US officials: Soviets might still intervene

Despite the heavy military crackdown in Poland, some reports indicate martial law is failing. As a result, top US officials feel, the danger of direct intervention by the Soviet Union may in fact be increasing as the efforts to crush Polish opposition continue.

''Once you've started down this road, you've taken the decision to apply force, then you could be led inevitably to a greater spiral of repression which would involve Soviet intervention,'' said Walter J. Stoessel Jr., undersecretary of state for political affairs, on the CBS program ''Face the Nation.'' Similar warnings were made by Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. in a newspaper interview over the weekend.

United States options at this point continue to be limited, in the view of administration officials.

''The simplest contingency to which to respond is a direct military intervention. We have very clear plans for that,'' Mr. Stoessel said without elaboration. ''Lesser scenarios become more complicated.''

The US is reassessing plans to hold arms limitation talks in Europe in coming months, including a scheduled meeting between Secretary of State Haig and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko.

Also under consideration is bringing the Polish question before the United Nations, either to the General Assembly or Security Council, or before the UN Human Rights Commission which meets in Geneva early in 1982.

''We do see violations of human rights in Poland. They are of such a nature and such a scale that perhaps they could be considered as a threat to peace,'' said Mr. Stoessel.

Stoessel, a career diplomat and former US ambassador to Poland, would not comment on a letter sent to President Reagan by Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. The letter, written in response to Reagan's televised speech last week warning of possible political and economic sanctions against Moscow, is reported to be tough in tone. It is expected to be made public Dec. 28.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.