LITTLE ROCK, Ark., March 3— An employee of the Rose Law Firm here has told a Federal grand jury that in late January he was ordered to destroy a box of documents from the files of Vincent W. Foster Jr., the White House lawyer whose suicide is under investigation by an independent counsel. People familiar with the testimony of the employee, an in-house courier, said he had told the grand jury that he and a colleague had used a shredder in the firm's basement to destroy the papers. He testified that he had done so at the request of a clerk in the firm. The firm's former partners include Hillary Rodham Clinton; Webster L. Hubbell, the Associate Attorney General; William H. Kennedy 3d, an associate White House counsel, and Mr. Foster, the deputy White House counsel who committed suicide in July. All left the firm to go to Washington last year. The courier, a college student who is among several assigned to run messages and errands, told the grand jury on Feb. 16 that he did not know precisely what he had shredded but that he was certain the papers had come from Mr. Foster's files, those familiar with the account said. He testified that he had looked inside the box and saw that the papers were separated by binders marked with the initials "VWF," the firm's typical abbreviation for Mr. Foster. The box itself also bore Mr. Foster's initials, which no other employee at the Rose firm had. In a brief statement, the Rose firm denied that any of Mr. Foster's documents had been shredded. "No files of Vincent Foster's have been destroyed," the statement said. "In the process of a lawyer changing offices, a box of old files containing internal Rose firm materials, such as copies of notes of firm committee meetings, was destroyed earlier this year." The firm's lawyers declined to answer specific questions. What Rose Handled Mr. Foster's files are potentially important to investigators. While he was at the Rose firm, he worked on a wide array of legal matters for the Clintons, including the sale of the Clintons' share of the Whitewater Development Company, a real estate venture in the Ozark Mountains. At the time of his suicide, Mr. Foster was working on various personal matters for the Clintons, including tax filings and the creation of the family's blind trust. Investigators have sought clues to the circumstances of Mr. Foster's death, as well as the Clintons' finances, in everything from Mr. Foster's internal memos and telephone logs to his personal diary and even some cryptic scribblings discovered among his White House papers. The courier testified that he had seen no references to Whitewater in the papers he shredded. The timing of the shredding is unclear. By the courier's account to the grand jury, he destroyed the papers about the time that Robert B. Fiske Jr., the independent counsel, was appointed on Jan. 20. At the news conference called that day to announce his appointment, Mr. Fiske said he would investigate the circumstances of Mr. Foster's suicide and accusations that money had been improperly diverted from the Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan Association in Arkansas to Mr. Clinton's business interests or his 1984 gubernatorial campaign. The savings institution failed in 1989, and its assets and accounts were taken over by the Government. Shortly after Mr. Fiske began his work, he issued a sweeping subpoena that, among other things, demanded all documents relating to Mr. Foster. The date of that subpoena has not been disclosed publicly. If the shredding occurred after the firm was put on notice that Mr. Fiske wanted to review Mr. Foster's documents, such an action might have been improper, legal experts said. Mr. Fiske's investigators are trying to determine when the shredding took place, what kinds of the documents were destroyed and whether any of them might have been relevant to the inquiry. Republican Pressure.... READ MORE