Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has established an agenda for tangible progress on U.S.-Soviet security issues, outside the area of strategic and space weapons, that Soviet officials clearly consider attainable by the time he and President Reagan meet again later this year.
Along with the wide-ranging arms proposals Gorbachev put forward last night, the Soviet leader also gave fresh incentive to the Vienna-based talks on troop reductions, to the international conference on security in Stockholm and to superpower talks on a chemical weapons ban, according to various western analysts here.
In doing so, he appears to be shifting his own stance that progress in space arms is a prerequisite to movement in other areas of relations with the United States, a show of flexibility uncommon for Soviet leaders.
"This statement of goals for the year," said one western diplomat here, "is Gorbachev's way of preparing for the next summit." But Gorbachev did not soften his objection to Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative.
Gorbachev, pressing the Reagan administration to abandon the plan, offered mutual reduction of nuclear weapons -- and an apparent interim agreement to eliminate Soviet missiles stationed in the European zone, parallel with elimination of U.S. missiles based in Europe, but not including British and French missiles.
Soviet agreement on both proposals, Gorbachev stressed, depends on a U.S. pledge against space-strike weapons.
But Gorbachev also pushed for movement in the following areas that are not directly linked to SDI:
*A proposal for "permanent verification posts" to police the reductions of Soviet and American troops in central Europe that are being negotiated in Vienna talks. After dragging on for 10 years, the negotiators may be on the verge of an agreement, Gorbachev said.
*In the effort to eliminate chemical weapons, a suggestion for an interim agreement to prevent transfer of chemical weapons to, or deployment in, other states.
*An appeal to the United States to agree to a nuclear test ban by saying verification could be achieved through on-site inspections as well as by national technical means.
In a letter to Gorbachev late last month, Reagan suggested that the two sides discuss on-site inspections for testing. "The U.S.S.R. is ready to reach an agreement on any other additional verification measures," Gorbachev said yesterday. "Verification is no problem so far as we are concerned," he added.
*A move to avoid a potential roadblock in the ongoing Stockholm Conference on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures, which is charged with formulating warning procedures for large-scale military maneuvers, by suggesting that the sensitive question of naval activities be postponed to the next stage of the conference.
Western analysts here described the package of proposals, including the 15-year timetable for the elimination of nuclear weapons, as a three-pronged Soviet initiative with three different objectives.
For the U.S. administration, it established the Soviet Union's long-term priorities in the Geneva arms talks, and objectives for the next summit meeting.
Announced on the eve of the start of the fourth round of the Geneva arms talks, the Soviet call was meant to give an impetus to the negotiators there, according to western diplomats here. In particular, the apparent Soviet willingness to engage in bilateral reductions of European-based missiles is a significant new offer, the diplomats said. Past Soviet insistence that British and French missiles be negotiated in the talks led to a deadlock, and a November 1983 Soviet walkout.
Gorbachev's proposals also are viewed by western diplomats as a framework for the superpowers to work toward concrete goals at the next summit. Following the November summit meeting, Soviet officials stressed that the follow-up would have to produce "concrete results."
Western diplomats also regard Gorbachev's proposals, laced with the language of compromise and flexibility, as an appeal to Western Europeans to pressure the U.S. administration into accepting the disarmament proposals and backing away from "Star Wars."
"In achieving a radical turn toward the policy of peace," Gorbachev said yesterday, "Europe would have a special mission. That mission is erecting a new edifice of detente."
Gorbachev also addressed his proposals to his Soviet audiences as a statement of international objectives for 1986. "In the end," said one western diplomat here, "the domestic audience may prove the most important. It is they who will look back at the end of the year to see how much Gorbachev achieved."