Hans-Jochen Vogel, the West German opposition candidate for chancellor, said Thursday the Soviet Union is now prepared to seek a balance in the number of warheads - not just of missiles - in the Geneva talks on reducing medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe.
Disarmament experts said the change was significant, since the main Soviet missile aimed at Western Europe, the SS-20, has three warheads, whereas US missiles to be deployed this year to counter the SS-20 have one warhead. Mr. Vogel was reporting on talks with Soviet leader Yuri Andropov this week.
According to Vogel, the Soviet Union said it was prepared to destroy some missiles and withdraw others out of range of Western Europe. Asked if Moscow was specifically prepared to scrap SS-20s and not just older medium-range missiles, he said: ''This will be a subject for negotiation.''