The United States will carry out an on-site inspection of Soviet army maneuvers near Minsk in a confidence-building gesture arranged by the two superpowers, a spokesman for the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency said last night.

It is the first such U.S. inspection of Soviet military maneuvers under the broad, 35-nation Stockholm agreement reached last September that seeks to lessen tensions between East and West by ensuring against surprise attack or miscalculation.

Four U.S. military inspectors

today will watch about 16,000 So- viet troops on maneuvers. The agreement gives the Soviets the right to inspect NATO maneuvers in Western Europe, said the spokesman, Sigmund Cohen. The agreement covers the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains in the Soviet Union.

Cohen called the inspection "very routine" and not controversial.

In March, NATO observers, including two from the United States, watched as the Polish army conducted war games in northwestern Poland.

That was the first time in 11 years that Westerners had been allowed to attend such activities.

The Soviets, under the agreement, gave the United States at the beginning of the year a schedule of maneuvers they intended to carry out, Cohen said.

On Wednesday, the United States notified the Soviets here and in Moscow that American inspectors would be sent to watch the maneuvers near Minsk, and the Soviets readily agreed, he said.

There is no right of refusal under the agreement.