The United States' European allies, reeling from the collapse of the Reykjavik summit they had thought was merely a handshake away from success, gave full public support Monday to President Reagan's negotiating efforts.
But leading political figures in several European capitals expressed bitter disappointment at the outcome of the talks and concern about their long-term impact on arms control efforts.
Some socialist politicians accused Reagan of causing the breakdown of the negotiations.
Secretary of State George P. Shultz, meanwhile, met here with representatives of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to brief them on the summit talks. In a three-hour meeting at the headquarters of the Western allies, Shultz reportedly emphasized the need for alliance unity.
And he is said to have underscored the Reagan Administration's continued commitment to arms control.
At a news conference afterward, Shultz described the alliance as united in its support of the U.S. effort in Iceland and in its continuing support of the search for arms control agreements with the Soviet Union.
"I was struck . . . at the cohesion, the constructive tone of alliance discussion," he said, "and of the general sense that the Reykjavik meeting is viewed by our allies as a tremendous success in bringing to the surface so many issues of genuine significance. . . . "
He said the allied representatives, among them six foreign ministers, had expressed astonishment at the negotiating progress in the areas of nuclear testing and long-range and medium-range nuclear missiles.
President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev had tentatively agreed to a 50% reduction in offensive weapons, to the elimination of medium-range weapons from Western Europe and a global cap of 100 on such missiles on each side and to new negotiations toward a total ban on testing.
"The Soviets may take it off the table, but it won't disappear," Shultz said of the tentative agreement. "It's there. We're in a different ball game."
After hearing Shultz, European representatives expressed support for Reagan's effort but were noticeably less enthusiastic than Shultz had been in describing their reaction. They avoided saying "success" in describing the summit talks.
Timothy Renton, minister of state in Britain's Foreign Office, blamed the collapse in Reykjavik on Gorbachev's demand that limits be put on testing of "Star Wars" technology before the Soviets would finally agree to reduce the numbers of long- and medium-range missiles.
'Moved the Goal Posts'
Noting that Gorbachev had agreed to treat the issues separately at his first summit meeting with Reagan last November, Renton said, "They (the Soviets) have moved the goal posts" by insisting on linkage.
Horst Teltschik, a senior adviser on security matters to West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, said the Soviets have demanded too much from Reagan by insisting that he give up all but laboratory testing of "Star Wars"--formally known as the Strategic Defense Initiative.
But for most Europeans, assessing blame seemed to be secondary to the shock and disappointment that the two sides failed after apparently getting so near to success.
"What's happened isn't what was expected at all," said Jan Blauw, who until recently was the Dutch Liberal Party's spokesman on defense and security matters.
Kristof Bertram, an editor of Die Zeit, the Hamburg weekly, and a former deputy director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, called the failure in Reykjavik the loss of "an extraordinary chance that might never be regained."
Affected by Fallout
Left-of-center political figures in several capitals were quick to blame Reagan for failure. In some instances, the President's closest allies could be affected politically by the fallout.
Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, for example, last week derided the opposition Labor Party's policy of unilateral nuclear disarmament, arguing that it was tough bargaining with the Soviets that had brought them to the negotiating table in Reykjavik. The implication was that the summit talks would produce results.
On Monday, Labor leader Neil Kinnock was quick to attack Thatcher, contending that it is her responsibility and that of other European leaders to convince Reagan of the need for an agreement.
"The deadlock will not do," Kinnock said. "It is evidence of power paralysis."
Horst Ehmke, a Social Democratic member of the West German Parliament, blamed Reagan for the summit's failure and called the Reykjavik meeting "a black Sunday for humanity."
Main Stumbling Block
The fact that Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative proved to be the main stumbling block to a sweeping arms reduction agreement is an especially bitter pill for West Europeans, who have openly questioned the SDI from the beginning, in terms of political as well as technical feasibility.
In a major speech dealing with the subject last year, British Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe referred to it as a "space-age Maginot Line," harking back to the French defense positions that failed to stop the German invasion of 1940.
Karsten Voigt, a Social Democratic member of the West German Parliament and his party's spokesman on security matters, said, "It is sad that an agreement failed because of a defensive shield the President's own military doesn't believe in."
Some politicians predicted that the failure to reach agreement would bring new strains into the alliance, but there appeared to be little likelihood that Reykjavik would either resuscitate the West European peace movement or raise any doubt about continued deployment of U.S. medium-range cruise missiles.
Subject Never Raised
Shultz was asked by reporters if any representatives of European governments had asked for a delay in the deployment of further cruise missiles, as a possible concession to Moscow. He said the subject was never raised.
Slightly fewer than half of the 464 cruise missiles planned for deployment since 1983 are now believed to be in place in Britain, Italy, Belgium and West Germany. The plan calls for some to be installed at sites in the Netherlands too, but none have gone in yet.
All 108 medium-range Pershing 2 missiles called for under the plan have already arrived in West Germany.
The medium-range missile deployment followed a series of anti-nuclear and anti-American demonstrations that were among the largest in Western Europe since World War II.
Moscow is considered almost certain to try to exploit the concern over the failure to reach agreement on medium-range missiles, especially since it is linked to a failure to agree on the SDI.
Soviet 'Charm Offensive'
The chief Soviet negotiator to the Geneva arms talks, Viktor P. Karpov, arrived in London late Monday for talks today with Thatcher and Howe. Some political observers believe that these talks will be the first step in a Soviet "charm offensive" aimed at influencing West European opinion on arms control issues.
At his news conference here, Shultz repeatedly emphasized the need for alliance unity and strength in dealing with Moscow.
"One reason we've made as much progress as we have is the cohesion, determination and strength of the alliance," he said. "We'll proceed to Geneva. We're going to work on these matters. We're going to keep driving to get agreement."
Shultz's comments on the negotiating process addressed a significant European concern--that the lack of agreement in Reykjavik could seriously damage East-West relations as well as arms control efforts.
Efforts on All Fronts
"New statesmanship and new responsibility are needed to avoid a setback in East-West relations," West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher said in an interview after the meeting with Shultz. "Efforts must be resumed on all fronts."
Immediately after the meeting with Shultz, Genscher left for Budapest and talks with Hungarian leader Janos Kadar.
Although the trip had been planned earlier, in connection with a West German state visit to Hungary, Foreign Ministry sources in Bonn said that in Budapest, there will be some discussion of ways to revive the arms control process.