Poland Warns of Retaliation for Expulsion of Polish Diplomats
WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ Calling Washington’s decision to expel four Polish diplomats a deliberate provocation, the official news agency PAP said Saturday that Poland may consider retaliatory steps.
The PAP commentary was the first official response to the U.S. State Department’s decision Friday ordering four Poles to leave the United States. Washington acted after Poland accused two American diplomats of helping lead an illegal pro-Solidarity march on May Day and said they must leave Poland.
According to the Polish government, the two U.S. diplomats, David Hopper and William Harwood, were among 15 people detained in an ″aggressively behaving leading group″ of Solidarity supporters on May 1.
The U.S. Embassy in Warsaw said the Americans were not involved in the protest and were kicked, hit and pushed by security agents.
PAP claimed the United States has adopted a ″confrontation-oriented″ policy toward Poland, and said Polish authorities ″would ponder further actions in relations with the United States″ but would not be ″led onto the road of provocation.″
The news agency did not specify what measures Poland might adopt, but added the U.S. action will be met with ″a consistent reaction″ by the Polish government.
Officials at the office of the government’s spokesman, contacted by telephone, said they would have no immediate comment on the U.S. expulsion order.
The Polish diplomats ordered to leave the United States within seven days are Boguslaw Maciborski of the Polish Embassy in Washington, and Romuald Derylo, Jozef Kaminski, and Stanislaw Zawadzki of the Polish consulate in Chicago.
PAP said the four Poles had not abused their diplomatic status, but accused the two Americans of ″actions constituting a violation of the law and their diplomatic status.″
In another development, Poland’s Roman Catholic bishops issued a communique criticizing attacks in the government-controlled news media against Polish- born Pope John Paul II.
Recalling that in May 1981 the pope was wounded in an assassination attempt in Rome, the bishops said, ″It is not without significance that the object is the person of the first Slav and Polish pope that offends some people. Recently, attacks of this sort appear also in the local mass media.″
The communique was issued following a three-day meeting of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, presided over by Cardinal Jozef Glemp, that ended Saturday.
Bishop James W. Malone, president of the U.S. National Conference of Catholic Bishops, on Friday told a session of the conference in the southern shrine city of Czestochowa that the Polish church offered an example of ″the intrepid defense of human rights.″
Malone, the bishop of Youngstown, Ohio, began a 12-day visit to Poland on Thursday by attending the bishops’ meeting in Czestochowa. He is scheduled to meet with Glemp and other church officials and also visit the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.
In his address, Malone said people around the world ″shared in Poland’s great experience when Solidarity was born″ and voiced his admiration for Lech Walesa, the leader of the now-outlawed free trade union.
″His (Walesa’s) spirit is an inspiration to workers around the world and in America,″ said Malone.