United Nations, N.Y.
Although the Reagan administration still seems to be toying with the idea of bringing the Polish crisis before the United Nations, a clear majority of UN members do not believe such a debate would be helpful.
Indeed, many diplomats here are convinced that a UN debate at this stage would be counterproductive.
''We don't want the worst to happen in Poland by leaving the Polish military with even less room for maneuver than they have now,'' one West European delegate says.
Although many diplomats privately express anger and frustration about the crackdown in Poland, most are opposed to bringing the matter to a vote, or even to a debate, for a variety of legal and political reasons.
For one thing, it does not appear that the necessary nine votes can be found to bring the question of Poland before the Security Council. Nor are 79 delegations, the number needed for a simple majority of the General Assembly, ready to call for a special session of the Assembly on Poland.
''Why did the UN act on Afghanistan and is it reluctant to make a similar move with regard to Poland?'' asks one permanent member of the Security Council rhetorically.
''In Afghanistan we witnessed a clear case of invasion of one country by another. In Poland there has been no outside aggression. Chapter 7 of the UN Charter cannot thus be invoked and the matter, to quote from the UN Charter, 'falls essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of the (Polish) state.' ''
Another senior nonaligned diplomat explains: ''The UN did not act on Vietnam even though many delegations strongly objected to the US bombings of Hanoi.
''Furthermore, it may be true that the Polish military acted under the pressure and with the support of Moscow, but many governments, including some friendly to the US, believe the military coups in Chile in 1973 and in Brazil in 1964 took place at the instigation and with the support of Washington.
''How could the UN act on Poland when it remains largely silent on El Salvador, where the military are, according to many accounts, killing their own people by the thousands?''
European perceptions of the Polish crisis differ greatly from American perceptions. One high-ranking West European diplomat says, ''While the Polish tragedy is taken by the Reagan administration as an opportunity to score propaganda points against Moscow, to us West Europeans it is a matter of grave and direct concern; Poland is geographically and culturally a European nation, and we don't want the Polish people to suffer more than they are already by provoking a real Soviet intervention or by punishing them by cutting off their food supplies.''
Latin Americans, on the other hand, see the present repressive solution carried out by Poles themselves as a lesser evil. They fear that if the Soviet Union used its Army to discipline the Poles, the US might be tempted to intervene militarily in Cuba or in Nicaragua.
Much as many delegates ''hate what is happening in Poland,'' as one Asian ambassador puts it, they think that:
* An inflammatory debate would not help the Poles preserve the liberties they gained in the last year and a half.
* It is too early to tell what the current government has in mind for the Polish people.