Egypt's President Anwar Sadat heads for his first encounter with President Reagan hoping he can leave his mark on the United States view of its future role in the Middle East.
Mr. Sadat, his aides say, will seek to persuade Mr. Reagan to pursue efforts started by his predecessor to bring peace to the Middle East, and convince him of the need for prompt action to secure the interests of the US and its allies in the region.
Regarding his warm relationship with former President Jimmy Carter as an asset to Egyptian-American relations, Mr. Sadat will attempt to establish a personal rapport with President Reagan.
A Sadat critic predicted the six-day visit could boil down to "a top-level exercise in public relations."
But the purpose of the visit is "to reach a general understanding on Mideast problems and how the US can contribute to their solution," Harvard-educated Osama el-Baz, an adviser to President Sadat, said in an interview hours before he left with the President.
Egypt regards the US decision to delay a shipment to Israel of F-16 warplanes in response to the Israeli raid on Iraq's nuclear reactor and later Israeli raids on Lebanon as "mild and insufficient."
There is already a consensus in Cairo and Washington that because of Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin's lack of restraint, Israel is endangering the interests of the US and its Mideast allies.
Mr. Begin's actions are seen as saving Mr. Sadat the effort of drawing Mr. Reagan's attention to the matter.
During two tete-a-tete meetings planned for Wednesday and Thursday, Mr. Sadat is expected to sound Mr. Reagan out on:
* Mideast settlement: Egypt maintains the Palestinian problem is a time bomb whose defusing should be given top priority by Egypt, Israel, and the US.
Though the Reagan administration has allayed Egyptian fears about its commitment to the 1978 Camp David formula, its willingness to be a full partner in the peace process remains to be seen.
Cairo expects the need for US leverage to arise as soon as the Palestinian autonomy talks pick up again. The frail coalition government Mr. Begin has been trying to form, with its one-seat Knesset majority, leaves no doubt here the Israelis will be even more hard-line and inflexible than before.
* Regional security: Mr. Sadat will urge the US to "get rid of the Vietnam complex" and rectify "the complications of the fall of the [late] Shah of Iran" that he believes produced an unbalanced situation from which the Soviet Union has profited.
Taking the initiative, Mr. Sadat has granted US Rapid Deployment Forces the use of Egyptian military facilities to enable the US to act swiftly in the event of any Soviet-sponsored move threatening the region's security. enable the US to act swiftly in the event of any Soviet-sponsored move threatening the region's security. 52900100027334 NOVEMBER 15, 1981