Yuli Vorontsov, the Soviet ambassador to Paris who has been widely rumored to be the leading candidate to become Moscow's next envoy to Washington, will instead return to Moscow to become first deputy foreign minister, Soviet sources said yesterday.

Vorontsov served in Washington as the No. 2 man in the Soviet Embassy in the 1970s. In Moscow he will replace another America specialist, Georgi Kornienko, who will move from the Foreign Ministry to the Communist Party Central Committee, where he will become a deputy to Anatoliy Dobrynin, the former ambassador in Washington who has been named a secretary of the Central Committee.

Kornienko was one of two senior officials in the Foreign Ministry deeply involved in arms control negotiations with the United States. The second, Deputy Foreign Minister Viktor Komplektov, also has been moved out of this policy area in the ministry and will be given new duties, the sources said.

The moves of Kornienko and Komplektov leave Alexander Bessmertnykh as the senior Foreign Ministry America expert other than Vorontsov. Bessmertnykh has been named a deputy foreign minister and will remain head of the America department, the sources said.

The implications of these shifts are not clear, the sources said, but they leave open the question of who will succeed Dobrynin here.

In his new post in the Kremlin, Dobrynin's status is almost equal to that of Eduard Shevardnadze, the Politburo member who replaced Andrei Gromyko as Soviet foreign minister, U.S. sources said. The relationship between Shevardnadze, a former police official from the Soviet Republic of Georgia with no foreign policy experience, and Dobrynin, a polished diplomat, has been the subject of intense speculation among western Kremlinologists since Dobrynin's promotion.

The shifts reported yesterday will put a Dobrynin protege, Vorontsov, at Shevardnadze's right hand in the Foreign Ministry.