Secretary of State George P. Shultz said today that while the United States' NATO allies are anxious for a U.S.-Soviet arms-control agreement, they do not want accords "made at the expense of western security or western values."
"There's no pressure for that at all," Shultz said in response to reports that West European foreign ministers had warned him that western public opinion expects concrete steps toward arms control at the next U.S.-Soviet summit meeting.
At a news conference concluding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's ministerial meetings, Shultz focused on European hopes that the U.S.-Soviet talks in Geneva will produce an agreement reducing or limiting U.S. and Soviet intermediate-range missiles based in Europe.
The ministers strongly endorsed the U.S. arms-talk position and said prospects for superpower agreements had improved.
During Thursday's secret discussions, several Europeans, including British Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe and West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, stressed that a future summit between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev must produce more specific results than their meeting last month.
"You can be sure that the United States will be bending every effort to find a good agreement if there is such an agreement to be found," Shultz said. "Whether anything will be agreed to remains to be seen. We will search hard for any good agreement that is possible."
But he added, "We will not be put in the position where some deadline or the prospect of some meeting will cause us to agree to something we don't think is in our interest. We assume the Soviet Union would feel similarly on that."
The Geneva arms talks involve intercontinental nuclear missiles, medium-range missiles and space weapons. U.S. deployment of 140 medium-range Pershing II and cruise missile launchers in NATO countries has created the most controversy in Europe.
In reference to European calls for an interim agreement on medium-range missiles by spring, when Gorbachev and Reagan may meet again, Shultz said, "I recognize that people want that." He added, "I don't think our publics . . . want the United States to make agreements . . . at the expense of western security or western values."
The ministers' final communique made no mention of Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative program of research into space-based missile defenses.
U.S. officials said the endorsement of U.S. efforts "in all three areas" at Geneva was tacit approval of U.S. refusal to accede to Soviet insistence that the SDI be abandoned.
Shultz also said today that the United States and the European Community would continue to "fight it out" over trade but are learning to resolve differences without anger. Shultz cited "explosive" trade problems but said they must be kept "in the perspective of the overall relationship."