Poland's unease mounts as Pope's visit concludes
Warsaw — The Pope's visit to Poland has ended without public violence, and that must be a source of relief to the authorities. But until more is known of Wednesday's second meeting between the Pope and Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, there is little more to cheer the government here regarding the Pope's most recent visit to his homeland.
Jerzy Urban, the official spokesman, told a news conference Thursday morning that the Pope had proposed the second meeting with General Jaruzelski and that the government was gratified, since it had resulted in better understanding.
Nevertheless, the Pope's visit has left in its wake:
* A formidable reminder and warning to the authorities that public sympathy with the outlawed Solidarity union is more active and more widespread among Poles than the leadership has wanted to admit.
* A strong feeling of uncertainty about the future, both - one may surmise - in the thinking of the government, which had hinted that martial law could soon be completely removed, and among the people.
The authorities' concern was evidenced by General Jaruzelski's flight to Krakow Wednesday evening for a long talk with the Pontiff. The meeting was not altogether unexpected, but the authorities were surprised that the Pope initiated it.
Throughout the papal tour contacts had continued between Vatican and government officials. But as the Pope repeatedly stressed reform and human rights, and official uneasiness over this grew perceptibly, both sides began thinking of a higher-level meeting for the Pope's formal departure Thursday than with head of state Henryk Jablonski, who is politically less important than Jaruzelski.
Although the crowds that came to hear the Pope during his eight-day tour were huge - one was estimated at 2 million or more - there was nothing resembling the violence of demonstrations last year under full martial law or in early May of this year.
At best, the Pope may have left with a ''wait and see'' attitude before what Mr. Urban described as ''better understanding'' becomes a matter of some active gesture on the part of the church. Meanwhile, there is considerable anxiety in Poland about the future.
The public response whenever the Pope touched on the present limited freedoms in Poland was always shaded by the intense Polish nationalism and a national preoccupation with and search for solace in centuries of history and partitions between powerful neighbors.
At the outset of the visit the public mood was obviously less euphorically expectant than during John Paul's first visit in 1979. Most Poles were tired after almost three years of conflict and expected little either from the visit or from government promises and programs.
But as the Pope moved to the west - Poznan and Warsaw are militantly pro-Solidarity - and then into the even more deeply Catholic south, the euphoria reappeared.
Active popular support for the underground as such has never been large. But the Pope's visit showed that the warm sympathy for Solidarity and for the essential ideas of August 1980 has not abated.
Many saw the presence of the Pope and a meeting with the Polish leaders as perhaps a last chance for Poland to be brought out of its crisis under the present relatively ''moderate'' and reform-minded leadership. The alternative, as they see it, would be a swing to the conservative hard line, despite frequent assurances from Jaruzelski that there will be ''no return to pre-August 1980.''
Moreover, there are not only the domestic hard-liners (with their own diplomatic links to Moscow and East Berlin) who have to be reckoned with, but also the Russians.
The Soviets were displaying anxiety about the visit well in advance, with the magazine Kommunist saying Polish recovery was proceeding ''too slowly'' and blaming that on the Catholic Church, the still-rebellious intellectuals, and the political inexperience of a young working class.
It remains to be seen how justified Urban's ''positive'' view of the Krakow meeting was. But the Catholic Church, like the regime, has an abiding interest in the crisis being brought under control and in some understanding being reached between government and people.
There is bound to be a controversial stock-taking within the Communist Party about the visit. Presumably this will occur soon, perhaps at an oft-postponed Central Commitee session on stricter ideological guidelines. That may take place before July 22, Poland's national day. Earlier there were hints that the end of martial law might be proclaimed then.
Any changes in the leadership could also come then. Up to this time, Jaruzelski was believed by experienced observers in Moscow still, broadly speaking, to have Soviet confidence. But if that were diminished by the events of this past week, Moscow would expect to see a firmer hand in control.
At the least, some further delay in lifting the last of martial law - principally the military control in all the big work centers - is now possible. It will be the struggle of opinion in the Politburo and the Central Committee that determines what comes next, with a watchful Moscow waiting to see that the right ''socialist'' decisions are taken.
The biggest demonstration occurred in Warsaw shortly after the Pope's arrival June 16. Subsequent demonstrations involved hundreds or at most a few thousand people. But throughout the huge crowds there was always a sympathetic response whenever flags with the ragged red word ''Solidarnosc'' went up.
According to the church marshals who were responsible for controlling the crowds, the police were under strict orders not to use force. Knowledge of this obviously encouraged more people to show their feelings as the week went on.
The police presence was massive, but the most the security forces did was to press back the demonstrating groups or head them off from some politically sensitive place. Usually the active demonstrators melted away quietly and fairly quickly.
What passed at the second meeting between General Jaruzelski and the Pontiff had not been disclosed at time of writing.
The official statement late Wednesday said only that the meeting had been suggested by the Catholic Church, that it was at Krakow's Wawel Castle, and that it continued the talks in Warsaw on the day after the Pope's arrival.
Hope was expressed that the visit would contribute to ''a peaceful and favorable development'' of social life in Poland and a strengthening of peace both in Europe and the world. It foreshadowed continuing ''contacts in the interest of both church and state.''
The Vatican had earlier shown concern about the atmosphere building up around the papal tour, concern that was prompted, perhaps, by the sharp protests implicit in Vice-Premier Mieczyslaw Rakowski's comments on the Pope's remarks about the frustrations of Polish youth.
A statement Wednesday by the Vatican press spokesman echoed the government's complaint that the internatonal news media were interpreting the Pope's words ''in terms of political undertones'' (the government would say overtones) and dismissed this as ''totally contrary'' to his intentions.
Especially because for Poles he is ''the Polish Pope,'' John Paul II cannot avoid taking into account the social-humanitarian side of Poland's problems. Under the conditions that have existed since 1980, that inevitably becomes ''political.''