Soviet officials have accepted an invitation to attend the annual joint meeting later this month of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, extended by IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus and World Bank President Barber Conable.

The 12 to 15 Soviet officials will be designated "special invitees" and will be assigned a World Bank-IMF office similar to that provided for member countries. The special status, created for the Soviet Union, will allow its representatives to attend all plenary sessions, but not the policy-making IMF Interim Committee and joint IMF-World Bank Development Committee.

Bush administration officials said the initiative had come from the Soviet Union and had been approved without objection by the World Bank and IMF. Officials of the Bush administration, World Bank and IMF all stressed that the courtesy extended to the Soviet Union, which has expressed an interest in joining the IMF and World Bank, is symbolic and not a prelude to formal membership this year.

But sources said that the "special invitees" status was part of the process of establishing closer economic ties with the Soviet Union, begun earlier this year when the European Community, meeting in Dublin, and the Group of Seven powers, meeting in Houston, commissioned studies on the Soviet economy.

"By inviting Soviet officials to attend the annual meeting, we send a message to the rest of the world that the distance is shorter" to membership in the IMF and World Bank, an official said.

Actual membership would enable the Soviet Union to borrow from the IMF and World Bank, to benefit from their technical expertise and could encourage the flow of private financial assistance to the Soviets. It also would represent a major step in the integration of the Soviet Union in the global economy.

Alexander Shakow, World Bank director of external affairs, cautioned reporters there is no prospect for a "fast track" for Soviet membership in the Bretton Woods institutions during this fiscal year.

Meanwhile, the World Bank and IMF, which began lending operations to Poland last fiscal year, are preparing for new memberships among other Eastern European nations. Czechoslovakia will be welcomed as a new member Thursday. Bulgaria and Namibia are expected to have their membership applications approved during the annual meeting Sept. 25. Switzerland and Mongolia also have applied to join.

Officials in both institutions expect that much of the annual meeting and preceding sessions of the interim and development committees will be devoted to the Persian Gulf and Middle East and how the World Bank and the IMF might reshape their normal agendas to help alleviate problems in those two areas.

IMF officials are examining ways of increasing loans, through regular resources, to countries hit by higher oil prices. The officials have ruled out a special "oil facility," similar to one established in the 1970s.

In connection with its annual report, which will be issued today, World Bank officials said they expect to lend about $2.5 billion this fiscal year to help the emerging nations in Eastern Europe. The amount is up from $1.8 billion last year and five times the amount expended two years ago. The World Bank also will accelerate loans to "front-line" Mideast nations affected by the Persian Gulf crisis.

The World Bank said that its overall loan-and-credit target for the fiscal year that began July 1 would be $21.7 billon to $23.7 billion, compared with $20.7 billion last year. Of the total, $16 billion to $18 billion would be regular bank loans and $5.7 billion through the World Bank's subsidized agency, the International Development Agency.

The World Bank's annual report, which deals with the fiscal year that ended June 30, was completed before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on Aug. 2. The report said that despite some success in debt and debt-service reduction, primarily through the Brady Plan, "middle-income {Third World} countries as a whole stagnated in 1989." Exceptions included Mexico, Morocco and the Philippines.

In Latin America, where some of the biggest national debt problems are concentrated, real economic growth amounted to only 1.5 percent, not enough to match the population growth. The report said that this was true of the severely indebted countries, as a group. For example, the aggregate growth on a continued population explosion meant that income per capita again declined.

The developing countries, suffering from a decline in outside financial aid, especially from commercial banks, continued to transfer more wealth to the rich world than they received. Net transfers rose to $42.9 billion from $37.6 billion.

New loans to the Third World fell to $16.6 billion, the lowest level in 10 years. "This was largely a reflection of the collapse of lending by private commercial banks, partly in response to the sharp increase in interest arrears from approximately $10 billion in 1988 to about $16.4 billion in 1989," the World Bank report said. "What little new lending there was went to developing economies in Asia and Europe."

This decline in private lending has resulted in what has been called the "officialization" of the debt problem. The report said that by the end of 1989, about 48 percent of Third World long-term debt was held by governments or multilateral institutions, compared with 38 percent at the beginning of the debt crisis in 1982.