Soviet aid to Poles may be slowing

The Soviet Union, sharply hiking political pressure on Poland, also seems more reluctant to pour huge sums of emergency assistance into the Polish economy.

Diplomats here stress that there is no visible sign as yet of anything approximating a cutoff in Soviet aid to Poland -- valued by Polish officials at more than $4 billion since last summer.

But foreign experts say that in recent weeks, Moscow seems to have granted no fresh installment in special credit or hard-currency loans said to have totaled more than $2 billion since the Polish crisis began.

Why? "It could be part of pressure on Poland," ventured one diplomat. "It could be a form of pressure on Western bankers to continue helping out the Poles ," suggested another.

"Or," a third foreign analyst said, "it could be for largely economic reasons , a result of the strain the crisis has placed on the Soviet and East European economies."

Fueling diplomatic interest in future Soviet aid trends have been private comments from Polish sources here suggesting dissatisfaction with the outcome of bilateral economic talks in Moscow June 1 to 3.

The assumption among foreign analysts is that the Poles were hoping for further emergency assistance in reviving their badly battered economy, and got less than hoped for.

But at this writing, there was no firm sign that the Soviets had decided to rein in various forms of indirect subsidy of the Polish economy -- principally, tolerance of Poland's default on obligations within the East European economic community, and deliveries of badly needed raw materials to Poland.

After the recent talks here, the Soviet news agency quoted the head of the Polish delegation as saying: "Soviet deliveries of raw and other materials are of great importance. . . . These are not only considerable . . . but are also being implemented steadily, without being influenced by short-term fluctuations."

In Warsaw, he was quoted by the Polish news agency as saying Moscow had shown full understanding of Poland's economic needs.

Meanwhile Soviet political pressure on Poland has been tightening. A recent letter to the Polish Communist leadership, according to excerpts released June 10 in Warsaw, spoke of "anti-Sovietism" in Poland, alleged that "enemies of socialism" were seizing power, and said developments there threatened "our common [East bloc] security."

There was no immediate soviet reaction to a June 9-10 meeting of Poland's Communist Party Central Committee, but East Germany, a close Soviet ally, signaled displeasure with Polish Communist leader St anislaw Kania in its coverage of the session.

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