MOSCOW, JULY 2 -- A Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman today said lack of progress at the Geneva arms talks jeopardized the planned meeting of Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze and Secretary of State George P. Shultz, scheduled to take place in Washington this month.
Citing "slow headway" in the Geneva arms control talks, Foreign Ministry spokesman Boris Pyadyshev said at a news conference, "If there is no progress at the negotiations, why should the Soviet minister go to Washington?"
The United States has proposed two sets of dates during the first half of this month for Shevardnadze to visit the United States, diplomatic sources here said, adding that Moscow has not yet responded.
Pyadyshev also denied reports that Moscow had made a new arms control offer to bridge the gap between U.S. and Soviet negotiators.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman accused the State Department and White House of creating "a baselessly radiant picture of developments at the talks, a picture that, in fact, distorted the state of affairs."
In response to a report that Soviet Col. Gen. Nikolai Chervov had proposed a compromise to U.S. negotiator Maynard Glitman in Geneva, Pyadyshev said, "There have been no proposals . . . by Chervov or anyone else."
Chervov, who is head of the arms control directorate of the Soviet General Staff, "is not authorized" to make such proposals, said Pyadyshev. He added that there "was no understanding" between Glitman and Chervov and "there is none."
Western arms control experts here insisted today that Soviet negotiators in Geneva had discussed a compromise deal that may now be stymied due to leaks in Washington.
A senior western diplomat said Moscow had informally floated at Geneva a proposal to drop its plan of keeping 100 warheads on medium-range missiles in Asia in exchange for a U.S. agreement not to convert ground-launched cruise missiles in Europe to sea-launched weapons and not to convert medium-range Pershing IIs in Europe to shorter range missiles.
Instead, all U.S Pershing and cruise missiles would be eliminated in keeping with the so-called zero option, under which both sides would abolish all intermediate-range missiles deployed in Europe.
U.S. negotiators have said the reported deal would be appealing because destruction of the Soviet Asian missiles would obviate the need for continuous on-site inspection by the United States of production, assembly, storage and maintenance facilities connected with these missiles.
However, U.S. negotiator Max M. Kampelman said in an interview in Washington yesterday that the United States has "no real indications of any breakthroughs or deals or trade-offs." State Department spokesman Charles E. Redman said, "we haven't reached an agreement -- either formal, informal, in principle, handshake, or otherwise."
In a meeting with Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe here last week, Gorbachev charged the United States and its allies with retreating from the zero option, according to a report of the meeting published by Tass, the official news agency.