MOSCOW — Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, in a final round of talks with President Francois Mitterrand of France, reportedly said Wednesday that he will take part in a Soviet-American summit conference if he can be certain of progress in arms talks but not "to serve President Reagan's political purposes."
French sources said Mitterrand, who met with Reagan last Friday in New York, found the Soviet leader "less certain about a summit meeting" than he had expected.
Mitterrand brought no message from Reagan, but he and Gorbachev had a general discussion of superpower and East-West relations in the course of nearly 17 hours together in the past three days, more than six hours in one-to-one conversation, the sources added.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman
The Soviet version of the discussion about a summit meeting in Washington was given by Gennady I. Gerasimov, a spokesman for the Soviet Foreign Ministry.
"Both the Soviet Union and France are in favor of dialogue," Gerasimov said, "and want the summit to be a productive one. Both are agreed that stopping the arms race is an urgent problem, and it is important not to break out of existing agreements such as the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty or the SALT II treaty."
Soviet officials and American diplomats here said the question of a summit meeting is more or less on hold for the moment, until Reagan makes a definitive response to Gorbachev on Soviet proposals put forth in the Geneva arms talks.
A letter outlining Washington's position is expected to be delivered in Moscow by the end of next week, and it will determine whether the two sides move promptly to speed up the arms negotiations and preparations for a summit conference.
Meeting With Dobrynin
Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador here, Arthur A. Hartman, has had a meeting with Anatoly F. Dobrynin, the former Soviet ambassador to Washington, who is now the Central Committee's director for relations with Communist parties in Western Europe and around the world. In this meeting, announced by the Soviet news agency Tass, Hartman is understood to have emphasized the importance that Washington attaches to moving ahead with a preparatory meeting between Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze.
After the Mitterrand-Gorbachev meetings, it was clear that both sides were pleased with the atmosphere and the general outcome. It was the 14th such meeting between the French and Soviet leaders since President Charles de Gaulle came here 20 years ago to establish a "special relationship." But if the atmosphere was satisfying, the practical results were not substantial.
The two sides had a full discussion of the state of the European security talks going on in Stockholm among the 35 nations that signed the Helsinki agreements to improve military confidence-building measures.
French and Soviet spokesmen said they were agreed that remaining problems in the Stockholm negotiations could be resolved, but when it came to details, it was clear that there is not yet enough flexibility in the Soviet position to prevent failure at Stockholm.
Soviet Stance Unchanged
The conference there is to end Sept. 18, and the Soviet position against on-site inspection and verification of military activities has not changed. Nor have the French shifted from their basic support of positions taken collectively by the governments of North Atlantic Treaty Organization members.
After Wednesday's talks, Gorbachev and his wife, Raisa, gave the French leader and his wife, Danielle, a tour of the Soviet space program's training center at Star City, outside Moscow.
A French astronaut participated in a Soviet space mission four years ago, and French pilots recently have been at Star City in preparation for another joint mission in 1988.