Poland's party leader is 'absolutely convinced' Soviets won't invade
Polish Communist Party leader Stanislaw Kania has declared his belief that the Soviet Union has no interest in moving into Poland. He was "absolutely convinced" of it, he told US millionaire businessman Armand Hammer, president of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, in a talk in Warsaw Dec. 15.
The sprightly octogenarian has long had a hand in industrial dealings with the East bloc. He was involved in deals with the Soviet Union before World War II and since then with East Europeans, enabling him to establish good contacts with their leaders.
The meeting with Mr. Kania took place against a background of considerably reduced tension in Poland. National emotions ran high as the week began, in anticipation of the Dec. 15 dedication of the monument to workers killed by security forces during strikes on the Baltic coast in December 1970.
In general terms, the party leader already had said much of what he told Mr. Hammer. But it took on greater significance when stated in more unequivocal terms to a Westerner. And the statements contrasted greatly with what had been said in the tense and critical days of the first week of December.
The situation, Mr. Kania said, did not call for intervention. The Polish government could handle the situation itself. Poland, he added, was a "socialist" country and would remain so; it also was "a democratic state."
His remarks, apparently, were based largely on two recent meetings with Mr. Brezhnev. The Russians, he said, understood the Polish situation, "especially Brezhnev."
Not too much should be read into the emphasis assigned to the Soviet leader. But it is interesting in relation to a fairly detailed picture of the Moscow summit that gradually has taken shape from several sources in Warsaw.
Although there are varying accounts, the best substantiated one has it that the East Germans assumed a "leading role," with a blunt recital of charges against the Polish dissidents and criticism of official latitude toward them in recent years.
The East Germans produced a bulky dossier, presented item by item by Interior Minister Erich Mielke. It listed many activities and statements over a long period made by dissident groups and their leaders calculated to underscore a chief them of the bloc hardliners: that events in Poland were strongly influenced by "anti-Soviet," "antisocialist," "counterrevolutionary" elements.
The East Germans are said to have turned their case virtually into a charge against the Polish leaders. They implied that allowing such activities to pass without action and without crushing the samizdat opposition press, the leadership was agreeing with them. According to this same account, the Russians , it seemed, took very little part in the discussion beyond raising a few questions. They added no charges of their own.
One suggested reason for this is that the Soviets were aware of the East Germans' present difficult situation as well as their long-held fear of possible repercussions in East Germany itself from the Polish crisis. This view holds that the Russians did not want to press the Poles very hard, but felt it necessary to allow the East Germans to have their full say before the summit made its declaration of confidence. Accounts vary about what conditions, if any , were imposed on the Poles during the summit. One version has it that they were given four weeks to get things in order. Others doubt this.
The summit itself, analysts say, and the demonstrative military buildup around Poland before it, may have been enough to help the party cool the situation as much as it has.