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A new Schmidt jab on Poland

German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt again blamed the Soviet Union for the repression in Poland in a defensive speech in an acrimonious Bundestag debate Jan. 14, Monitor correspondent Elizabeth Pond writes.

Mr. Schmidt resisted naming the Soviet Union by name for three weeks after the December imposition of martial law in Poland, but he finally endorsed President Reagan's specific criticism of Moscow when the two leaders met in Washington early this month.

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Schmidt's latest criticism of Moscow took the same form as his earlier blasts while in Washington: He named the Soviets by name while insisting that West Germany's initial criticism of the imposition of martial law had indeed ascribed responsibility to the Soviets. What he did not say, in Washington Jan. 5 or in the Bundestag Jan. 14, was that the parliamentary resolution Dec. 18 condemning martial law had been introduced by the opposition conservatives.

Schmidt also noted that he had written letters about Poland both to Polish leader Wojciech Jaruzelski and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev -- a step he wouldn't have taken had he not held the Russians partly responsible.

In rebuttal, conservative opposition leader Helmut Kohl threw back earlier quotations to show just how skittish Bonn's Social Democratic-Liberal government was originally about implicating the Soviet Union in the Polish crackdown.

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