President Reagan said Thursday the United States has "no choice" but to tear down the nearly complete U.S. Embassy in Moscow because the facility is riddled with eavesdropping devices.

Reagan, walking toward his helicopter to begin a campaign trip to Arkansas, Missouri and California, was asked if he had decided the embassy must be demolished."Yes," he replied, "because there's no way to rid it of the many listening devices that were built into it."

"We have to do it. We have no choice," Reagan said. Asked where the money would be found for a replacement, he replied, "We'll take it away from something else. We're going to start and have an American-built one," he said of the embassy.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Reagan will recommend to Congress that the embassy be razed and rebuilt, at a cost estimated at $300 million. The newspaper said it could take five years to build a replacement eight-story embassy on the same site with materials imported from the United States.