Door ajar for Walesa to see Pope

Poland's communist leaders have signaled they are willing to allow a meeting between Lech Walesa and Pope John Paul II at some point during the eight-day papal pilgrimage through Poland.

Such signals came during a press conference by Deputy Premier Mieczyslaw Rakowski, Monitor special correspondent Eric Bourne reports. Even the indication that the government would not prevent such a meeting should do a lot to defuse public resentment of derogatory official attitudes toward the former Solidarity leader.

The authorities are apparently willing to tolerate a meeting in the hope that it may further encourage the Pope to support the government of Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski and its efforts at national conciliation.

Earlier, the authorities had frowned on the prospect of a meeting between the Pope and Mr. Walesa, who they insist is now ''only a private person.'' Now they seem to be leaving the door open for the Pope himself to decide whether to receive Walesa. Mr. Rakowski indicated, however, that the authorities would expect to be advised in advance if such a meeting were proposed after all. He caused some surprise by adding: ''But in politics, you know, there can always be compromises.''

Rakowski foreshadowed another meeting not on the official program: a tete-a-tete between the Pope and General Jaruzelski. It could take place during the Pope's official call at the Belvedere Palace Friday to meet ''representatives of the state authorities.'' At least two hours have been allotted for this meeting. (Related story on Pope's trip, Page 13.)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
QR Code to Door ajar for Walesa to see Pope
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today