West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and French President Francois Mitterrand agreed Tuesday to set up a commission to explore collaboration on space satellites but apparently failed to pin down marks and francs.
In the 44th French-German summit - held for sentimental reasons in Bad Kreuznach, where in 1958 Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and President Charles de Gaulle began their postwar reconciliation - Mr. Mitterrand thus got a renewed German commitment in principle to joint space ventures.
But the Germans stressed again that France's pet European military satellite must have a capability for all-weather surveillance to justify its expense.
The two sides also failed to agree on regulations for introducing catalytic converters in cars. France has publicly regretted Bonn's decision to go it alone in mandating catalyzers in this decade, before other European Community states.
Space plans other than the reconnaissance satellite discussed at the summit included European participation in the American space shuttle (which Bonn tends to favor in order to maintain access to the latest technology) and further development of the French Ariane rocket that currently launches European satellites into orbit. Dr. Kohl promised a quick decision on these projects.
Other projects that Paris is so eager to foster with Bonn will include a digital automatic phone link between the two countries, the two sides announced after the Oct. 29-30 meeting.
In the area of easing motor traffic between the two nations, both leaders declared themselves pleased with their several-month experiment in no-check border crossing points for motor traffic. Any citizen of a European Community country is basically waved through without being stopped. The two leaders said they will expand the practice and will speed the handling of trucks and buses as well.
Mitterrand crowned his visit by returning to Germany the 16th-century ''Griffin'' canon. Negotiations about it have been going on since the 1950s.