and to the extent that it is able to do so, given the conditions in Monrovia, staff writer R. Jeffrey Smith reported.}

A four-ship U.S. naval task force carrying more than 2,000 Marines, is standing by off the Liberian coast.

Under pressure from close associates as the rebels moved in on the outskirts of the capital, Doe agreed in principle to resign, asking for assurances of his own safety and those of fellow members of his Krahn tribe.

Thomas Woewiyu, a U.S.-based spokesman for rebel leader Charles Taylor, said today: "There will not be any mass retribution. He {Doe} need not make that a bargaining point." Woewiyu headed the rebel delegation at failed peace talks in neighboring Sierra Leone last month aimed at ending the six-month civil war.

Soldiers at a roadblock in Monrovia said 1,000 rebels were advancing on the eastern suburb of Congo Town from nearby Paynesville, where artillery and gunfire could be heard. Sounds of battle also could be heard on the city's western outskirts. Rebel sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there were only 800 men involved in the assault on the capital.

Government troops went on a shooting and looting spree during a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Monrovia, a city of a half-million people. At least 17 bodies were found this morning at different locations, some of them shot, witnesses said.

Soldiers, some of whom appeared to be intoxicated, fired into the air and harassed passers-by for money and cigarettes during the day. Others roamed the city in stolen cars and pickup trucks loaded with U.S.-made M-16 rifles.

Most of Doe's cabinet ministers and senior administration officials have fled the country. A close Doe adviser, Elvin Jones, minister for presidential affairs, flew to neighboring Ivory Coast on an unscheduled flight this morning.

Liberia's army chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Henry S. Dubar, who fled last weekend, told a newspaper in Sierra Leone:

"A general should know when to retreat. . . . I saw our people without light, and drinking unsafe water. At that point I decided to ground arms."