WASHINGTON — With the first superpower arms control agreement in more than eight years now a virtual certainty, President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev will meet in their long-awaited Washington summit before the end of November, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Director Kenneth L. Adelman said Wednesday.
Although some details remain to be settled, Adelman said he is confident that U.S. and Soviet negotiators will complete work within the next few weeks on a pact banning medium-range nuclear weapons. He said he expects Reagan and Gorbachev to sign the accord during a summit session in late October or late November.
Adelman, interviewed during a breakfast with reporters and editors of The Times' Washington Bureau, said that he expects Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze to announce the date of the summit after their meeting next week in Washington.
Another Administration official said later that the Gorbachev trip to the United States is expected to be a "coast-to-coast" affair and that the Soviet leader will visit a Midwestern farm, Reagan's Santa Barbara ranch and such Southern California attractions as Disneyland after the formal talks in Washington.
Adelman, who has announced that he will leave the Administration shortly after the summit meeting, said the conference could not take place before mid-October because preparations will take at least that long. He said that Gorbachev would be unable to leave Moscow in early November because of celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Communist Revolution.
In a related development, the State Department said that Shultz and Shevardnadze will sign an agreement next week establishing new "nuclear risk-reduction centers" in Washington and Moscow. They would exchange information about such matters as an accidental missile launching or a commercial nuclear accident like last year's Chernobyl reactor fire that might be misinterpreted.
An official said that the centers would act as "high-tech supplements" to the Washington-Moscow hot line.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sam Nunn of Georgia, the most influential Democrat in Congress on military matters, is a strong advocate of the risk-reduction center idea, which is designed to prevent a war from starting as a result of miscalculation.
As part of the preparations for the Shultz-Shevardnadze session, the Administration sent senior arms control adviser Paul H. Nitze and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas W. Simons Jr. to Brussels to brief North Atlantic Treaty Organization representatives today on arms control and other matters on the foreign ministers' agenda.
Adelman said he was surprised by the number of concessions that the Soviets made in the negotiations on medium-range nuclear forces. He said the emerging treaty comes very close to the original U.S. proposal advanced in 1981.
"The Soviets seem far more anxious for an agreement with Ronald Reagan before he leaves office than I had thought," Adelman said. "They want Ronald Reagan to sign an arms control agreement with them. This is the most conservative President since World War II. If he signs up for arms control, it gives the legacy of arms control--and the importance of arms control--even greater hype."
Adelman, who has not specified his reasons for resigning, scoffed at suggestions by some conservatives that he is doing so because he could not defend the prospective arms control pact. He called the expected treaty "very good," although he suggested that the Soviet Union has more to gain than the United States because of Moscow's substantial lead in conventional, or non-nuclear, weaponry.
"Arms control, by and large, serves Soviet interests far more than it serves our interests, and they have a real stake in having arms control be the centerpiece of U.S.-Soviet relations," Adelman said.
He added that the unintended side effects of a weapons control pact would create difficulties for the Atlantic Alliance.
"There will be a tendency to see the Soviets as a lesser threat because of this arms control. There will be a rush for economic detente to give (Moscow) loans and technology transfer and all that," he said. "In terms of European public opinion, the Europeans now see Gorbachev as more eager for peace and arms control than Reagan, which is harmful."