Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky said he had taken humanitarian action in connection with a possible exchange of prisoners of war between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, but he refused to disclose details.
Dr. Kreisky was responding by telephone from Majorca to an Austrian journalist's questions about a report in Newsweek magazine that Israel and the PLO were conducting direct negotiations under his auspices in Austria for a prisoner exchange.
Dr. Kreisky said the story ''concerns prisoners of war on both sides. I was asked to make this humanitarian effort and, of course, I did so.'' Asked whether Israel requested his intervention, Dr. Kreisky said the request came from families of war prisoners, and, as far as he knew, with the knowledge of the government.
After his meeting with Dr. Kreisky Tuesday, PLO leader Yasser Arafat said the talks were mainly on a plan proposed by an Arab summit in September calling for a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza.
Refusal by Israel and the PLO to recognize each other has been a major stumbling block in the search for a Middle East settlement.