Signs Of Banned Solidarity Movement Abound On Vice President’s Polish Trip
WARSAW (AP) _ Vice President George Bush signaled ″great affection″ and support for the outlawed Solidarity movement Sunday while endorsing financial help sought by ruling Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski as he shuttled between two conflicting worlds in Poland.
″We support Solidarity and we support pluralism and we’ve been very clear on that″ in discussions with government officials, the vice president told Solidarity figure Lech Walesa at a dinner hosted by Americans.
″We’ve got great affection for you and support you,″ he said.
Walesa, who once was interned under martial law, said he was thankful for what Bush had done and was ″asking for more.″
″We are happy that finally the vice president talked about Solidarity and about the fact that our reforms, those proposed by us, are fully accepted by the vice president and by America,″ Walesa told reporters after the dinner.
He said he and Bush would ride together on Monday morning to visit the grave of the Rev. Jerzy Popieluszko, a murdered pro-Solidarity priest.
A statement by the banned union issued late Sunday said Walesa and eight other senior Solidarity activists who had attended the dinner had described for Bush the political and social situation in Poland.
It said they told him that deep economic reforms and greater democratization ″are indispensible steps″ for Poland to avoid a ″tragic civilizational regression.″
With demonstrations of Solidarity support erupting around him as he made his way through several public appearances, Bush also apppeared at one point to flash a ″victory″ sign favored by the organization’s backers. ″I assume he knew what the sign″ meant, said an aide who was asked later about Bush’s intentions.
And the vice president’s message was clear when he told an estimated 2,000 worshippers at a Mass, ″We in America have watched and suffered with you. But we are confident that you will not merely survive the present difficulties but that you will prevail.
″For our and your freedom,″ he added in Polish.
Polish authorities made no attempt to interfere with Walesa’s visit to the American dinner. But an opposition source in Krakow said police there detained an opposition activist taking part in an anti-government demonstration after a Mass commemorating Bush’s visit. The vice president will visit Krakow on Tuesday.
Bush is midway through a four-day visit to Poland, and the contrast between his public outings and his official meetings reflected the balancing effort involved in his stay. On the one hand, he is seeking better ties with the government and is hoping to coax government reforms from them in the process. At the same time, he is visibly associating himself with government critics.
Bush met with Jaruzelski, head of the government, for about two and a half hours, and aides said afterward they were pleased that two days of discussions had been conducted with ″no sort of screaming and yelling and putting in any artificial arguments.″
One State Department official traveling with the vice president, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Bush indicated the United States would be willing to support consolidation of Poland’s debt to the Paris Club, a group of Western creditor nations. Poland is seeking help in coping with its large foreign debt.
The two sides also have agreed to an exchange of ambassadors, although no formal announcement has been made.
The aides said Bush stressed the need for Poland to proceed with economic reform and to take steps to further human rights.
These aides also refused to say whether Bush told Jaruzelski that he favors the legalization of Solidarity, only that he stated a desire for ″trade union pluralism.″
Bush’s meeting with Jaruzelski was their second in two days, and took place in the splendor of a 17th century castle that the government uses for ceremonial functions.
Aside from his visit to the castle, Bush saw widespread evidence of public support for Solidarity in a small private farm and a Catholic church outside Warsaw.
It started almost from the moment he stepped out of his limousine into the chilly morning air to visit a small private farm. Even though the Polish government selected the farm as suitable for Bush’s visit, the owner, Jan Salwowski, was a former member of the rural Solidarity group.
In addition, someome tipped off Gabriel Janowski, an official in the regional Solidarity and he, too, was waiting to greet Bush.
One American official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a Polish official sought to gently nudge Janowski away but was unsuccessful.
″Delighted to see you,″ a surprised vice president said after Janowski introduced himself.
After a brief outdoor tour of the farm, Bush went into the family house, where one unidentified person was wearing a Solidarity lapel pin. Also inside the house was a portrait of the slain Rev. Popieluszko.
″Nobody told me to take it down,″ Salwowski’s wife Krystyna said afterward. ″But anyway, it’s my apartment and I decide what goes there.″
The sentiment was even more obvious at St. Margaret’s Church in Lomianki outside Warsaw, where some of the worshippers as well as some of the altar boys held miniature American flags.
″Let’s pray for Solidarity, which was banned by the authorities, and let us try to continue the good direction it was going,″ intoned the Rev. Jan Czerwinski as he said the Mass. And when the worshippers sang a service-ending hymm, hundreds of people also raised their hand in the victory salute that symbolizes support for Solidarity.
″The U.S.A. will never forget Poland,″ Bush told the crowd. ″We respect you, we admire you and we love you.″
Outside the church was a large crowd and many more American flags, as well as a Solidarity flag.