President Clinton Says He Will Sign a $268 Billion Defense Bill He Threatened To Veto Because of Rescue Packages for Two Closed Military BasesBy KAREN GULLO

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ President Clinton said he plans to sign a $268 billion defense bill that he threatened to veto because compromise language will let two closed military bases move ahead with plans to privatize.

Speaking on the tarmac at McClelland Air Force Base, Clinton said the compromise is ``not ideal'' but is fair.

He announced economic rescue packages for McClelland and a second base, Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Tex., to help foster privatization.

``We will continue to do everything we can to help McClelland make the transition,'' the president said, listing several initiatives:

_Transfer McClelland to Sacramento county at a discounted price, which was not disclosed. Machinery, equipment and vehicles also will be transferred.

_Keep the Coast Guard at the base, contributing $2 million starting in 1999 until at least 2004.

_Provide $11 million in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 1999, for a government-industry partnership to develop environmentally friendly metal casting methods.

_Retain the Defense Department's liability for the base's nuclear reactor, making it possible for the facility to be used for another 30 years.

The president, in Sacramento for a wildlife area dedication and a political fund-raiser, also said the government would provide $5 million for redevelopment efforts at Kelly and transfer machinery and equipment over to the base redevelopment agency.