MOSCOW, OCT. 27 -- Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev could go to Washington "in the near future" to sign an accord to eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said today, in what appears to be a softening of the objections the Kremlin leader raised last week to a summit meeting.

"We have no doubt that an agreement on medium- and shorter-range missiles will be signed," Foreign Ministry spokesman Boris Pyadyshev told a news conference. "Today we cannot say exactly when that will be done but it is already clear that it will be prepared in the near future for signature at summit level, as had been agreed between the leaders of our two countries."

Besides an occasion for signing the INF treaty, Pyadyshev said, Moscow views the meeting to be held this year as a forum "to register an arrangement on key positions of the future agreements on strategic offensive arms and outer space which, in turn, could be signed during a reply visit" by President Reagan to Moscow.

Pyadyshev did not answer questions on the timing of the summit, but reiterated earlier assessments by senior Soviet officials that the INF treaty would be completed in two to three weeks and the key provisions in six weeks.

At another point, Pyadyshev said that the summit "will take place when work is finalized on the medium- and shorter-range arms and also when some agreements of principle are worked out on the key provisions in the area of strategic arms and in the area of measures to strengthen the {1972 U.S.-Soviet} antiballistic missile treaty."

By announcing Gorbachev's plan to come to the United States, the Soviet Union appeared to be dangling a carrot before the Reagan administration to complete the two agreements that would be the substance of a summit, and particularly to concede to a mutually acceptable position on the key provisions on strategic arms and space defense, which Washington has so far opposed.

Moscow has made several proposals for key provisions to "strengthen" the ABM treaty, which restricts development and deployment of antiballistic systems. But Washington, viewing the proposals as attempts to block Reagan's plans to build a space-based antimissile defense system, has resisted.

The provisions, however, would also involve proposals for a treaty to eliminate strategic, or intercontinental-range, nuclear arsenals on both sides, which Washington favors. The Soviet Union links restrictions on space-based defense with reductions in strategic weapons, but Washington objects to the linkage.

The Kremlin strategy appears to be to wrap up the INF treaty quickly and use it to press the White House into compromising on the key provisions so that all could be dealt with in some form at the summit, western diplomats said here.

According to this strategy, when the INF treaty is finished, the Reagan administration will be left with a choice: agree to a summit where the treaty is signed and "an arrangement" on the key provisions also is reached or forgo the summit and sign the INF treaty at a lower level.

Today's announcement comes four days after Gorbachev refused to give dates for the summit, citing lack of progress in negotiations to limit Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) -- the space-based antimissile program -- and to reduce strategic weapons on both sides.

The hasty scheduling of a trip to Washington by Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze was seen by western diplomats as a response to critical comments made in the western press about Moscow's failure to announce a summit date when Shultz was here.

The United States and the Soviet Union agreed last month to hold a summit for signing an INF treaty this year, but in a meeting last Friday with Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Gorbachev suddenly added progress on limiting SDI and holding strategic talks as a condition for the summit.

In a response to criticisms of Gorbachev's move in the West and an apparent attempt to give a fresh impetus to the U.S.-Soviet dialogue following the Soviet leader's refusal to set summit dates, Pyadyshev today gave an upbeat assessment of meetings Shultz held here with leading Soviet officials.

"We cannot agree with the evaluations made by a number of mass media of the West . . . containing a certain share of pessimism concerning the results of the Soviet-U.S. meeting in Moscow," Pyadyshev said. "A brief timeout has been taken now to think over the new ideas put forward by the Soviet leadership and to work out the issues which remain unsolved."

In another attempt to keep the U.S.-Soviet dialogue going, Shevardnadze summoned U.S. ambassador Jack Matlock for talks today. The two discussed the strategic agreements under negotiation between the countries, Pyadyshev said. The U.S. Embassy declined to comment.