PARIS, NOV. 20 -- The United States and the Soviet Union appeared to move closer today to producing a United Nations resolution threatening the use of military force against Iraq, and President Bush expressed confidence that the superpowers will agree on compromise language.

Bush, who ordered his aides to refrain from discussing the negotiations because of what one called "the sensitive stage they are in," was asked about Soviet support early in the day. "Be patient and all will be well," he said.

While Bush conferred with leaders of 32 European nations and Canada during the second day of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Secretary of State James A. Baker III stepped up his offstage negotiations aimed at producing a resolution before the end of the month, when the United States gives up its month-long chairmanship of the Security Council. Baker's contacts included a phone conversation with the Chinese, a meeting with the Yugoslavs and two lengthy sessions here with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze.

Shevardnadze said, "The time has come for the {United Nations} Security Council to take stock of things and to pass the appropriate judgment on what has been done . . . and if there is a need, adopt a new resolution."

He added: "In essential elements, the {previous 10 U.N.} resolutions have not been implemented and the aggression has not been stopped, and that is the main point."

Gorbachev, who on Monday stressed the need for more diplomacy before resorting to authorizing military force, said today his and the U.S. stances are meshed. "As far as our approaches are concerned, there is no divergence," he said in a French television interview. "All politicians are trying to avoid a military solution but we cannot let {Iraqi President} Saddam Hussein and his regime bring the international community to its knees."

The Soviets also announced that Bush and Gorbachev will meet in Moscow in January, when the two superpowers hope to sign a treaty on reduction of strategic arms.

The United States had anticipated a formal Soviet endorsement of a use-of-force resolution on Monday, following a meeting between Bush and Gorbachev. Today officials, when they were willing to talk about the issue at all, insisted that was a temporary glitch due to sensitive negotiating strategies involving other countries and not a sign of disagreement between Washington and Moscow.

Baker, reacting to suggestions that the two superpowers lack unity on the issue of the use of force, said, "I happen to believe that we will be united . . . in terms of our future approach within the United Nations, within the Security Council."

A string of Soviet officials minimized reports of major differences between Moscow and Washington on the new U.N. resolution. They said that the Kremlin had agreed to an early debate in the Security Council on the Persian Gulf crisis and was likely to go along with an agreed resolution outlining extra measures against Iraq.

"The whole sense of the discussion in the Security Council would be to see whether the time has come to think of other means of involvement in the gulf that would imply the use of force," said Andrei Grachev, a senior foreign policy adviser to Gorbachev.

Grachev added that there had been a "common decision" to return to the discussion of the possible use of force against Iraq in the Security Council. "Once you start discussing, you certainly have to come up with something," he said.

While not ruling out the eventual use of force against Iraq, Soviet officials continue to emphasize the need to push ahead with sanctions and other measures already approved by the United Nations. Gorbachev's press spokesman, Vitaly Ignatienko, said that Baghdad's promise to release thousands of Western hostages over the coming months showed that "U.N. sanctions are working and the patience of the international community is showing results."

Although comments by Soviet officials suggest that there is little doubt that the Kremlin will eventually go along with some kind of resolution paving the way for the use of force, the final form of the resolution is still open to negotiation.

Well-placed French sources said that both France and the Soviet Union favored more moderate language than the United States, without any mention of an ultimatum.

Baker today said that no draft resolution yet existed. Other officials said, however, that a variety of "language options" are being circulated, most of which authorize U.N. members to use "whatever means at their disposal" or "whatever means available" against Iraq without formally using the words "military force."

White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater said "several alternative approaches are being discussed" and "concepts for a draft resolution have been considered." But he said, "We simply cannot discuss proposed language . . . while these country-by-country consultations are underway."

The debate over a use-of-force resolution comes on the eve of Bush's trip to Saudi Arabia, where he is to spend Thanksgiving with some of the 240,000 American troops stationed there as part of an international force deployed to oppose Iraq.

The president has said repeatedly that he believes the international coalition can use force against Saddam even without a further resolution, but the United States wants such a vote, both to demonstrate solidarity against Saddam and to strengthen its hand in any dealings with an anxious Congress.

Following two discussions that lasted more than four hours, Baker and Shevardnadze issued statements of solidarity, with the Soviet stressing the need for "unity" in the Security Council, an apparent reference to the need for backing from China, which, as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, can veto any resolution.

The Chinese, who have been working for improved relations with the United States since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, have voted for the other U.N. resolutions against Iraq but have what one official called "particular sensitivities" on a new resolution.

According to diplomatic sources, the Chinese have expressed a desire to put the Tiananmen Square incident behind them and gain reentry into the international community. They find it ironic that the United States is urging them to enforce sanctions against Iraq when there are still sanctions in place against China. Moreover, the Chinese are said to be concerned that successful military action against Iraq could leave a vacuum of power in the gulf that would be filled by Syria or Iran.

Fitzwater said essentially what State Department officials have said since Baker began this two-week-old effort to marshal the votes for this resolution: Until Baker has firm committments for the votes he needs, he will not produce language or propose a resolution. The United States will be ready to show its cards, Fitzwater said, after "making sure we understand where all the countries in the U.N. Security Council stand and basically having everybody on board with the same conclusions."

To that end, Baker held a session with Yugoslovia, which chairs the nonaligned-nations grouping at the United Nations. He is scheduled to visit Yemen on Thursday and two other nonaligned countries by Saturday.

The Soviets announced the January Bush-Gorbachev summit even though U.S. officials had said previously that the session would not occur until a strategic-arms control treaty was ready to be signed. Although differences remain on that treaty, Fitzwater reiterated that the U.S. condition for attendance at the Moscow summit would be a completed treaty. Asked if the treaty will be ready, he said, "We hope it will and we think it will."