The Kremlin was in a hurry to congratulate new Polish party chief Stanislaw Kania in particularly warm terms, perhaps hoping thereby to imply that he is "their man," and warn that Poles had better take care about pressing demands for reforms too far.
There really is very little to vindicate his claims to the leadership. The powerful, squarely built man who has just succeeded Edward Gierek was a secretary of the central committee from early 1971. He was then a deputy member of the Politburo until his election as full member in 1975. There is little in his background, however, to relate him either as closer to, or more distant from Moscow, or as anything other than a middle-of-the-road national Pole.
People here, including the few outside observers who have had any opportunity to observe a man not especially seeking the public eye, do not regard him as a potential hard-liner simply because his party responsibility was for internal security.
He had the policeman's job and obviously is one of the "strong" men in the top lineup. But it was somewhat incongrously mixed with responsibility also for party policy on religious questions that must have taught him the unquestionable , paramount need for the party to get along with the Roman Catholic Church.
Mr. Gierek, his predecessor, was the Silesian miner's son who, at 13, was working at the pit face in a colliery in Belgium. He himself was the son of poor peasants in southeast Poland and was not much older when he was apprenticed to the village farrier.
His first speech as party leader suggested that the lessons for the party of the last two months are not lost on him. He said the right things about the Soviet alliance and thanked the Soviet Union for its "understanding" in the present crisis.
But Mr. Kania had taken part in the negotiations that produced the settlement of the strikes in the Gdansk region. He now scored suggestions they were "antisocialist," and reiterated firm commitment to thorough renewal of trade unions.