Following are excerpts from speech by new Communist Party General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev as transmitted by the English-language service of the official Soviet news agency Tass:

* On relations with West:

We will firmly adhere to the Leninist course of peace and peaceful coexistence. The Soviet Union will always respond by good will to good will, by trust to trust. But everybody ought to know that we will never waive the interests of our country and its allies.

We value the successes of relaxation of international tensions achieved in the 1970s and are ready to take part in carrying on with the process of establishing peaceful, mutually beneficial cooperation between states on the basis of the principles of equality, mutual respect and nonintervention in the internal affairs. New steps along these lines could duly mark the 40th anniversary of the great victory over Hitler fascism and Japanese militarism.

* On Geneva arms talks:

Negotations between the Soviet Union and the United States of America will open in Geneva tomorrow. The approach of the U.S.S.R. to these negotiations is well known. I can only reaffirm that: We do not strive to acquire unilateral advantages over the United States, over NATO countries, for military superiority over them. We want termination, and not continuation of the arms race and, therefore, offer a freeze of nuclear arsenals, an end to further deployment of missiles. We want a real and major reduction of the arms stockpiles and not the development of ever new weapons systems, be it in space or on earth.

We would like our partners in the Geneva negotiations to understand the Soviet Union's position and respond in kind. Then agreement will be possible. The peoples of the world would sigh with relief.

* On arms race in general:

Never before has so terrible a threat loomed so large and dark over mankind as these days. The only reasonable way out of the existing situation is agreement of the confronting forces on an immediate termination of the race in arms -- above all, nuclear arms on earth -- and its prevention in space; an agreement on an honest and equitable basis without attempts at "outplaying" the other side and dictating terms to it; an agreement which would help all to advance toward the cherished goal, the complete elimination and prohibition of nuclear weapons for good, toward the complete removal of the threat of nuclear war. This is our firm conviction.

* On foreign policy:

The first precept of the party and the state is cherishing and strengthening in all ways fraternal friendship with our closest friends and allies -- countries of the great socialist community. We will do our utmost to expand cooperation with socialist states, to enhance the role and influence of socialism in world affairs. We would like a cardinal improvement of relations with the People's Republic of China, and believe that, given reciprocity, this is quite feasible.

The Soviet Union has always backed the peoples' struggle for the liberation from colonial oppression. At present, as well, our sympathies are with the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, which are marching along the road of strengthening independence and social renovation. They are our friends and partners in the struggle for lasting peace, for better, fair relations between peoples.

* On his predecessor:

All of us, all our party and the country are in deep grief. Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko, a true Leninist, an outstanding figure of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Soviet state and of the international Communist movement, a person with a responsive heart and of a great organizational talent, has passed away.

Konstantin Ustinovich guarded as the apple of his eye the unity of the Communist Party. He always sought to achieve that the party act at all levels as a close-knit, well-adjusted and spirited organism.

* On Soviet defense:

In the complex international situation, it is of importance as never before to maintain the defense capacity of our motherland at such a level that potential aggressors would know well: an encroachment upon the security of the land of the Soviets and its allies, upon the peaceful life of Soviet people, will meet with a crushing retaliatory strike. Our glorious armed forces will have, in the future as well, everything necessary for that.

* On party policy and Soviet economy:

The strategic line, worked out at the 26th Congress in 1981 , at the subsequent plenary meetings of the Central Committee with vigorous participation of Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov and Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko, has been and remains unchanged. This is the line towards speeding up the country's social and economic development, towards perfecting all aspects of the life of society. The point at issue is restructuring the material and technical base of production.

The severe winter has somewhat slowed down the attainment of planned targets in a number of sectors. It means that one should muster one's energies, tap reserves and make every effort to make up for what has not yet been done and to attain the planned targets by the end of the year.