THE chairman of the Asia Society last night described United States foreign policy as ''clumsy and insensitive'' and called for an unconditional renewal of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) trading status for China. John Whitehead, a former deputy secretary of state during the Reagan administration, warned that granting of MFN with any conditions would be the ''worst of both worlds''. Mr Whitehead, who was speaking at the society's annual dinner, said: ''I would hope that President [Bill] Clinton would have the courage and the wisdom to go just one step further and renew MFN unconditionally, providing at the same time a plan for regular, private, confidential discussions with China on human rights issues.'' He said that present American foreign policy was lacking direction and goals. ''I must say that I do find it difficult to comment on our present policy, because I cannot figure out whether we have one, or if we do, what it is. We seem to have no central goals, no consistent theme, no clear objective, no strategic vision, so each issue that arises must be judged on its own merits, without regard to an overall goal or objective. ''And the execution of our policies often seems clumsy and insensitive. This is particularly true of our relationship with China.'' Mr Whitehead said the US was serious in its concern about human rights in China. But he said: ''If we define human rights broadly by the progress of a nation's people toward a better life, I believe it can be said that in the whole history of mankind no other nation [China] achieved more progress for more people in such a short period of time.'' He said that US threats to withhold MFN for improvements in human rights had proved to be of no avail. ''If continued . . . [withholding MFN] can be gravely damaging in its overall impact, not only in the US and China, but in numerous other countries in the region and particularly in Hong Kong. ''The US needs China as a friend and an ally,'' Mr Whitehead said.