St. Louis Cardinals owner William Bidwill met for more than an hour with Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer and the executives of Baltimore, Howard and Anne Arundel counties yesterday in a session designed to stress unity and cooperation among regional governments and the city of Baltimore.

With a St. Louis source saying Bidwill could announce his decision whether and where he would move his franchise within a week (the Cardinals play their final home game Sunday), both sides appeared satisfied after yesterday's meeting at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

"It was a very pleasant meeting," Bidwill told the Associated Press shortly before checking out of his hotel. He described the meeting as "very general" but had little else to say. He could not be reached later in the day.

"I thought it went well," said James Lighthizer, Anne Arundel County executive. "It accomplished what we hoped to do {on stressing cooperation among various regional governments} . . . I believe Mr. Bidwill believes that. We emphasized it a lot."

The lack of cooperation between the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County is considered one of the major reasons Bidwill apparently has decided to relocate his franchise -- and family business -- and is in the process of deciding whether to move it to Baltimore, Phoenix or Jacksonville.

All three cities have submitted formal proposals, and officials from Columbus, Ohio, are expected to submit one Thursday. It was unclear yesterday whether the Columbus bid would delay Bidwill's decision.

Bidwill has to notify the league of his intentions by Jan. 15, but a St. Louis source said Bidwill has hoped to make his announcement by Dec. 15. Herb Belgrad, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, said he was aware of no such deadline, but that Bidwill's consultants have been in contact with the stadium authority this week.

"They're preparing a report for Mr. Bidwill {analyzing the various offers}," Belgrad said. "We're right on track. I see this {yesterday's meeting} as more circumstantial evidence that Baltimore is No. 1.

"I may be blinded, but I don't think it's a false sense of confidence. We've done everything we can do. The intangibles I don't know about. Does a man in his 50s want to spend the rest of his life in a warmer climate? There's nothing we can do about that."

Lighthizer said no negotiations were conducted yesterday on Baltimore's proposed package that, according to one source, includes a 55,000-seat season ticket guarantee by Baltimore businesses. When Schaefer attempted to keep Robert Irsay from moving the Colts in 1984, the ticket guarantee was 43,000.

Five people attended the meeting: Bidwill, Schaefer, Lighthizer, Baltimore County Executive Dennis Rasmussen and Howard County Executive Elizabeth Bobo.

Schaefer, at a Baltimore news conference on another subject, had little to say about the meeting. "It went well," he said. "I can't comment further but I have a feeling that Belgrad did a real good job."

"We told him, 'This region wholeheartedly supports the effort to attract an NFL franchise, your franchise, to Baltimore,' " Lighthizer said. " 'It's not a city issue, but a regional, even a state issue. You will receive complete support from regional officials.' "

Lighthizer said he left the meeting optimistic about Baltimore's chances. "He's positive toward Baltimore," Lighthizer said. "He asked the kind of questions that led you to believe he wasn't dismissing us out of hand."

For instance?

"He asked, 'Do you have any objection to keeping the name Cardinals?' " Lighthizer said. "When you ask that question, you're clearly talking seriously about Baltimore. He knows the heritage of the name Colts and he talked about that."

What did the officials answer?

"We don't have any objection. They key issue is getting a franchise," Lighthizer said. "The only reason I'd like to see them as the Colts is to jerk that idiot Irsay around."