The United States opened an intensive series of consultations with its allies today on how to respond to the Soviet Union's latest arms control proposals in advance of the November summit between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization's initial review of the Soviet offer, outlined in detail by Gorbachev during a state visit to Paris last week, was conducted in Brussels at a high-level meeting chaired by Richard Perle, assistant secretary of defense for international security policy.
In a telephone interview after the closed-door meeting, Perle said he heard no urgent appeals from the allies to change American negotiating positions in the wake of Moscow's proposal to cut in half the number of nuclear weapons that can strike Soviet or American territory.
Some European representatives said it would be a mistake to dismiss the Soviet proposals as a repackaging of old ideas that did not warrant exploration. They expressed concern that a failure to make an attractive counteroffer could revive charges that the United States was not serious about arms control, conceding ground to Moscow in the battle for public opinion.
Officials in several West European capitals said they expected the momentum of calls for new arms control initiatives to accelerate as the U.S. shapes its final strategy before the Geneva summit Nov. 19-20.
Besides President Reagan's meeting with key alliance leaders in New York Oct. 24, NATO foreign and defense ministers are expected to hold consultative sessions in Brussels before the current negotiating round at the Geneva arms talks ends Nov. 1.
Foreign Ministry sources in Bonn, London and the Hague said their governments have undertaken crash projects to come up with policy suggestions for Washington that take account of their own interests and perceived changes in the Soviet leadership's views on arms control.
One significant shift in the Russian position, European diplomats in Bonn and London said, appears to be a new willingness to reach a separate accord on the reduction of intermediate-range missiles in Europe without a direct connection to space and strategic arms.
Previously, the Soviet Union insisted it would accept only an all-encompassing deal in Geneva linking the three negotiating forums. The United States has argued that progress in one area should not be held hostage to difficulties in the others.
The European allies, particularly West Germany, say the best prospects for an early arms control accord involve the Euromissiles because previous negotiations made progress before being suspended in The Soviets broke off negotiations when NATO began deployment of cruise and Pershing II missiles in Western Europe to counter the Soviet SS 20 buildup.