The effort is complicated by the likelihood that he would be indicted by the International Criminal Court in the Hague for the bombing of Pan Am 103 in 1988, and atrocities inside Libya.

One possibility, according to three administration officials, is to find a country that is not a signatory to the treaty that requires countries to turn over anyone under indictment for trial by the court, perhaps giving Colonel Qaddafi an incentive to abandon his stronghold in Tripoli.

The move by the United States to find a haven for Colonel Qaddafi may help explain how the White House is attempting to enforce President Obama’s declaration that the Libyan leader must leave the country but without violating Mr. Obama’s refusal to put troops on the ground…

“We learned some lessons from Iraq, and one of the biggest is that Libyans have to be responsible for regime change, not us,” one senior administration official said on Saturday. “What we’re simply trying to do is find some peaceful way to organize an exit, if the opportunity arises.”