Relaxations of emergency regulations are on the way and a large part of martial law itself might be lifted by the end of February if no ''unforeseen events'' or illegal antistate actions intervene, Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski told the Polish people Jan. 25.
But economically--apparently in terms of continued military control in sectors vital to economic recovery and security--martial law, he said, would have to be retained longer because the country had been weakened to the point of exhaustion.
''How long that might be,'' he added, ''will depend on all of us.''
The general, who is prime minister and leader of the Polish Communist Party as well as head of the Military Council of National Salvation, was addressing the Polish Sejm (parliament).
His remarks to the parliament, meeting in its first session since martial law was declared, indicate military control may be maintained for an indefinite period in heavy industry, mining, energy, railways and communications, and other sensitive sectors of the economy.
General Jaruzelski's speech was also the first major public policy statement since martial law was proclaimed Dec. 13.
He began his remarks with a lengthy justification of the state council's decision to suspend civil administration, the trade unions, and all political activities and to place the Army in control. The country, he said, was racing toward chaos, and martial law was the only way to avert national disaster.
Jaruzelski appeared to be trying not to raise Polish hopes too high. He warned against misplaced notions of easy return to ''normal.''
(The nation's food situation, for one thing, remains parlous. It seems certain to be aggravated by the steep price rises that take effect next week.)
''Let the difficult martial law conditions be removed as soon as possible,'' Jaruzelski said. ''But this will depend on existing conditions and the possibilities for normal life and work in Poland.
''In any case, neither the calendar nor outside pressure will decide the future of Poland.''
Rejecting US charges that the Soviet Union was behind the decision on martial law, he said, ''The decision was our own, taken on the basis of our own evaluation.''
There was applause from the deputies when he mentioned those Western countries not taking part in sanctions against Poland.
Human rights, he said, were only ''temporarily withdrawn.'' He said subversive activities still were going on, and their perpetrators encouraged to ''disrupt the existing order'' by Western radio stations, which played up their activities.
''But this is in vain,'' Jaruzelski said. ''They are counting on something which cannot take place.''
In an apparent reference to demands by the Roman Catholic Church and others for the release of the detainees, he said that 1,760 of some 4,500 who were interned had been freed.
''There is forgiveness for all those willing to cooperate. We wish a socialist Poland built by Poles, with Poles.''
The general appeared to differentiate between civil restrictions and the application of martial law throughout the political and economic life of the country. In industry, he said, ''the elements of martial law'' would be kept in force ''for a longer period.''
Together with the public discontent, this seems certain to be aggravated by the severe price rises - and hence the unavoidable ''rationing by pocket'' - coming into operation next week.