Q: Mr. Rakowski, do you remember the day we met here in Warsaw, exactly one year ago -- you had just been appointed deputy prime minister and I was going to Gdansk to interview [Lech] Walesa? I asked: "What happens if the Soviets intervene in Poland?" You answered: "All the Poles would arise." Then I asked: "What happens if the Polish Army does it by itself?" And you answered: "They would take it and shut up." Well, Mr. Rakowski, they didn't take it at all, they don't take it at all. They didn't shut up at all, they don't shut up at all. Look at the inscription that blooms on the walls of your cities. "The winter is yours, the spring will be ours." Look at what happened in the Silesian coal mines, in the Katowice factories, in the Gdansk shipyards. Or am I wrong?

A: You are partly wrong, because the army and the militia did not find much resistance, and the same can be said for today. I don't share the opinion of those who believe that we should expect resistance, I don't see the potential for it. Not on a large scale anyhow. Of course, the first days, there were clashes in some areas of the country. But, again, not on a massive scale. The reason is, on the one hand, that the combined operation of the army and the militia worked perfectly; on the other, that everybody was caught by surprise. They shouldn't have been. Twice at the end of the year we had warned the people and Solidarity that, if the process of anarchization and disruption of the state continued, we would resort to extraordinary measures. But, and here is the drama, we were not believed. The extremists of Solidarity had convinced themselves that, when things would boil until the use of force, the army and the militia would side with them. They counted, I guess, on the fact that many soldiers belong to Solidarity. What maivete. In spite of the rumors spread by the West, not one soldier proved to be against the action. Not one. The point is that naivete wasn't limited to the frontiers of Poland: The West too was very naive. So many among you believed that Poland could somehow get out of the military and political order established since the end of the war. In that, not considering that there are two blocs in the world and we simply have to accommodate to it. What did you expect?

Q: The worst, Mr. Rakowski, the worst. We knew very well what happened in Hungary in 1956, in Czechoslovakia in 1968. Even that day one year ago I was expecting to see Soviet tanks in the streets of Warsaw.

A: Then I have to say a few words in defense of our Soviet friends: We have not done the job for them. Of course we cannot deny that next to us there is this huge ally, but neither can we accept the American thesis: "The Russians are responsible, the Russians are responsible."

Since Czechoslovakia a lot of changes have taken place in the socialist field, in the Soviet Union itself, and the Russians were not opposing the reforms that we were carrying on. No, madam, they did not. They were observing the phenomenon with a certain concern, I agree, and from their point of view the saw the threat. At the same time, however, they took into account Polish habits and traditions, they tried to understand, and at the beginning they did not say that the process was incompatible with the principles of socialism. In October 1980, when [former Polish Communist Part leader Stanislaw] Kania went to Moscow, Brezhvev did not ask him to strangle Solidarity. He did not declare that Solidarity would endanger the socialist system. He simply demanded that Kania take the situation in his hands, that he control it socially and politically. You see, there is a double tendency in the Soviet Union, one pro-Polish and one anti-Polish, and Brezhnev belongs to the first one. He loves Poland. He understands Poland. Believe me!

Q: No, I don't. Because two weeks after the Kania-Brezhnev meeting, [Soviet Communist Party Central Committee spokesman Leonid] Zamyatin denounced the "antisocialist groups" in Poland. And in December 1980 the representatives of the Warsaw Pact countries were in Moscow to warn that "Poland was socialist and would remain socialist." And the following February, at the 26th Communist Party Congress, Brezhnev declared that socialism was endangered in Poland. And two months later he did the same in Prague, while Tass defined the Polish situation as "insurrectional." And since then it has been a flood of accusations, threats, insults like "orgy of reactionaries" while military maneuvers were taking place at the borders of Poland.

A: The facts you mention are true, and the Soviet Union was not alone to worry. Our other neighbors, Czechoslovakia and East Germany, were afraid too. And the military maneuvers were a way to inform us about it, I agree. Yet it is one thing to raise voices, admonish, protest; it's quite another to put things in practice. You know, the strategic interests of today are no longer those of 20 years ago, when SS20s at the borders between Poland and the Soviet Union did not exist.

Q: Mr. Rakowski, if the chastity belt of the SS20s was enough, then why did [the late Soviet Politburo member Mikhail] Suslov come to Warsaw at the end of April? To enjoy the Polish spring?

A: No, because he wanted to state his critical remarks on the development of the events. It was his right, and I find it understandable that those events worried an ideologue like Suslov. But he only stated his view, he did not say, "Do this and do that," and his trip did not crate a new situation in Poland. I mean, it did not stop the innovations. Believe me. Please, believe me, on the internal matters we are more free than you think!

Q: Yet at the end of November, when things went too far and included anti-Soviet demonstrations, [Warsaw Pact commander-in-chief Marshal Viktor] Kulikov came to Warsaw. And he supposedly said: "If you don't do it, we'll do it." Then he remained to watch the self-invasion.

A: Madam! I protest! I strongly protest that word "self-invasion." The 13th of December we did not invade ourselves, we saved ourselves. And Kulikov did not come to bring any diktat. He came for entirely different reasons.

Q: OK. He came to visit his girl friend, or to go fishing in the Vistula River.

A: Let's say that maybe he came to remind us that he was the head of the Warsaw Pact, and don't-you-forget-it. Well, not exactly to us, maybe, but to the hotheads of Solidarity. The point is that they did not pay much attention to him, they did not care. Their belief was too strong that the Russians would be psychologically and politically ready to accept the changes in Poland and even to accept the fact that solidarity was about to become the main power in the country. It is not a secret that they would have been ready to deal with the Russians, once in power. But you don't believe me. Why should we go on, if you don't believe me?

Q: To get to the truth, Mr Rakowski. Little by little, with patience. Now tell me: Kulikov or not, Suslov or not, when did you decide to impose on martial law? In the spring, in the summer, in the fall?

A: No, no, no! It isn't true that we had been preparing the martial law operations for months! [Prime Minister Gen. Wojciech] Jaruzelski did not want to swallow that toad, he had enough imagination to know what it would mean! He is a very special kind of military man, he is very sensitive, very intelligent, he is a humanist. He wanted a peaceful solution. Because of this we came up with the idea of a National Conciliation Front, because of this on Nov. 4 he met with [the Catholic primate of Poland Archbishop Jozef] Glemp and Walesa and discussed the possibility of including Solidarity in the government. Something that the Soviets would have accepted, believe me. He hoped so much to succeed. Each time those hotheads rejected anything we proposed and spit their "no" at us, he replied: "Let's try again." Each time I went to him and said "It's impossible, they don't want, they don't listen, I give up," he repeated: "Try again."

Q: Did you, really?

A: And how! As you know, I was the one who negotiated with Solidarity. I was the one who had launched the idea of partnership. I believed in it so. But at the end of August, when the spokeman for solidarity, [Janusz] Onyszkiewicz, was asked about the partnership at a press conference, he answered: "What partnership? Such a word does not exist." Then I understood that this was the end of a belief, the burial of an idea. I said to myself that maybe I had trusted them too much, maybe they had never had the intentions I attributed to them, maybe since the beginning they had been preparing themselves for a confrontation aimed at taking power, and I declared to the Polish News Agency: "The partnership is over." But Jaruzelski said: "Try again." I tried again. We tried again, while the country was shaken by strikes, tensions, demonstrations, walkouts, and any appeal was considered a meaningless sound. See the map on that wall? It was literally covered with little flags, each flag a strike. You don't know what it means, because you live in New York where the shops are overflowing with food, merchandise, and you can buy all you want. But here! In August 1980, when Solidarity was born, there was still something to buy in our shops. In August 1981 they were empty. Production had fallen by 25 percent, coal output had declined by 30 billion tons, food was in short supply. We had become the beggars of Europe and no country in Europe or elsewhere would risk a penny for us anymore. Why should they? We had nothing to give in return, nothing except the word freedom. Put this in your mind: Solidarity was no longer a trade union, it was a movement driven by a bunch of anarchists!

Q: It was a revolution, Mr Rakowski. A spontaneous revolution.

A: We call it counterrevolution.

Q: And when in the hell did you make a revolution? Yours was not a revolution, it was a taking of power made possible by a dirty trick of Stalin's.

A: You are an anarchist. You are an anarchist!

Q: If you like. But let us not argue about that, and answer my question about martial law, please. I well rephrase it: When did you start cleaning the shoes of the soldiers?

A: After Radom. I mean, after the meeting that Solidarity had in Radom at the end of November. The one where they said, behind closed doors, that they should openly ask for power, and Walesa declared: "Confrontation is inevitable, and confrontation we will have. Talks were onnly to outwit, from now on we will see who outwits whom." Yes, the moment of rupture was Radom. Not before, when the Solidarity congress had asked for free administration elections, etc. Radom simply scared us. Because Radom was not only words. At Radom they started organizing a workers' militia in the factories and in the mines, they also announced a general strike with street demonstrations for the second week of December. The hottest heads were those of the Mazowsze region, the suburbs of Warsaw. They had gone totally crazy. On Nov. 28, when Jaruzelski tried to pass a law to stop the strikes and asked the Solidarity leaders to restrain themselves, the answer was a huge fat laugh. They said: "If the government makes a special law against the strikes, there will be a general strike." Then they called the general strike for the 17th of December. Undoubtedly, this would have meant the confrontation they had exposed in Radom. The bloodshed. The civil war. At this moment, the only alternative to martial law was to raise our arms and let ourselves, the state itself, be destroyed. Believe me! Please, believe me!

Q: No. Do you want me to believe that an operation as carefully prepared as the one of breaking the bones of a revolution was organized in about two weeks?

A: Less than that -- either you believe it or not. You must realize that the martial law operations were locked in a safe since July 1944 -- that is, since the beginning of our state. They were also constantly renewed because our constitution, unfortunately, does not provide for the state of emergency. So all was very ready when Jaruzelski called me into his office on Friday afternoon the 11th of December, and I was psychologically prepared. Jaruzelski looked very serious, more serious than ever. He raised his eyes and said: "The day has come. It's for the day after tomorrow, the 13th." I nodded and answered: "I understand." There was nothing to add. After that we only spoke about technicalities, the speech that he had already written and that he would deliver on Sunday morning by radio.

Q: How did you sleep that night?

A: I did not.

Q: Because 13 is bad luck?

A: No. Because I was sad, because we had failed, because this was a necessary yet tragic decision, a national disaster. And also because I was aware that we were about to take a historic step, about to write a new chapter in the history of Poland...

Q: About to send to jail people with whom you had been shaking hands for almost one year. About to disappoint all those who believed you a liberal and who would hate you from now on. About to deceive yourself, the man who a few months before had publicly said: "Methods which differ from the dialogue and the political solution could provoke a national disaster. A process of profound revolution is taking place in this country, a historical change that we cannot do without." Mr Rakowski, why didn't you resign that Friday afternoon? Is the sweet smell of power so irresistible?

A: That's unfair. Everybody knows that I didn't need this power in order to exercise power. for 20 years I have been a powerful journalist, the editor of Polityka, the best political paper in Poland and one of the best in East Europe. One million readers! My opinion counted and with my writing I have been fighting the foolish in my party and in my government long before the others. I have been preaching the need for reforms and of independent unions long before Solidarity. A whole political generation has been formed by Polityka. Yet none of those demagogues and anarchists ever gave me credit for it. None of them ever said: "Mr. Rakowski, we know that you were the fighter." None, none! Not once! When they shook my hand there was only hate in their eyes, with the exception of Walesa. I already know their hate, and I promise you that I don't care if they grumble: "Rakowski was such a liberal and now he is a member of a military group." The guilt complex that you would like to find out did not exist, and not for a second did I think of resigning. With a clean conscience I went back to work the day after. With a clean conscience I went with my wife to a party in the evening.

Q: A party?!

A: Yes, a party of about 30 people of the Warsaw establishment. I had promised to go and of course I should behave as if things were normal. I went, I chatted, I listened to different opinions, and at 11 p.m. I left, saying that I had somthing to do at my office. Around midnight the operation started.

Q: I see . . . Mr. Rakowski, did all of you in the government keep that clean conscience also when you were informed about the brutalities of the militia, not to mention the killing of the coal miners four days later?

A: Listen, so much has been said by the Western press: that people were beaten, inhumanely kept in the cold...It was a very vast operation, it's quite possible that something regrettable happened. But even if you mention case by case, I answer: Of course that case is important for that human being, but on the whole it does not count. In politics the individual does not count. The dead of Wujek [a coal mine in Katowice] were a tragic episode which could have and should have been avoided. The order was not to shoot. When the clash burst between the coal miners and the militia, the evening of Dec. 16, twice we were called and asked permission to use weapons. And twice Jaruzelski replied no, no, no. Then the coal miners attacked again, and someone lost control of himself. There were eight victims: seven on the spot and an eighth who died at the hospital. There was also a ninth dead in Gdansk, and a tenth in Warsaw. Too many, when I consider that we had hoped to conduct the whole operation without a single victim. Yet it could have been worse. Yesterday a very important Catholic said to me: " As a pessimist I expected 2,000 dead. As an optimist, 100 at least."

Q: How nice of him, how merciful. Now forgive my brutality and tell me, please, didn't any of you people in power recall that those individuals who don't count in politics were proletarians that your system says it represents, unarmed workers looking for dignity and freedom?

A: Freedom, freedom, freedom! For 200 years the Poles sold nothing but freedom, Chopin, the Polonaise! What freedom is a freedom which doesn't provide anything to put in the stomach? The hotheads of Solidarity supplied those poor workers with the most unrealistic ideas about freedom, and look where we are! All right, maybe this system isn't great, maybe it is guilty of many faults, but step by step it was moving ahead. Poland was an open country in the East, a country we could travel to and from, where any kind of book could be read, where different opinions were accepted and now all this is spoiled! Didn't they know where Poland is placed? Didn't they know how the world is divided? One has to see freedom in the framework of a situation of a reality. I repeat that blood would have flowed like rivers if we hadn't imposed martial law the 13th of December. And civil war would have followed, so the forces of the Warsaw Pact would have entered. Yes, in such a case they would have entered because a civil war would not have been a matter of Poland and the Soviet Union only. It would have affected the balance now existing in the world, with God knows what consequences. Then the world would have yelled at us: "What kind of politicians were you? Why didn't you prevent it with a martial law, why did you drive the Warsaw Pact forces to intervene?"

Q: OK. You said it. You finally said it! But I want to be sure to have understood well two points: If martial law had not been imposed, you told me, the civil war would have burst out and the Soviets would have intervened.

A: I prefer to say the forces of the Warsaw Pact.

Q: All right, the forces of the Warsaw Pact. Well...Maybe you did not do the job for them, but you certainly did it out of fear of them. Or should I say out of zeal?

A: Neither one nor the other. We did it out of wisdom.

Q: Let's say out of Yalta, out of those two blocs which divide the world. Now your relations with the Soviet Union must be very good indeed. No more warnings, no more threats, no more insults.

A: I am very convinced advocate of strict ties with the Soviet Union. I firmly believe that our place is on the side of the Soviet Union. Of course I have my national pride, I want to be independent and to be treated as an equal, but I say that Poland should stay very close to the Soviet Union, I say it as a realist, not only as a Communist. The Russians are Slavonic people, they are rich, they represent a tremendous market. We need them. Where else would we get the raw material we get from the Soviet Union? What country in the West could sell us such an amount of crude oil, iron, cotton, and so on? Those people of Solidarity despised the Soviet Union, I cannot think of a more groundless irrationalism -- stupidity. The same stupidity as in our past, when our philosphy and commerce were directed toward the West. Besides, what's wrong in leaning ourselves on such a superpower, in exercising a policy which does not disturb them? What's wrong in being strong with them? Stalin wanted Poland to be strong because, he said, this was good for the Soviet Union. He was right. Poland is a vast and flat land where the winds blow very hard, in any direction, and when this happens not only the hats fly away. The heads also. I mean, these are the territories through which all the armies marched to invade Russia, and such things must end once and forever.

Q: You love the Soviets a lot, don't you?

A: Sure, and not for economic interests only. Some of my best friends are in Moscow; I spend exquisite nights drinking vodka and talking with them. You see, also in Poland there are two historical trends: one pro-Russian and one anti-Russian. Both of them are understandable because of the partitions we had to endure for centuries. I belong to the pro-Russian trend, because . . .Those partitions shed three shadows on Poland: the shadow of Austria, the shadow of Prussia, the shadow of Russia. I was born and grew up where the shadow of Russia did not arrive. The shadow which darkened my village was German. In 1939, when I was 12, my father was executed because he was a patriot. And it was the Germans who did it. It was the Soviets instead who liberated us five years later.

Q: Well, this explains many things. But enough about the Soviets. Let's come back to the Poles and pronounce the fatal name: Lech Walesa.

A: Walesa is fine, very fine. He lives in that villa outside Warsaw where he has at his disposal three comfortable rooms, and is not treated as a fifth-grade underdog. Believe me. He is treated very respectfully, with all the care that his position of trade union leader requires. He eats well, he gets newspapers, he watches TV, he receives visits from his wife and his children and his brother anytime he wants, and he has everyday contacts with the people of the church. Monsignor Ursulich in particular. He also sees very often Stanislaw Ciosek, the minister of work. They are on good terms and they have already met five times, for two or three hours each time. I haven't. Two days after his arrival from Gdansk I wennt to the villa but he refused to receive me. So I never tried again and I don't know if I will. I think I will not, although he says that it was a misunderstanding, and he hadn't understood my name. Ciosek tells me that he was kind of astonished in the beginning, then very surprised that the working class wouldn't stand in defense of his person. I say person...He also kept asking to talk with his advisors [Bronis-law] Geremek and [Tadeusz] Mazowiecki, but after all those meetings with Ursulich and the influence that the church exercises on him, he seems more willing to discuss the future of Solidarity without his advisors.

Q: You will not bring him to trial for what he said in Radom, will you?

A: Of course not. In fact, he is not under arrest. He is simply interned. The trials take place only for crimes committed in violation of martial law.

Q: Then why do you keep him interned at a secret address if he were an American hostage in Iran? Why do you keep him isolated? Because he has smallpox or because you hope to make a quisling out of him, I mean, a collaborationist, possibly with the help of the church?

A: We certainly don't keep him as a hostage, and this is not a matter of collaborationism. Besides, he doesn't seem very inclined to cooperate on the basis proposed to him by the church. In fact, some in the church are kind of tired of him. I mean, they are tired of explaining to him that he must take into account the reality and follow their advice. He doesn't listen to Cardinal Glemp like he listened to (the late Cardinal Stefan) Wyszynski, so there are rumors that the church is considering the possibility of dropping him. You know, it shouldn't be difficult to find in the ranks of Solidarity someone else ready to lead the unions in his place. At the same time, however, Walesa has reached the stage of rethinking all the events and one can see that he would like very much to go on being the head of the unions. He likes to be a leader. He is very aware of being still a myth for a lot a people, though his star was declining. And sometimes facing the end of our own myth is painful.

Q: So you are keeping Walesa in the closet with the intention or the hope of using him as an old coat.

A: I don't know. Nobody knows. It all depends on the kind of trade unions we will have in the future. All is in a state of flux here in Poland. We are looking for solutions; who's to say what will happen with Walesa? As I told you, it seems to me that Walesa himself has not made up his mind: staying with us or not.

Q: You don't like him, do you?

A: Why? Poor man, he is such an unhappy man. He always worked under that terrible influence of his advisers, he was manipulated by them all the time while he believed (himself) to be a real leader . . . Well, a leader he was. Undoubtedly. Yet it seems to me that he failed to live up to the events. I mean, one cannot say that the man isn't intelligent. He is cunning, and he has instincts. But instincts aren't enough when they are not rationalized. Moreover, my impression is that the man started believing in his greatness. I'll tell you a story about Walesa. The 4th of December an important action took place in Warsaw, something that Walesa and the others of Solidarity should have taken as the demonstration that we did not joke when we said we were ready for the use of force. The militia stormed the Firemen's School and ended the strike they were carrying on. This happened at 10 in the morning, and before 10 Ciosek went to Walesa, who was staying at a hotel, to inform him and show him that we were playing openly. Walesa answered: "Well, Mr. Ciosek, this is the end. Then we will have to take over power. Don't worry for yourself, though. You are a good man. I'll find you a job." Irrationalism, shrewdness, naivete, like when he came from Japan and said to me that he should teach the Japanese how to organize trade unions. I have observed him a lot; his peasant nature intrigued me. As a peasant he cheated his interlocutor and one could never find a common language with him. Once when he was sitting in this office, I said: "Mr. Walesa, you have obtained so much. Why don't you stop and consolidate what you have? Rest for a while. These strikes are getting out of your hands too." He answered: "No, no, I don't need any rest, I feel OK. It isn't so bad as you believe." The point is this: Walesa understood too late that in politics one cannot be always aggressive. When he did, he had lost control of his own people.

Q: Yet you are not saying that he is finished.

A: No, I am not.

Q: Mr. Rakowski, while speaking about Walesa you have said much about the attitude of the church. Am I wrong or have your dealings with the primate and his associates proceeded rather well?

A: You know, they need us as much as we need them. So they are searching for a compromise, both to protect Solidarity and to reestablish a platform for themselves. Until Dec. 13 they were at the top of public life here in Poland. They counted as never before, as not even in Italy, not even in Spain. If they want to regain that status, they must come to a compromise. No doubt they will cooperate with us to some extent, knowing well that they will find us available.

Q: Pope Wojtyla does not seem to think in that way. He has been lashing you a lot, almost daily, from his window overlooking St. Peter's Square.

A: Yes, he has. This in spite of all the explanations we sent him through different channels and in spite of the letter that Jaruzelski wrote to him. So far, he has not been listening to us. I guess because of the people who surround him, for instance the members of Solidarity now in the West. They apparently have much influence on him. However, after the visit of Primate Glemp, his behavior might change. The sermon that Glemp delivered in Rome was very interesting indeed. Every word of his denounced a spirit of compromise, and he started speaking of San Salvador.

Q: Does this mean that Pope Wojtyla might come back to Poland as it was planned before martial law?

A: How could we stop him?

Q: I'll tell you how: receiving him as he was in Turkey. They greeted him as a dignitary on a private visit. Mr. Rakowski, would the pope be welcomed like the first time if he coes back to Poland, or like he was in Turkey?

A: For the moment I have no answer to such a question. It all depends what happens in the country. The second visit of the pope was scheduled in August and six months are a long time for us. Anyhow, let me make this point: I don't share the opinion that the election of a Polish pope and his visit to Poland played the most important role in the birth of Solidarity. Yes, those two elements supplied a moral weapon which worked considerably, but the reasons for the crisis which led to the birth of Solidarity were deeply rooted in the political structure and in the economic situation in Poland. Which means, without a Polish pope and his visit, such birth would have happened the same.

Q: For Christ's sake! Doesn't this demonstrate that your system does not work, that men cannot live without a food called freedom, that wheat does not grow on ideology, that your socialism is a worn-out word? Because this is what happened in Poland, Mr. Rakowskia: The workers of Solidiarity were not revolting against some Queen Marie Antoinette or some czar, they were revolting against a regime which calls itself Communist!

A: But all through this interview I haven't said a single word against the workers who acted as rebels to oppose the regime and its way of exercising power. If they did it, it means that the socialism pursued in Poland was no good, that the forces running the country were incapable, that changes were indispensable. Hadn't I welcomed Solidarity? Solidarity was needed in Poland, and not only as a trade union but as a control on the authorities. You know, even an angel becomes a whore if he is not controlled when he enters the church of power. However, you must also consider other factors. One is that it takes time to develop socialism, and this system has ruld for only 37 years. Furthermore, it came to power when this country was economically ruined, socially backward. I myself am the son of a peasant, not a member of my family ever graduated from the Ecole d'Administration de Paris. 1here has been much impatience in the people of Solidarity, they have lost their heads too soon. Cardinal Wyszynski understood this. "Compatriots, not everything at once," he repeated. Nor do I need to remind (you) that impatience, as well as the lack of realism, are typically Polish features. It is not the first time in the history of Poland that a movement which was supposed to become the driving force of the nation ends almost at once with destroying the basis of national existence.

Q: Please stop blaming Solidarity for your faults, Mr. Rakowski, and answer me. Yalta apart, don't you ever question your party's right to remain in power? Doesn't the condemnation of Communist parties like the Italian Communist Party insinuate a spark of doubt in your mind?

A: The Italian Communist Party is a very creative, interesting party in its theoretical views, and I don't question its right to judge what we are doing. Yet the position taken by its secretary general (Enrico) Berlinguer against us and the Soviet Union has surprised me as much as the disdain which supports it. I wonder if it isn't due to his southern temperament rather than to the knowledge of our background, our conditions and . . . history's laws. He should know very well what I said to you about the development of socialism and the time it takes. Unless he forgot it because he was shocked by the use of the army in a socialist state . . .

Q: No, no. Like each of us, he got used to that. Inside and outside Poland. He just says that your socialism is not socialism, that the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries no longer serve as a model of socialism, that socialism cannot be achieved without democracy and freedom.

A: Then he should explain what democracy is, what shapes and contents it should have at a specific stage, and what freedom is, what its limits are. The problem with the Communist movements today is that all of them, and the European ones in particular, only care about themselves. Their rethinking is based on political interests, not on theory. Their behavior is determined by tactics, not firm beliefs, and especially in the case of the Italian Communist Party this truth cannot be ignored any longer. Tactics! Berlinguer speaks out of tactics! When at the beginning of the '70s he and his party realized that their concept of socialism would not get them in power, he said to himself: We must change it. And he did it accepting your ideas of pluralism, freedom. I don't buy it. A man educated in the ideology of historical materialism has to look at freedom in connection with reality. Oh, I know Berlinguer much better than he knows me, and I refuse to believe that his vision of society is the same as the Italian bourgeois. Even less do I believe that he would accept the anarchy we had here. I promise you that if Berlinguer were in power and had to face a crisis like ours, he wouuld declare martial law sooner than we did.

Q: My God! I can't wait to hear Berlinguer's answer. But I know that one part of it will sound more or less this way: My party is a strong party, yours is disintegrated.

A: Disintegrated, I agree. Which is quite clear since the military had to take its place in the government. Who could deny that it went bankrupt intellectually and politically, that it was unable to organize the society, to get the country out of the disaster, even to defend the state? In the end you are right: We are the ones to be blamed, not Solidarity. However, this party still exists with its ideas and its members; not all of it is to be thrown away. It rebuilt the country when it was destroyed by the war, it built an educational system, it did other good things, and it will overcome its defeat.

Q: How? You all look so confused and uncertain and vague. Blind people in the dark. One would say that you don't know where to go, what to do. You don't know what to do with Walesa, you don't know what to do with the party, and maybe you don't even know with martial law, how to get out of it.

A: Do you really believe us so foolish? No, we are not blind in the dark. We haven't imposed martial law to play inconsistency and continue with the marvelous Polish anarchy. Marvelous for you, not for us. We know how to get out of it, step by step. First step, to reestablish the economy. And we will, thanks to martial law. Second step, to recreate the trade unions and resurrect Solidarity with the right of striking, not of disrupting. Third step, to offer concrete proposals to the various political forces. Up to now 1,800 persons have been released but more than 4,000 remain interned or arrested, and this cannot last. Sooner or later we will have to live with them, I'm afraid . . . We will. As I said at the beginning, I don't expect a resistance. In fact we don't keep martial law for fear of the resistance, we keep it to reestablish the economy and carry out reforms. Only if we fail in the economy and in the reforms will there be resistance movement. Any other question?

Q: Just one, before pulling out a tooth . . . What about the Americans? You haven't said a word against them. It's surprising.

A: The Americans, you know, are very practical people. I like them, because of that. They don't yell and scream against the Polish events because they care about Poland but because Poland serves well their need of attacking the Soviets. They will change their policy toward us. Wait and see.

Q: OK, now. Let's pull that tooth . . . It will be painful, I warn you, and I don't enjoy this. But I have to. I mean, facing the subject of your son who asked for political asylum in West Germany. I know that this crushed you.

A: Of course it crushed me . . . Very, very much . . . When the news that Arthur had "chosen freedom" came through the press, immediately after my trip to Bonn, it was . . . a terrible blow. Nor did it help me to know that the news had been inflated as retaliation against my successful meetings with the Germans, as a revenge for my suggesting to them arguments which drove the Americans crazy like dogs. I immediately foresaw the happiness of my enemies, both those inside the party and in Solidarity, and the wickednesses they would spit on me: "There is someone in the government who wants to teach us and who hasn't even been able to educate his son in a patriotic way." He arrests us and his son is with us!" Yet it was not this which bothered me really. It was . . . It is . . . You see, I love my son! He is my son! And he is not a deserter like the two ambassadors, that one in Washington and that one in Tokyo, who also asked for political asylum. They, yes, are deserters. Because they belonged to the political establishment of my country, and they never were critical against this or that leader, this or that step taken by their regime. (Ambassador to Washington Romuald) Spasowski especially. A clerk who did anything he was asked by the Foreign Ministry. My son instead . . . Then came the news that my other son, Vladimir, had defected in Spain. This was not true, as I was soon informed by the Spanish minister of foreign affairs, but it crushed me even more. It crushed me twice and . . . I'm making a mess. Sorry.

Q: I'm sorry, too. Do you want to go on?

A: Sure. Let me explain better. I have two sons, both from my marriage with Wanda Wilkomirska, the violinist. The oldest is Vladimir, now 28, who teaches Russian in Barcelona. A fantastic boy. He has a talent for languages and he currently speaks eight of them, including Chinese and Japanese. Then there is Arthur, now 24 and married with a child. Arthur was my darling when he was a baby. Something that Vladimir has never forgotten . . . Yet after my divorce from Wanda, six years ago, my rapport with Arthur became sporadic. He didn't even say to me what he wanted to do with his life. I only knew that he would not use the degree in journalism he had taken at the Warsaw University. Then last summer we met and he said that he would go to Australia. Afterward, he wrote me a letter where he attacked very strongly my politics, my beliefs. I answered him, but I was so tired and loaded with problems, also a little offended by his accusations. I did not ry to explain myself as I should. Besides, I never had any political influence on him, I had it in my mind that he didn't care about politics. I now understand that he did. Maybe he was affected by his mother's opinions. Wanda and I disagreed a lot ideologically. She was very active with KOR (the dissident Workers' Defense Committee); because of this gap we split in 1976. now she is among the signatories of the petition against martial law. Well . . . I must admit that I haven't many supporters in my family. Also my second wife, Elizabeth, was very upset about the martial law. She still is. She does not belong to the Communist Party, she belongs to the Solidarity, and it is only a few days ago that she seems to have accepted my status a little more. She says: "Well, if they hate you from both sides, it might mean that you are not that bad!"

Q: What a tragic man you are, Mr. Rakowski. See, not even the people who love you and whom you love understand you. Yet you don't admit to being wrong.

A: No, because I believe (myself) to be right, to be doing the right thing. I guess I am stubborn. My father was, too. Did I tell you how he was executed by the Germans? Here it is. In 1939, when the Germans attacked Poland, we left our village, which was very near the German border, and we went to central Poland. Here we were sent back, but my father remained because everyone said: "If you go back, the Germans will kill you." Two weeks later, it was night, someone knocked at the windows of our house. It was my father. "Now the Germans will find you, they'll kill you! Why did you come back, why?" my mother cried. "Because I have done nothing wrong," he replied. And so he was caught, he was killed.