Pressures mount on Polish regime
Poles will not be expecting much as Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski delivers his first major speech under martial law today.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
But they desperately need a clear hint of their military government's intentions. Without some reassurance soon, the situation is likely to deteriorate still further. After six weeks of military government the country is ''quiet'' - at least in the sense that every day life is generally under military control. This gives Jaruzelski the opportunity to announce some further lifting of personal restraints.
But martial law in its broader sense seems likely to continue. The military still seems to consider its watchdog role in the mines and other key industries essential.
Coal output, for instance, is slowly picking up. But a pit manager quoted by Warsaw Radio Jan. 23 suggested that this is mainly due to military disciplines. ''The miners are working like soldiers,'' he said.
The government is under mounting pressures to demonstrate that it has more of a program than that:
* A pastoral letter from the Roman Catholic bishops released last week and a petition signed by 120 intellectuals have called again for early lifting of the emergency, release of internees, and a new government-Solidarity dialogue.
* Deputy Foreign Trade Minister Antoni Karas has predicted less food on Polish tables - including 250,000 tons less meat - as a result of American sanctions on further grain-fodder credits plus the European Community's suspension of subsidized sales of grain, beef, and butter.
There have been some relaxations. The first meeting of Parliament Jan. 25 since the imposition of martial law is one.
Besides providing the forum for Jaruzelski's speech, the gathering of deputies in the flat-domed chamber in the center of Warsaw will doubtless give the government the vote it needs to legitimize its emergency activities. But some deputies may ask searching questions.
During the year preceding martial law, the ''Sejm'' had begun to acquire a more representative look. The government has said the process will continue when reforms are resumed. Many deputies are determined to defend the new image.
Some of Parliament's committees have continued to work behind the scenes. One of them has taken up the matter of internment and raised questions about camp conditions. This week's debates should throw light on how much latitude MPs will be permitted.
One of the most important men in the Jaruzelski team and a longtime advocate of reform, Vice Premier Mieczyslaw Rakowski, offered his thoughts on the future on Warsaw Radio Jan. 23. Martial law was decided upon, he said, to halt a runaway train threatened with derailment and a national disaster. A period of time was needed to ''correct'' the situation. When that was clearly accomplished , martial law would be promptly lifted.
The vice premier spoke of ''continuing contacts'' with Walesa. He seemed to say that Walesa is an essential figure for reorganized labor unions.
There would be independent unions, Rakowski said, ''independent of employers (i.e. the state).'' But they would have to confine themselves to normal union activity and not set themselves up as political parties. Solidarity itself, he said, would have to be re-formed without its radicalism and with a realistic acceptance of the basic structures of the communist state.