The United States today withdrew a proposal submitted to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights here last Friday, to send a telegram to Soviet authorities inquiring into recent arrests of dissidents.

U.S. delegate Allard Lowenstein said many delegates had asked for withdrawal. He said he was gratified there had been a debate on the question. The American proposal ran into strong soviet opposition.

Prior to withdrawing the proposal, the United States vigorously defended the right to intervene in support of human rights anywhere in the world.

At the afternoon session Lowenstein announced that he would not press for a vote on the resotution after it met strong opposition from the Soviet Union and a string of Third World nations.

The United States, Lowenstein said, "would leave the matter there for the moment." He agreed to withdraw the proposal after the commission scheduled sessions on the question of dissidents in the Soviet Union - a topic never before taken up by the U.N. body.

The sessions will be Friday and Monday.

The debate on the U.S. proposal, the Soviet Union accused America of seeking a return to the cold war. Soviet delegate Valery Zorin described the motion as an interference in Soviet affairs.

Lowenstein said Washington's goal was to indicate "that no country, whatever its size or military power, can be immune or exempted from concern about human rights."

"If detente is dependent on suspending criticism of each other, it is unachievable," the U.S. delegate said.

Explaining his decision to retract the proposal, Lowenstein said "many delegates expressed the wish not to be placed in a position of having to vote."

He noted that defeat of the motion could have been construed as a rejection of commission responsibility for the human rights situation in the Soviet Union.

The United States has accused the commission in the past of practicing a double standard by focusing on three main areas: southern Africa, Chile and Arab territories occupied by Israel.