STRAUSBERG, EAST GERMANY, MAY 28 -- West Germany today rejected a Soviet proposal that would allow a united Germany to be a NATO member if it remained outside the alliance's military command. But Bonn officials said the idea showed Moscow was moving in the right direction.

"I do not see this as the solution we are seeking on this matter," said West German Defense Minister Gerhard Stoltenberg after the first visit to East Germany's Disarmament and Defense Ministry by a Bonn minister.

"It is remarkable that the Soviet president is now beginning to concern himself in public with the prerequisites for {German} NATO membership," he told a news conference.

Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev raised the possibility Friday that a unified Germany could belong to NATO's political organization if it stayed outside its military command, as France does.

West German officials, speaking anonymously, said Saturday they did not support Gorbachev's idea. Stoltenberg's comments were the first official response from the Bonn government.

"We, the federal {West German} government, believe this formula should not be the end result," he said.

Western powers want Germany to be a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Moscow has proposed neutrality and other options short of full membership.

Stoltenberg held more than two hours of talks with Disarmament and Defense Minister Rainer Eppelmann.