NEW YORK — Secretary of State George P. Shultz, stressing "major differences" between the United States and the Soviet Union, said today he will fly to Moscow for talks Nov. 4-5 in advance of President Reagan's summit meeting with Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
Shultz said he will meet with the Soviet leader as well as with Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze. "President Reagan felt that it was appropriate for me to go and I've accepted (the Soviet) invitation," Shultz said.
He virtually ruled out reaching an agreement to curb nuclear weapons before the Geneva summit meeting Nov. 19-20. Whatever Reagan and Gorbachev accomplish, Shultz said, there will still "be a great deal of work to do . . . by the arms negotiators in the future."
At the same time, he welcomed a proposal by Shevardnadze that the two superpowers aim for "an agreement of principles" at the summit.
'Sense of Direction'
Shultz said such an agreement should give "a sense of direction" to U.S.-Soviet relations and East-West relations as well.
Meanwhile, White House Chief of Staff Donald T. Regan, interviewed on NBC's "Today" program, confirmed a statement by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that Reagan is readying an arms control proposal to counter Gorbachev's suggestion of 50% reductions in both superpower nuclear arsenals. Thatcher said Thursday that the "initiative" would be made before the summit.
Regan said the President will counter "at the proper time."
"We have to make certain of our own position" Regan said, responding to conservatives who fear that the Administration will give up too much in the talks. "We can't give away the shop. We don't want peace at any price."
Regan said the Administration wants "decent peace and decent arms control" and to continue its "Star Wars" anti-missile program that the Soviets want halted.
Shultz's Moscow trip was announced after the secretary met over breakfast for more than two hours with Shevardnadze at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.
The Soviet official, in a statement to reporters, said, "Great hopes are pinned to that summit meeting by literally all peoples in the world."
The foreign minister said that while there were "certain positive moments" in his meeting with Shultz, there also were differences. And yet, he said, both sides were dedicated to contributing to a successful outcome in Geneva.
Pleased With Talk
Shultz said he had "a worthwhile exchange" with Shevardnadze and added, "We will continue in this effort to have our Geneva meeting well prepared and productive."
The secretary called the pre-summit talks with the Soviets so far "intensive and searching" and said progress in preparations had been made.
"At the same time," he said, "I would have to say there are major differences that need to be resolved and we hope that some of them may get resolved before the meeting in Geneva."