Secretary of State George P. Shultz said yesterday that the administration is "devoting a lot of attention" to the possibility of a summit meeting between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, but he refused to confirm expectations that the meeting is likely to take place this fall in Washington or New York.

While testifying before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, Shultz was asked about a summit. He replied:

"My opinion is that a pure-and-simple get-acquainted session is not the way to go. On the other hand, there has been a great deal of discussion with the Soviet Union over the past year or so on many issues, and I think there is a potential for getting together a variety of these matters that could give some substance to such a meeting.

"We are devoting a lot of attention to that question right now," he added.

Shultz was far more guarded than other administration officials who said Tuesday that, while further diplomatic exchanges are needed before a meeting can be arranged, there is a possibility of a meeting in October if Gorbachev attends a special observance in New York commemorating the founding of the United Nations.

In an interview Monday with reporters for The Washington Post, Reagan said Gorbachev had replied to his proposal for a summit meeting here.

The administration officials, who asked not to be identified, later termed the reply positive, but stressed that the new Soviet leader had not designated a date or place. They said more negotiation is needed before it will be possible to say if a meeting can be arranged.