America's enemies around the world -- and many of its allies - overwhelmingly condemned the U.S. attack on Libya Tuesday, calling the military action a violation of international law that will have little impact on terrorism.
The Israeli government took an unequivocal stand of support for the raid, and the leaders of Britain and West Germany also backed the action.
But the Soviet Union called the attack an ''aggressive criminal action'' and canceled a mid-May meeting between Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze to set a date for the next summit between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
Gorbachev said the assault on Libya ''cannot be justified by any arguments'' and has ''stamped out'' the ''positive tendencies and hopes'' for an improvement in U.S.-Soviet relations.
Moscow's Warsaw Pact allies joined the criticism.
Romanian President Nicholae Ceausescu complained to U.S. officials that the Romanian Embassy in Tripoli was damaged and four Romanians were injured. Poland called the raid ''another show of state terrorism by the present U.S. administration.''
Cuba said the ''genocidal bombings'' show that state terrorism is centered in Washington and is headed by Reagan.
Nicaragua labeled the strike ''premeditated, unjustifiable and irresponsible'' and accused the United States of launching ''the most indiscriminate international terrorism by ordering the bombardment of targets in populated zones of Tripoli.''
Libyan foes and allies in the Middle East condemned the attack.
Syria, Libya's staunchest supporter in the Arab world, has in recent weeks offered to fight alongside Libyan troops in the event of an American offensive. Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy reportedly telephoned Syrian President Hafez Assad after the U.S. attack, but Damascus did not comment on any Syrian military action.
Yemen and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat -- both critics of Khadafy -- called for an emergency Arab summit meeting to discuss ''U.S. aggression.''
Israel issued the strongest praise for the American strike.
''The attack doesn't surprise me,'' Prime Minister Shimon Peres said. ''It doesn't surprise me that the U.S. takes self-defensive action. Those who send murderers to kill others will be harmed too.''
Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir said Israel regards the strike ''as an action of defense by the United States and the entire free world against international terrorism.''
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher also approved the raid, lending a hand by permitting U.S. warplanes to stage the strikes from British bases.
''If one always refuses to take any ris because of the consequences, terrorist governments will win and one can only cringe before them,'' Thatcher told the British Parliament.
In West Germany, Chancellor Helmut Kohl also said he supported the U.S. attack although a key member of his Cabinet dissented.
But several other of America's NATO allies said they disapproved of the action.
''We understand the American anger when innocent people are being murdered,'' Belgian Foreign Minister Leo Tindemans said. ''But we deplore this was done with military means.''
The French government, which refused to let U.S. planes cross French territory en route to Libya, criticized the United States for setting the stage for a new ''chain of violence.''
Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi warned the raid may ''provoke explosive reactions of fanaticism and criminal and suicide actions''.
Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez distanced Spain from the U.S. action and said, ''I have let the United States know that I do not agree with the method it used.'' But he also described as ''intolerable and inadmissible'' recent threats by Khadafy against Spain and said ''we are not willing to accept this kind of threat.''
Saudi Arabia, a country with good relations with the United States, also attacked the U.S. action.
''Saudi Arabia expresses deep regret and condemns this attack and method which contradicts acceptable international behavior. We are alongside Libya and any Arab state which is subject to attack,'' an official Saudi Arabian spokesman said in a statement broadcast by the government radio.
Japanese Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe, currently in Washington, issued a brief statement indicating Tokyo was taking a wait-and-see attitude.