Leader of a troubled nation states his case QUESTION: Has the time not come when it is more important to consider the damage done (by sanctions), both to the Polish economy and to bilateral relations with the United States? Is Poland prepared to take the initiative to meet objections from the other side - for example, on the problem of imprisoned persons (such as former members of Solidarity or the dissident workers' Self-Defense Committee) - if the other side shows readiness for mutual accommodations?
Answer: Sanctions in international relations can be instituted only by the United Nations Security Council in strictly specified cases, defined in Article 39 of the UN Charter. Due to the US veto, sanctions have, for example, never been applied against South Africa. Thus, the use of economic weapons by the government of the US against Poland in no way means sanctions, but unilateral restrictions inconsistent with international law.
(At this point the general alluded to an extensive survey just issued by the government here on ''the policy of the United States of America with regard to Poland in the light of facts and documents 1980-83.'' He described it as ''a sort of unofficial white book of the 'biggest sins' committed by the US against our country.'')
Today's abnormal relations (the general continued) are inconsistent with the interests of both countries.
At the same time, the United States, by ''evacuating itself'' from Poland, is losing more and more - whereas Poland, by employing its own reserves, by integrating herself tighter with the allies, is losing less and less. It was not Poland which brought about such an abrupt deterioration of relations. (Nor was it) because of our intentions and acts that they have fallen to such a low level.
Once we approached with confidence the will for stabilized, long-term cooperation declared by the US. Today, we have to pay a high price for such credulity. The government of the US, by its treatment of Poland as an instrument of its policy, by the breaking of binding interstate agreements, has inflicted and inflicts considerable harm to our country's economy, and thus, to the Polish people as well.
Notwithstanding this, we are able to see real, not pretended, positive facts. We feel traditional, friendly sentiments to the great American people. We are for normalization of relations. But the notion of normalization must find support in concrete moves, otherwise it would be just an empty phrase.
Life has its rights, and this makes me confident that a realistic way of thinking will sooner or later prevail on the American side. But how can one speak about normalization when all the basic restrictions against Poland still remain in force and official statements by representatives of the US administration reaffirm this constantly? Only this really counts.
Poland is a sovereign country. History, also that of the recent past, has taught us a painful lesson of caution. I have an impression that in Washington and in some other Western capitals they still count on Polish naivete or negligence.
This is wrong thinking. There is but one Poland, situated in the center of Europe, socialist, allied with the Soviet Union and socialist states. Any calculations that any other Poland could be ''imagined,'' or that it could be freely manipulated, are but an illusion.
No foreign government has the right to interfere in our internal affairs. Putting forth conditions, conditioning economic and political contacts on these or other internal solutions in Poland, is pointless. We firmly denounced such an interference in the past and we shall do so with equal firmness in the future. Each time we hear lessons on human rights, we think that it would be much better , much more moral, to see to their realization in countries geographically and sociopolitically closer to the United States.
On prisoners: As regards persons deprived of liberty for offenses committed against the state . . . the provisions of Polish law should and shall be binding here. We never wanted, and we do not want to have, political prisoners. However today, social order, stabilization, and national reconciliation are of particular importance for Poland. The persons who both in the past and in the present opposed these goals cannot and shall not be given opportunity for exercising destructive activity.
I am really surprised it takes so long in Washington to realize the total ineffectiveness of the policy of boycott and restrictions against Poland. It is also worth stressing that time does not play in favor of the US.
Question: Could mutual agreement to restore diplomatic representation to ambassadorial level become a first step toward exploring possible areas of relaxation helpful to normalization of relations?
Answer: It is hard indeed to call the present state of affairs normal . . . when one government, while maintaining diplomatic relations with another government, airs uninterruptedly, round-the-clock, instigative broadcasts against that other government . . . when it spends millions of dollars for
propaganda tuned at destabilization of a country with regard to which it formally declared its sympathies. Not to mention falsifications, frequently abusive language, as well as the use of American stations to broadcast instructions for antistate groups.
It is hard to believe that strengthening the staffing of diplomatic missions can change all that. Protocol is important, but policy, economic relations - i.e., facts - are more important.
We would gladly allow ourselves to be convinced about the change of the US government's intentions with regard to Poland, if meaningful and measurable facts were created. Then there will be no obstacles impeding the taking of also this step on the road toward the normalization of mutual relations.
Question: The new trade unions grow in numbers, but recent differences of view between them and the authorities suggest that rapport between unions and government is still to be built. Can the unions be developed on an industry-by-industry, national basis to function as a bona fide, independent partner for the authorities?
Answer: So far in the US, opinions have been stubbornly disseminated that these unions are ''government-controlled, regime-run'' - that they only deserved condemnation and boycott. The fact is that trade unions are steadily growing. They already affiliate over 4.3 million working people. . . .
What is most characteristic is that these new, reborn unions unite representatives of all the previously functioning labor trends, most of them being former Solidarity members.
The law on trade unions . . . guarantees their independence and self-management, granting extensive rights much broader than ever before in Polish labor legislation. We consider the labor movement an authentic, serious partner. By their nature, the unions are a great school of civic education, and a constructive force that makes us sensitive to evil - since trade unions are the first to notice and signal the things disliked by the working class.
This is the lesson we draw from the recent past. Differences of opinion do occur. They are discussed by both sides with total seriousness and responsibility.
On Polish youth: Young people, like all Poles, have been deeply affected by the internal shocks our country suffered in recent years. It takes time to regain full balance. There are also specific youth problems. (But) our youth is patriotic and in its majority deeply committed to such ideals of socialism as social justice, the right of equal opportunities, the sense of responsibility for the motherland. Poland simply needs the young - her hope and biggest reserve , above all, her future.
On the deadlock in East-West relations: Our country lost over 6 million people and about 40 percent of its national wealth in World War II. It took us a quarter of a century to recuperate from the heaviest wounds. Demographic statistics indicate that Polish families will feel the war's imprint until the second decade of the next century.
The interests of Poland's national existence are inseparably linked . . . with the lasting nature of the military equilibrium, which for almost four decades has secured peace in the European continent and which 10 years ago made it possible to sign the CSCE (1975 Helsinki) Final Act. This balance has been undermined as a result of the missile decisions of the United States (that is, the deployment of cruise and Pershing II nuclear missiles in Western Europe). The situation is additionally aggravated and confidence undermined by the publicly voiced anticommunist crusade and confrontational doctrine.
There are still possibilities to break this deadlock and moving away from standstill. But there is one condition on which all progress depends: the principle of equal security of all the parties concerned, preservation of balance in the military sphere, departure from the policy of destabilization and confrontation.