Poles expect US to ignore expected lifting of martial law
Polish authorities are getting ready to lift martial law. No one here doubts that.Skip to next paragraph
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And that will, in effect, meet the only remaining condition set by NATO countries for ending sanctions against Poland. But Poles are not expecting President Reagan to take much notice of it.
''The American government seems so determined not to see or understand the realities of the Polish situation that I am sure, when the time comes, Washington will dismiss it as a formality,'' a senior official commented to this writer.
This official like many others says confidently ''the time'' will be Dec. 13, when Parliament meets in special session. The country is banking on it.
But there is official disappointment that the United States is showing no positive reaction to recent moves in that direction. The authorities have resumed dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church and the nation, and released interned Solidarity leader Lech Walesa.
Foreign Ministry officials profess mild optimism that the recently reconvened Madrid review meeting of the European Conference on Security and Cooperation will be less strident about Poland. They say some West Europeans as well as neutral countries are less inclined to follow the US line.
The head of the US delegation has said that some ultimate agreement, though difficult, is not impossible. But the Poles remain skeptical.
Officials list events of the last month, from the speech in which Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski reaffirmed his commitment to lifting martial law this year to his meeting with Archbishop Jozef Glemp on the eve of the Nov. 10 Solidarity anniversary, and the subsequent release of Lech Walesa.
In effect, all this meets the American prerequisites for taking the heat off Poland. But that interpretation is resented here.
''What we have done we have done because the changing condition of the country warrants it and not because of any outside pressure, and we shall continue on that course as stability increases,'' the official says.
The Solidarity anniversary passed without serious incident, and that is offered as proof that society desires an end to violent internal strife.
A news sheet put out Nov. 18 by underground Solidarity activists in Warsaw admitted that their call for a nationwide work stoppage had been a flop. Thier influence had been diminishing for some time. Even the bitterness of former union members at the way Solidarity was scuttled was not enough to stop work on the anniversary itself.
''Why do the Americans refuse to see that?'' the official asked. ''It is impossible not to think that their concern for Solidarity and Walesa has nothing to do with trade unionism but is really concerned with the ideological campaign against the Soviet Union and the socialist (communist) camp, using Poland and its crisis as an opportunity.''
US-Polish relations are at their chilliest since the cold war. Polish authorities single out two American stands in particular:
* Its attitude toward the unions emerging under the new law.
* Pressuring the Geneva-based General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs to reject Poland's request for a ruling that US suspension of its most-favored-nation tariff treatment violates GATT's rules.
The US argued the move was technical, not political. Poland failed to meet a GATT commitment to increase its imports by 7 percent a year.
Poles say negotiations were opened in the late 1970s to review their country's commitment under conditions of world recession, and that the US agreed the obligation was unrealistic.
The Poles challenge the US's right to question the validity of the new trade unions and the assertion the union law is a maneuver to push Poland back to pre-August 1980 conditions.
Officials insist the law secures union independence and self-government, and assures the essence of the August 1980 agreements (as Jaruzelski has said) ''for today and for tomorrow.''
Many of their criticisms of the US imply regret rather than anger at the decline of Poland's ties to America.
They admit that economic difficulties are aggravated by sanctions, from the ban on Polish airlines and fishing rights to the cutoff of grain and other supplies, and the halt to government credit. (Private US banks are taking some action on the latter score.)
There is, in fact, little anticipation in Warsaw that relations with the US are going to mend in any short term.