A Style section story Monday gave the wrong location for an underground newspaper started by Polish Ambassador Kazimierz Dziewanowski and Polish Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki in 1982, during their country's communist regime. The newspaper was in Warsaw. (Published 8/9/90)

One of his first official decisions was that visitors be allowed to walk right in rather than go through a back yard that looked more like a prison than an embassy.

"The front door was created to let people in -- not the other way around. We will have the front door open that was usually closed because of the obsession with secrecy," says Poland's new ambassador, not needing to mention whose obsession.

He's a tall, gracious man whose face is as expressive as his words. At this particular moment he wears a look of amused indulgence as he watches his black-and-white English springer spaniel, Misia, exploring the somber foyer just inside the front door.

"We want to go into American society, to get as close contact as possible. It was a little different before," Kazimierz Dziewanowski says. Then he smiles and Honorata, his wife, who understands no English but understands her husband, smiles too, as if she knows what's coming next.

"I would say we are related to the White House now," he says, gesturing toward the dog. "Millie {which he pronounces Meelie} is the same race."

Dziewanowski (pronounced jev-a-NOV-ski) is a professional journalist, not a professional diplomat, and at first he had reservations about becoming an ambassador.

He had had other job offers from the current government, including that of chief editor of a government newspaper, and always turned them down. This time, he was being asked by his friend, Poland's prime minister, to help his country not as a writer but as a diplomat.

Dziewanowski, 59, had served as one of the Solidarity negotiators in the round-table talks that led to the June 1989 parliamentary elections. By late summer, Solidarity's overwhelming victory at the polls, including the election of Tadeusz Mazowiecki as prime minister, had spelled the end to postwar Poland's long communist rule. The embassy here, however, continued to be run by a holdover from a previous government.

"I must frankly say, at the beginning I was terribly afraid," Dziewanowski says of the prospect of becoming Poland's new ambassador to the United States. "I said to American Ambassador John Davis in Warsaw, 'You cannot find two people between the Vistula and the Potomac more frightened than we are.' "

Those fears notwithstanding, when Dziewanowski accompanied Prime Minister Mazowiecki to Washington in March, the word around the White House was that he was going to be Poland's next ambassador. President Bush told him outright that he ought to take the job but Dziewanowski wasn't so sure.

Only after the Washington visit did he finally reach the conclusion that this would be his last chance to see for himself how this business of diplomacy worked. He decided to come here for three or four years -- no longer -- and "accomplish my mission in the most efficient way I can. I don't think I have a future in diplomacy.

"I think the most important thing is to change the image of our country in this society, to show we are different now and that we try to be independent and shape our policy by ourselves. So this," he says, "is a political task."

In Warsaw, he undertook a 3 1/2-month crash course of instruction in everything from the pitfalls of protocol and how to run an embassy to getting to know the Americans and the use of psychology in salvaging a staff once loyal to the Communist Party.

Six members of the embassy staff have already been recalled, he says, because they are -- "how do you say -- sort of a symbol in the eyes of other people. Some people have their names associated closely with the former style of the country. But the majority are people who can work under any government." Another six staffers will leave within two months but after that "no more changes," Dziewanowski said.

"There are a lot of people who are working well and I think my approach has brought me some success," he says. "I had some people saying they are really trying to work with me. Especially young people. They are very helpful."

Learning the Ropes

Dziewanowski arrived in Washington July 18 and five days later called upon Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger. In preparation, the Polish foreign ministry had given him a leaflet spelling out the do's and don'ts of proper behavior during a first visit to the State Department. Instructions warned against staying longer than 15 minutes and discussing problems or business.

He flunked on both counts. "It was not 15 minutes but almost an hour, and we talked almost exclusively about political problems. I enjoyed his company very much."

Within a fortnight, Dziewanowski also met informally with a group from the World Bank, stopped to visit Veterans Affairs Secretary Edward J. Derwinski, talked with other prominent Polish Americans including Edward Moskal of the Polish-American Congress and was invited by Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, to meet still more influential Americans.

Tomorrow he is scheduled to present his credentials to President Bush at the White House and officially take on the duties of ambassador.

He has listened to proposals by public relations experts on ways he could meet with and inform Americans about the new Poland. "We have to travel," he says, "and I am starting to accept invitations so I can visit different parts of the country."

Dziewanowski's preferred style of entertaining will be to host small groups to match his operating budget, which he says is "sort of a problem. I will frankly tell you, we have not enough money. We are quite poor. ... My situation is much more complicated because of the enormity of the task and at the same time much easier than my predecessors', who were men of good will but were limited by the existing political situation."

If he once thought he could turn his attention to what he calls "an outdoor life" -- entertaining, traveling and speaking -- he is increasingly aware that like it or not "reality" will force him to become an expert on the details of Poland's $40 billion foreign debt. In discussions during the past few days, he says, he found that "I must hammer the point that we need a breakthrough in servicing the Polish debts if we can have success in our democratic experiment."

He knows it won't be easy "trying to persuade the American government -- the Congress -- to start reducing our debt," the highest among the burgeoning democracies of Eastern Europe, though on a per capita basis Hungary's is higher. "We have to change the mood of those who are afraid of creating a precedent because of Third World countries. But there are already some cases of debt reduction -- in Germany -- following the war."

Dziewanowski says it is a question now of time and patience but that he believes "important people" in Washington and the United States already understand how critical it is to the future of democracy in Poland -- "which everybody in Eastern Europe is watching" -- that Poland also succeed in its efforts to privatize state-owned industries.

"You cannot compare us with the British or French, which have also denationalized some industries, maybe 2 percent. We have to denationalize 85 percent. In the process, we are getting rid of a totalitarian regime, which makes things much more complicated."

With Solidarity's founder Lech Walesa talking openly now about replacing President Wojciech Jaruzel- ski, who was elected by the Parliament to a six-year term in July 1989 and so far has brushed aside calls that he step down, Solidarity has split into two factions. One is union-based behind Walesa and the other is led by intellectuals who support Prime Minister Mazowiecki.

Dziewanowski calls it "a normal thing," saying, "In Poland there was this wonderful, splendid movement of many million people united in Solidarity. And now it breaks up. It could not exist very long. A unity created to fight a battle cannot exist in normal times."

Aware of the questions Americans are asking about the forthcoming Polish presidential election, he says no one yet knows whether the vote will be by Parliament or by universal suffrage, which would require a change in the constitution.

He is amused that "people in the West, who are used to quite intensive political battles here, act as if they were amazed to see something like that happening in Poland because before, there was the universal feeling that in Poland everybody is united in the fight against the existing regime and that there are no differences between people," he says.

Dziewanowski believes "we are witnessing the beginning of a new party system" in which one is "a little left of the center and the second a little to the right. But the first is not leftist and the second is not rightist." His own sympathies lie "a little left of center," but as an ambassador he says he cannot campaign for a specific candidate.

"I expect we will create a normal system of competing and discussing

and fighting in elections," he says, "but not fighting in the streets."

Walesa's Ghostwriter?

When Lech Walesa spoke in an emotional appearance before a joint meeting of Congress last November, he was interrupted 25 times by the cheers, applause and laughter of his hosts. The speech was a review of Poland's wartime and postwar agony under totalitarian governments, and in it Walesa pleaded for aid to help bring democracy and freedom to his country.

It was written by Kazimierz Dziewanowski.

Later that November Congress approved a nearly $1 billion, three-year aid package for Poland and Hungary, far above President Bush's original modest proposal of $100 million in grants to Poland.

Dziewanowski is uncomfortable talking about that speech.

"It was a very good speech, wasn't it?" embassy press attache Bogaslaw Majewski asks a guest, casting a teasing glance at the ambassador.

"I never read it, I never read it," Dziewanowski insists, then adds, grinning slightly, "You can write you heard such a rumor, that there was no denial but no confirmation either."

His first major success with words came just after World War II, when he was 16 and writing articles to help support his mother and younger brother. The family's properties had been seized by the Nazis; they were never returned after the communists took power.

The article that brought him national attention was a philosophical essay called "The Young Republic" about the liquidation of the old Polish state. He directed it at his compatriots and their place in a postwar world. "It was critical of some attitudes I knew very well from the last war -- among young people especially -- attitudes of thinking about fighting with arms in hand and not so much about production."

"Many people protested against it, others supported it," he remembers. "The discussion went through the Polish press like brushfire. I was absolutely afraid -- I got a name."

An Underground Education

In 1939, when Dziewanowski was 9 years old, the German army invaded Poland. His father, from a wealthy land-owning family, was killed in combat just outside Warsaw. His grandfather, a well-known social activist, was among the Polish intelligentsia later rounded up by the Nazis when he refused to leave his farms in Plock, northwest of Warsaw, where he felt people needed and trusted him. He was sent to his death in the concentration camp at Dachau.

In Warsaw where he lived throughout World War II with his mother and his brother, Dziewanowski was educated "underground" in a web of "schools" that met clandestinely in private homes. On penalty of death, Dziewanowski said, Polish children were forbidden to go beyond the sixth grade in school and teachers were forbidden to instruct them. Those who successfully defied authority, however, earned diplomas attesting to their accomplishments. "It was really a very good education," he says in retrospect. "Working in small groups of five or six pupils twice a week for five or six hours gave us close contact with the professors."

After the war he entered the gymnasium, the equivalent of high school. When he graduated in 1948, he took the entrance examination for the school of political science at the University of Warsaw. Though his scores earned him first place on the list of eligible students, his prominent family name worked against him with the communist administrators. They denied him admission, saying no places were available. The following year he was allowed to enter law school. But when he graduated in 1953 he decided against practicing law and returned to journalism.

By the time he was 26, he was a prize-winning journalist. His reports on how Polish workers in the automobile, steel and mining industries were affected by the government's short-lived liberalization program were later published in a book. About that time he went to work for the World, an illustrated weekly, and when Wladyslaw Gomulka's communist regime began tightening censorship, Dziewanowski says he asked to be assigned to the Middle East.

He covered the Israeli-Arab Six-Day War in 1967 and, according to Bernard Bellush, writing in the Los Angeles-based Jewish publication Forward, Dziewanowski "thanked God that Israel had won" -- a sentiment incompatible with the Polish government's official position.

In 1968, he went to work for Life of Warsaw, covering the formation of Bangladesh, the war between it and India, events in Japan and the war in Vietnam -- "from the north," he says. He wrote 15 books on such diverse topics as the 1974 Middle East oil crisis and the Polish archaeological discovery in the Sudan of an early Christian church. The latter won him a United Nations prize.

At times, Dziewanowski was openly defiant of his communist editors. He once wrote a petition denouncing the use of the press by Poland's communists to propagate antisemitic ideas.

In 1987, writing in Tygodnik Powszechny, Dziewanowski addressed the issue of the Holocaust and the "tragic and confused nature of Polish-Jewish relations." On the question of whether Poles could have done more to help the Jews during the Nazi occupation, he wrote, "I am of the opinion that too much happened, that the whole thing is too tragic, complicated and ambiguous to feel calm about. ... The annihilation of Jews on the Polish territories and the attitude of Poles to that annihilation are problems which I still haven't come to terms with. They trouble me, disturb me and haunt me."

On three occasions, when regimes changed in Poland, he lost his passport; three times it was reinstated. Finally, during the Edward Gierek regime when strict censorship was imposed, he was brought home permanently.

"Even in communist times if somebody was independent-minded but did his job well he could make his living. It was different from Russia, where it was absolutely impossible to be independent and leave the country," he says.

He concedes that a journalist needed a "name" to survive and that "it didn't hurt" him to be on the board of the Polish Writers Union, with his peer group in the West watching out for his welfare and ready to protest if the government attempted to harm him.

In late 1980, Dziewanowski went to work as deputy editor of Tygodnik Solidarnosc, where his editor in chief was the newspaper's founder, Tadeusz Mazowiecki. When Jaruzelski imposed martial law in December 1981, ending the first period of legal Solidarity activities, the communists closed down the newspaper and sent Mazowiecki to prison. "So I wrote to him, sent him books, looked after his sons," says Dziewanowski, who was not arrested but kept under police surveillance and denied work in state-run publishing houses.

When Mazowiecki was released just before Christmas in 1982, he and Dziewanowski immediately started an underground newspaper in Moscow. There were many concerns about operating such a venture, including personal safety, but "if you made the decision to get into some underground publication, you had to take risks," Dziewanowski says. The publishers set up a system of distribution and selling that enabled those who worked on the paper to receive salaries. "We called it an alternative country," he says.

The Humanitarian Mission

Last Thursday, Dziewanowski took time off for a humanitarian mission, meeting with Romuald Spasowski, the former Polish ambassador who had asked for -- and received -- political asylum here when the communists imposed martial law in December 1981. Spasowski was tried in absentia and sentenced to death.

"It was a very unusual thing to order capital punishment because he had another political opinion," says Dziewanowski.

While "nobody tried to send a squad of killers or anything like that," Dziewanowski says, "he never could be sure. So the Americans protected him and he went into hiding."

Dziewanowski says his conversation with Spasowski was long and their meeting historic. He brought the former envoy a letter from his family in Warsaw.

"I would say he was very moved," says Dziewanowski. "We both were."