President Reagan yesterday named Democrat Max M. Kampelman, former senator John G. Tower (R-Tex.) and career diplomat Maynard W. Glitman the chief negotiators with the Soviet Union in the forthcoming nuclear and space arms talks.

Kampelman, a longtime associate of the late senator Hubert H. Humphrey and a foreign policy adviser last fall to Democratic presidential nominee Walter F. Mondale, will be the chief negotiator on the space issues and will also head the delegation.

Tower, who was chairman of the Armed Services Committee when he retired after the last session of Congress, will be chief negotiator on strategic or long-range nuclear arms.

Glitman will be chief negotiator on medium-range forces in Europe. He had been deputy head of the U.S. delegation in the unsuccessful 1981-83 intermediate-range nuclear force (INF) negotiations on this set of issues.

Tower's appointment to replace retired general Edward L. Rowny in the strategic talks was the surprise of the mid-afternoon announcement, which was made at the White House by Secretary of State George P. Shultz. Rowny, a favorite of conservatives, met briefly with the president about an hour earlier.

The nature of the new team -- and the disclosure that the State Department formally asked the Soviets Wednesday to begin the new negotiations in Geneva in March -- were cited by officials as evidence of the importance now being placed on an arms pact by Reagan and others in the administration.

The "balanced ticket" of negotiators, together with the fact that Kampelman and Tower are primarily political figures known for their anticommunist views rather than arms experts, suggested that the administration is especially anxious to win domestic political support for the negotiations.

Sen. Charles McC. Mathias (R-Md.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the addition of "hard-liner" Tower to the more experienced negotiators "guarantees we can ratify whatever they agree on."

The Soviets are also expected to name a team of three chief negotiators for the "interrelated" talks on strategic offensive arms, intermediate-range forces in Europe and "preventing an arms race in space."

Rowny and Paul H. Nitze, who headed the U.S. team in the 1981-83 INF negotiations, were named as "special advisers" to Reagan and Shultz on the new negotiations.

Nitze was described by an official involved in the process as the central figure in behind-the-scenes preparations for last week's Geneva meeting of Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko and the probable author of the positions to be taken by the U.S. team in the forthcoming negotiations. Nitze, who was 78 this week, was named as "special adviser" last month after declining to be an active negotiator this time.

Rowny's position as another "special adviser" in the new talks is uncertain, despite a comment from Shultz to reporters that the retired general's responsibility has been "enlarged and broadened." It was widely known that Rowny was eager to continue as chief strategic arms negotiator, but insiders said Shultz preferred that someone else get the job.

Because of conservative political support for Rowny, his replacement was a touchy matter at the White House and probably could have been accomplished only if he were succeeded by another visibly conservative figure such as Tower.

A White House official said Reagan met with Rowny for around 15 minutes around 2 p.m. yesterday to "make sure he was comfortable in his new role."

The composition of the team had been under intense discussion by a small group of senior officials within the administration since Shultz and Gromyko reached agreement Jan. 8 on the launching of the forthcoming three-part arms negotiations.

On Thursday, the president's national security affairs adviser, Robert C. McFarlane, presented to Reagan his recommendations for the three leaders after discussions with Shultz and Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger, according to White House sources.

According to the White House, Reagan gave final approval to the McFarlane recommendations about 9:30 a.m. yesterday and authorized Shultz to contact those selected.

Shultz already had Tower in his office at the State Department and, with Nitze present, offered him the job. In the early afternoon Tower agreed to take it.

Kampelman, who was at a convention in Aspen, Colo., said that despite many Washington rumors the first he heard of the offer officially was a telephone call from Shultz, Weinberger and McFarlane about 1 p.m. Washington time.

Glitman, who has been serving for more than a year as the chief U.S. negotiator in the Vienna talks with the Soviet Union and several other countries on conventional force reductions in Europe, is a career Foreign Service officer whose acceptance was never in doubt.

Sometime after 2 p.m., according to White House sources, Reagan telephoned all three appointees to offer the jobs formally and receive their acceptances. Shultz made the announcement at 3 p.m. in the White House press room.

Washington attorney Kampelman, 64, had been named by President Jimmy Carter as chief U.S. negotiator in the Madrid talks with the Soviets and other nations on security and cooperation in Europe, the follow-on to the 1975 Helsinki accords. Kampelman was retained at this post by Reagan and saw the Madrid talks to their successful conclusion in September 1983.

Kampelman said he spent "three years and 400 hours" negotiating with the Soviets at Madrid. He had little previous background in the space arms questions for which he will be responsible in the new negotiations, but recently co-authored a magazine article with former Carter aide Zbigniew Brzezinski and physicist Robert Jastrow endorsing Reagan's "Star Wars" plan for anti-missile defense in space.

Tower, 59, retired two weeks ago after 23 years in the Senate. A former professor of government, he took a special interest in military and foreign affairs and for the past four years was chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Tower voted against the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty and opposed the SALT II strategic arms limitation treaty of 1979 but favored the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missiles Treaty and Interim Agreement limiting offensive nuclear arms. He said yesterday that he favors "substantial reductions" in nuclear arms and opposes modest limitations.