WASHINGTON (AP) _ Mazda Motor Corp. told the government Wednesday it does not plan to call back 700,000 cars on which federal officials had recommended a safety-related recall for potential steering control problems.

Mazda told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there had been no incidents of ''idler arm pin'' failure in the affected cars - all rear-wheel-drive Mazdas sold in the United States between 1977 and 1983.

NHTSA last month ''strongly recommended'' a safety-related recall of the cars, citing tests in which vehicle control had been reduced when idler arm pins failed at speeds greater than 20 mph.

''We have opened an engineering analysis to investigate this matter because we believe that fracture of the idler arm pin can result in loss of vehicle control and that loss of control represents a potential safety problem,'' NHTSA told Mazda.

NHTSA became involved after Mazda notified the agency that there had been 12 instances of idler arm pins failing in eastern Canada, where salt on the roads accelerated vehicle corrosion, Mazda spokesman Ron Hartwig said from Los Angeles. None of the incidents resulted in accident or injury, he said.

Hartwig said the automaker is planning a service campaign in May to recall about 41,000 cars in eastern Canada, but he maintained that salt-induced corrosion is less prevalent in the United States and eliminates the need for a recall.

The spokesman added that while cars can lose 10 percent to 15 percent of steering capability in left-hand turns if the idler arm pins fail, the problem generally happens only when cars are making low-speed turns and there is little potential for accident. The alleged idler arm pin problem involves 1977-1980 Mazda GLCs, 1979-1982 626s and 1979-1983 RX7s, he said.

NHTSA spokeswoman Roslyn Kaiser said the agency had received Mazda's response, and would analyze the situation before deciding how to proceed.