Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko is expected to attend the United Nations General Assembly meeting late this month in New York and meet there with Secretary of State George P. Shultz, a State Department spokesman said yesterday.
The Shultz-Gromyko meeting could be a precursor to a session between Gromyko and President Reagan, other administration sources said, but a decision will probably depend on the nature of the talks with Shultz.
Gromyko canceled a trip to the United Nations last fall when, following the Soviet downing of Korean Air Lines Flight 007, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey refused to allow his plane to land at Kennedy International Airport.
A spokesman for the Port Authority said there would be no such problems this year. Although the Soviet airline Aeroflot is banned from regular flights into the United States, a sanction imposed after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, special flights are given permission to land.
State Department spokesman John Hughes said "preliminary arrangements" for a Gromyko visit are being made although Moscow has not confirmed that he will go to New York. Hughes said no date has been set for the Shultz-Gromyko meeting.
White House officials said yesterday Reagan will address the opening session of the General Assembly Sept. 24. Any meeting with Gromyko would probably occur in the weeks after Reagan's speech and take place in Washington.
Shultz and Gromyko met in Madrid a year ago. During that session, Shultz denounced Soviet behavior. They met briefly in January at the Stockholm Conference on Disarmament in Europe.
A State Department official said "preliminary discussions" have begun with the Soviets on possible agenda items at the meeting with Shultz. The Soviets have been "noncommittal" on whether Gromyko will come, but U.S. officials expect him to, the official said.
The official said Shultz would like to hold off any talks between Gromyko and Reagan until after his own meeting with the Soviet foreign minister. But the official said Shultz also recognizes that this will be decided by the White House, partly taking into account domestic political questions.
The official said "you have to think of this almost as if it were a summit meeting," in terms of carefully considering in advance what the outcome may be.