MOSCOW, JUNE 26 -- Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze lashed out today at military and conservative Communist Party critics for using what he called "McCarthyite" tactics and demanding to know "Who lost Eastern Europe?"

Shevardnadze said he felt it a "moral duty" to apologize to East European governments for the "insulting" comments of some Soviet officials and military leaders who "still believe" that the army had "captured them as military trophies" and should never have permitted the democratic revolts of 1989.

At last week's conference of the new Russian Communist Party, speakers such Yegor Ligachev, the leading conservative on the national party's ruling Politburo, and Gen. Albert Makashov criticized the current leadership for its tacit encouragement of the rebellions in Central Europe. There will undoubtedly be more such criticism at the 28th Party Congress set to begin next week, and Shevardnadze's comments appeared to be a kind of preemptive strike.

Shevardnadze said in a lengthy interview in the party newspaper Pravda that the implication of such charges by his critics was "Why did we not use tanks for the restoration of order?" He said the tactics of Soviet conservatives are reminiscent of Americans who asked in 1949 "Who lost China?" and of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's public hunts for alleged communists in the State Department.

"Is it possible that we really have learned nothing?" Shevardnadze said. "Have we forgotten the lessons of Afghanistan? Have we forgotten {the invasion of Hungary in} 1956 and {the invasion of Czechoslovakia in} 1968?"

Shevardnadze said it was "high time" that such conservatives "understood that neither socialism nor friendship nor good neighborly relations can be based on bayonets, tanks or blood. Relations with any country should be established on the basis of mutual interests and benefits and free choice."

Shevardnadze dismissed as untrue charges that the leadership decided to withdraw troops from Eastern Europe without consulting the military.

He said the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces arms treaty, despite disproportionate cuts, was a victory for the Soviet Union and not "conciliation," as his critics have charged. "For me, it is an axiom: to exchange three SS-20s for two Pershings is fine. A Pershing would definitely heat up the general staff building, but an SS-20 would not even be able to reach the Pentagon."

He excoriated the Soviet defense industry for building up huge stockpiles of chemical weapons when "no one else was doing this." Now the Soviet Union, in the midst of a seemingly bottomless economic crisis, has to spend "at the very least" 3 billion rubles to destroy the weapons to fulfill new chemical arms treaties with the United States.

Shevardnadze said that "like any agreement, the Warsaw Pact is not eternal," but that the alliance would persist, at least as a political grouping, "so long as it answers the real needs of the countries involved."

Defense Minister Dmitri Yazov showed a more worried tone in an interview published today in the newspaper Robochaya Tribuna. Yazov said he was concerned by the "contradiction" that while the Warsaw Pact is "developing" into a mainly political alliance, NATO leaders persist in having their alliance maintain a strong military presence in Europe.