French Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson and top Reagan administration officials yesterday completed their talks here, with both sides saying that despite "different political biases' there is broad agreement between the new Socialist government of President Francois Mitterrand and the United States on most foreign policy issues.
To underscore the desire of both governments to build on the good will produced by the talks, Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. announced that Vice President Bush will visit Paris June 24 to establish contact with Mitterrand.
Haig said President Reagan, who will meet Mitterrand in July at an economic summit in Ottawa, suggested the Bush visit when he received Cheysson at the White House on Thursday. According to French sources, the proposal was relayed to Mitterrand, who immediately replied with a formal invitation.
At a background briefing later, a senior U.S. official, while refusing to "accept the implication' that the United States is worried about the possibility of Mitterrand taking France in unpredictable new directions, conveyed the clear impression that the talks with Cheysson left the administration breathing easier about the prospect of dealing with a French Socialist government.
"We feel, on the basis of this first visit, that there are substantial opportunities for close, productive relations," said the official, who cannot be identified under the rules of the briefing.
However, as sources on both sides conceded, the good feeling was established by stepping gingerly around many issues on which there are likely to be differences in French and American policy approaches. According to the sources, the emphasis, particularly in the talks between Haig and Cheysson, was on skimming the surface of specific problems without going into any detailed discussion of how they might be solved.
As the senior U.S. official put it, "There was agreement on their assessments of problems and situations. It is not correct to say there was agreement on all policies. But even there, the differences appear to be more of nuance than direct 180-degree confrontation."
As events progress, the official said, there probably will be "less than full agreement" between the two governments on dealing with Central America and on "some aspects of North-South relations."
In contrast to the U.S. policy of backing with arms and money the military-civilian junta in El Salvador, Mitterrand has shown sympathy for the junta's leftist guerrilla foes and has advocated bringing the left into efforts to solve the political and social problems of the turbulent Central American region.
Similarly, the new French government is strongly sympathetic to calls in the Third World for a greater global redistribution of wealth, increased no-strings western aid for its development plans and the socialization experiments of many underdeveloped countries. By contrast, the official pointed out, the Reagan administration will continue to be "more concerned about Soviet and Cuban involvement in these areas."
Another area of contention that Cheysson did raise at some length involves West European concern about high interest rates in the United States and the side effects they have had in slowing down expansion of European economies.
In talking with reporters, Cheysson said, "I had to be very precise about this." He did not elaborate, but the U.S. official said Cheysson had stressed that the United States must take into greater account the impact on Europe of domestic economic policy.
In other foreign policy areas, the official added, the degree of apparent aggrement came as a pleasant surprise to the administration. That was especially true in regard to southern Africa, where U.S. officials are known to be greatly pleased by continued French support of the administration's drive to find an internationally acceptable plan for giving Nambia independence from South Africa.
The official also reported general, nonspecific agreement about the need to defuse the Lebanon crisis and resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Mideast, maintaining a stern line against Soviet intervention in Poland and seeking withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan, and seeking to promote U.S.-Soviet negotiations on limiting Eropean-based, medium-range nuclear missiles.
Cheysson said France is not directly involved in the efforts to seek a reduction of nuclear weapons in Europe but was concerned by the Soviet buildup.
"There is no doubt that the very fast installation of such missiles by the Russians represents a change in the global balance of forces in the world," Cheysson said.
Haig said low-level talks between American and Russian officials will begin next week in preparation for his meeting in September with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko about missile reductions in Europe.