NEW YORK — Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze, apologizing for missing Secretary of State George P. Shultz's hard-line U.N. speech denouncing "communist colonialism," sat down with Shultz today to plan for the November summit.
Asked by the reporters if they expected a productive meeting, Shultz said, "Of course," and Shevardnadze, speaking through an interpreter, said, "We always hope for the best."
Shevardnadze was asked if he brought new arms control proposals to the meeting, and he said, "If I tell you all now, afterward I will have no answers."
Shevardnadze was overheard by reporters apologizing to Shultz for not attending Shultz's speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Monday.
'A Tight Program'
"I'm sorry, I have such a tight program," he told Shultz. "It's very difficult for me to operate."
Shultz attended the Soviet foreign minister's speech Tuesday and diplomats noticed Shevardnadze's absence during Shultz's appearance Monday, a departure from the usual protocol even though the secretary of state's address was a toughly worded attack on the Soviet Union and "communist colonialism."
Shultz, accompanied by White House national security adviser Robert C. McFarlane and other officials, arrived at the Soviet Mission to the United Nations five minutes early for today's four-hour session with Shevardnadze.
Shevardnadze and Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin greeted Shultz on the sidewalk before a marble bust of Lenin that was surrounded by a red floral arrangement.
With polite smiles all around, they ushered the American delegation inside the mission, where Shultz and Shevardnadze posed for photographs. The two sides arranged themselves on opposite sides of a long mahogany conference table for the talks.
Shevardnadze on Tuesday made a strong pitch to put a halt to President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, known informally as "Star Wars," and said the Soviets have put forward serious proposals to cut nuclear missiles at the Geneva talks.
The Soviets have spread the word to a variety of sources that they will propose cuts of up to 40% in the nuclear arsenals of both sides on the condition that the United States limits its "Star Wars" research.
Danger Claims Dismissed
The U.S. side said no such proposals have been received by the American team in Geneva and Shultz dismissed the Soviet claims about the dangers of "Star Wars" as propaganda.
Today's encounter was the second between Shultz and Shevardnadze. They met in Helsinki, Finland, seven weeks ago, and they are due to meet again on Friday in Washington with Reagan.
The series of meetings is regarded by the Americans as preparation for the November summit in Geneva between Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail S. Gorbachev.