Kremlin serves notice it has security interests in Poland
The Kremlin has served fresh notice that it feels Soviet security interests are at stake in Poland. Moscow's first official reaction to the imposition of military rule there expresses hope the crackdown will work, but suggests the Soviets are closing no policy options in case it doesn't.
The Soviet policy statement, issued by Tass earlier Dec. 14, predictably seeks to counter any Western suggestion that the Soviets prompted the measures taken by the Polish authorities.
''These steps,'' Tass says, are Poland's ''internal affair.'' It is those ''circles in the West'' who suggest otherwise who are trying to meddle in Polish matters.
Whether to lend weight to the argument that the Polish action is an internal matter, or to avoid commitment to a strategy that could yet conceivably go awry, the statement omits explicit comment on the measures announced in Poland Dec. 13 .
But the wording of the declaration leaves little doubt the Kremlin is happy that the Polish leadership has at least (and at last, in the Soviet view) tried something to counter a campaign by ''the enemies of socialism in Poland . . . to overthrow the existing social system.''
Tass added that the introduction of martial law came ''in accordance with . . . the Constitution'' and quoted Polish leader Wojciech Jaruzelski as saying: ''The measures taken are designed to create conditions for taking Poland out of a crisis situation.''
The statement is stronger, more direct, and more explicit on another issue: the implications of the Polish crisis and its latest developments for the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. Nearly half of the 40-line declaration is devoted to this subject, termed by one European diplomat ''the main point the Soviets wanted to get across.''
''We Westerners say we're getting concerned again about possible Soviet meddling,'' the diplomat commented. ''The Soviets seem, in effect, to be reminding us of what they see as their own interests in the Polish situation. . . .''
The Soviet statement says opposition forces in Poland were ''striving by all means to undermine the fraternal friendship between the Polish and Soviet peoples.''
This, it said, ''was creating . . . a direct threat to the fulfillment by Poland of its allied commitments under the Warsaw Pact, which directly affected the security interests of all member states.''
In a passage clearly meant to carry the weight of the Kremlin, the statement adds:
''Tass is authorized to state that the Soviet leadership, all the Soviet people . . . have received with a feeling of satisfaction Jaruzelski's statement that the Polish-Soviet alliance has been and remains the cornerstone of Polish state interests . . . and that Poland has been and remains an unbreakable part of the Warsaw Pact, and a member of the socialist community of states.''
The message seemed clear: Although Polish martial law is termed an ''internal affair,'' the crisis it is meant to resolve was, and is, a matter of vital concern to the Soviet Union and the Eastern alliance it leads.
Diplomats here still assume the Kremlin would love to see the Polish leadership sort out its problems alone. But should the situation next door turn worse rather than better, the Dec. 14 Tass statement makes clear, Soviet officials aren't likely to content themselves with a shrug of the shoulders and placid talk about ''internal'' Polish affairs.
Nor does the Soviet statement include anything resembling a vote of confidence in the Polish crackdown, saying only that the ''Soviet people wish the fraternal Polish people success in solving the difficult problems before their country.''
(A later Tass dispatch said reports in Warsaw indicated Poland was generally calm but that some ''provocative elements'' were trying to ''infiltrate (Polish economic) enterprises and conduct subversive activities.'' This was an apparent reference to efforts to stage a general strike, described by Western news reports as only partially effective.)
Having been given extensive and uncommonly objective reports of the new Polish measures, nonofficial Moscow has been abuzz with speculation of what is likely to come next. Some Muscovites, particularly intellectuals, share the feeling of many diplomats that eventual failure of the Polish strategy would make some form of Soviet intervention more likely.
One young woman said:''My friends and my family spent much of yesterday talking about the situation. It is obviously difficult. My grandmother just assumes there will now be civil war there. . . . But I think, I hope, maybe the situation is getting better.''