PARIS, JULY 18 -- Secretary of State James A. Baker III presented Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze today with a detailed paper outlining areas of American expertise that Moscow could tap to cope with its economic crisis, including housing, food- and consumer-goods distribution and banking, officials said.

At the same time, in a two-hour talk that ranged from Soviet domestic politics to foreign policy, Shevardnadze told Baker that the Soviet leadership understood why U.S. officials want to make contact with the President Mikhail Gorbachev's political opposition.

Baker had said earlier this week that the Bush administration would be "in touch" with such groups as it had been with non--Communist opposition groups in Eastern Europe, and Shevardnadze today praised the younger generation of opposition reformists who are pushing Gorbachev for more and faster political and economic change, a senior State Department official said.

{In Moscow, meanwhile, government spokesman Arkady Maslennikov warned the United States against offering the opposition "encouragement or assistance." Speaking as seven more prominent party members defected, Maslennikov said, "I think the limit is if you meet people and discuss whatever matters you wish, that is your business. But if it is a kind of encouragement or assistance . . . that will be interference in the internal affairs of the Soviet Union and would hardly be tolerated," the Associated Press reported.}

According to the U.S. official, Shevardnadze recalled that many American politicians had told him that in many instances they set aside their partisan differences and stood behind the U.S. president. But, he lamented, in the Soviet Union, "We, unfortunately at this point, have people who will primarily say, 'Dump the president'. . . . We haven't developed that kind of political maturity."

Shevardnadze said the nascent democratic political structures in the Soviet Union need more time to evolve, but he praised an emerging generation of leaders and singled out as an example Lithuanian Prime Minister Kazimiera Prunskiene.

The Soviet foreign minister told Baker that the Soviet leadership emerged from last week's 28th Communist Party Congress in a strengthened position "but also in a position where we need to move" on the economic crisis.

Although President Bush has said he opposes direct U.S. aid to Moscow, an initiative some West European nations are pushing, the paper offered by Baker today was described as a renewed effort to get Soviet officials interested in tapping Western expertise as they struggle to make the transition from a centrally planned economy to a market system.

Officials said the paper was offered in anticipation of a major effort to put crucial economic reforms in place in the Soviet Union this autumn. Some similar U.S. ideas submitted to the Soviets at the Malta summit last December were not put into practice, the officials said.

Gorbachev had expressed an interest to Bush as they flew to Camp David during last month's Washington summit in the way housing is constructed and sold in the United States.

Shevardnadze told Baker that he wanted to get more deeply involved in the effort to draw on Western expertise and was considering setting up a special Foreign Ministry staff for that purpose. Officials said Baker's paper offered to help Soviet officials in some areas that had not previously been covered, such as housing and the establishment of banking and tax-administration systems.

Baker, who returned to Washington tonight, and Shevardnadze announced they will meet again in two weeks in the Siberian city of Irkutsk while Baker is on an Asian tour and that the agenda would include a discussion of the stalemate in Afghanistan. Both superpowers have advanced some new ideas for a possible settlement there.