The Bush administration is crafting a broad postwar peace plan for the Middle East that would address the Arab-Israeli conflict, regional security, arms control and the economic disparities underlying the area's turmoil, according to administration officials.

A planning document examining options for a postwar peace effort has been sent to Secretary of State James A. Baker III. However, a State Department official said Baker has not yet made any decisions on the options developed by senior department officials.

Although many aspects of the end of the war are still unknown, including the military outcome and whether Saddam Hussein will remain the leader of Iraq, officials said the high-level planning is being motivated by a desire to present to the world an American vision of the postwar arrangements, even before the war is over.

"This is not a how-to document, but a big picture, a broad brush," said a senior administration official familiar with the planning. "It would be practical and politically smart" to sketch out the overall thrust of the administration's vision before the hostilities have ended, the official added. "We can't just say when the shooting stops, someone else should pick up the ball."

This official said many of the more detailed decisions to come later could be made easier if the United States takes the lead in shaping a broad vision for the region. Officials said there has been some discussion about a possible address by President Bush or Baker to outline the new regional strategy.

State Department officials frequently have stressed that any such new strategy will have to be developed and carried out in cooperation with the nations in the region.

The Middle East Policy Survey, a newsletter here, in a report to be published today on the postwar planning, said Baker is considering the timing and format of a major declaration to outline U.S. goals, with the focus on the Persian Gulf and "a higher profile and more substantive U.S. military presence" in the region, as well as on the area's economic inequities.

The White House has said a separate postwar planning effort is being carried out under deputy national security adviser Robert M. Gates, and officials cautioned yesterday that specifics may change before Bush makes any decisions. They noted that there are huge uncertainties about the pressures that will face all the leaders in the region, and influence their populations, at the end of the war.

According to the sources, there has been a blizzard of studies on postwar issues ranging from how to restore Kuwait's telephone system to how to preserve the peace. The latest planning documents put together for Baker are a distillation of previous work. They cover four broad areas of a postwar regional strategy, some of which Baker has addressed publicly in recent weeks and were included in the controversial joint Soviet-U.S. statement issued Tuesday night by Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Alexander Bessmertnykh.

The four areas run parallel to, but also include important distinctions from, the postwar peace strategy unveiled yesterday by Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy.

The four areas dominating the U.S. planning are:Postwar economic issues, including the huge disparities in wealth between some of the oil-rich gulf states and their neighbors. These disparities were one reason propelling Saddam to invade Kuwait; he had accused the rich but tiny emirate of waging economic war against Iraq, and Kuwait, which had bankrolled Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war, refused his demands for large new payments.

Administration planners said they realize that, practically speaking, the United States can do little to redistribute oil wealth but might seek to make the richer countries more inclined to share with the poorer ones. For example, Bush, in his Jan. 18 news conference, suggested that Jordan, despite displaying sympathy for Iraq, might be at the "forefront" of a postwar rebuilding effort. Regional security. For months, Baker has said the end of the crisis will require a new arrangement among the gulf nations and their neighbors to keep the peace, and U.S. officials are trying to sketch out what such a "structure" might look like. Their basic assumptions are that American ground forces would be withdrawn, while naval and perhaps air power would remain, augmented by pre-positioned munitions and facilities in the event of a new crisis.

More broadly, planners said, a new balance of power would have to be forged around a presumably weakened Iraq. An administration official said Egypt and Saudi Arabia could serve as the anchors for this new arrangement, but attention would have to be paid to the more difficult question of roles for Syria and Iran. "No one is putting their bottom dollar on Syria," said this official, referring to the administration's longstanding complaints against Syrian President Hafez Assad. Likewise, the official said, Iran cannot be ignored, yet its leadership remains divided between those who favor better relations with the West and those hard-liners who oppose it. Arms control. The Baker-Bessmertnykh statement referred to the need to stem a "spiraling arms race in this volatile region." This is expected to include a continued international arms embargo on Iraq, even if its military strength has been sharply reduced by the war, and renewed attempts to prevent Western arms suppliers from peddling their wares to the region. One planner said Israel, the region's only nuclear power, is expected to look favorably on some kind of arms-control effort.

The Arab-Israeli conflict. Administration officials said they do not have any dramatic new ideas in this area but that they hope the war may change some longstanding views among the region's adversaries. In particular, they believe that Israel's restraint during the Scud missile attacks from Iraq may persuade hostile Arab leaders to consider direct talks with the Jewish state. They are also hopeful that Israel's preoccupation with settling the influx of Soviet Jews, and paying for it, will give the United States greater leverage in dealing with Jerusalem.

However, officials said they also worry that Israel may prove more intransigent when it comes to resolving the Palestinian issue. "My own forecast is that {the ruling} Likud {party} will be in no mood to make much of a concession," said one source involved in the planning effort.

The Baker-Bessmertnykh statement issued this week suggests that both Washington and Moscow intend to take a strong hand in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict, which Levy, the Israeli foreign minister, indicated yesterday would be met with resistance by his country. Levy also urged that Saddam be defeated and removed from power, a goal the United States has not formally embraced.