In an unusual move following President Carter's press conference here yesterday, the Polish press - including the Communist Party newspaper - today reprinted the full but slightly altered text of Carter's half-hour meeting with Polish and American reporters.
An editor of the party newspaper Trybuna Ludu said that some 200,000 copies of the paper distributed in Warsaw this morning were sold out within a half hour.
The major non-party, but still closely controlled newspaper, Zycie Warszawy, arrived late on newstands but also carried the full text.
Carter's press conference here was the first by an American president in Soviet-led Eastern Europe and in his answers to questions he included numerous references to human rights and the historical "desire and commitment not to be dominated" of the Polish people.
A Polish editor, Joseph Barecki of Trybuna Ludu, portrayed the decision to print the text as evidence of Polish press freedom. "There isn't a subject, even the most controversial, when it is put seriously, that we couldn't print," he said. Barecki described some of Carter's statements as "constructive," even though the President seemed to put too much emphasis on the controversial human rights issue, he said.
Western diplomats here tended to attach considerable meaning to the display of editorial independence. Some viewed it as a Polish attempt to show its allies that it is capable of taking independent action on a politically sensitive issue. Others saw it as a gesture of defiance toward Moscow, whose official press has only briefly mentioned the Persident's visit to Poland.
The text that appeared here today, however, did contain some small but important changes from the actual verbatim transcript published by the White House press office and heard by hundreds of reporters in the conference room.
Both changes related to President Carter's opening remarks before he answered any questions.
Describing his morning tour of Warsaw's monuments, the President said that he has visited the Warsaw ghetto monument, a memorial, he said, to Polish Jews "who stood alone" to face the Nazis but will forever live in the conscience of the world.
In today's version, the phrase "who stood alone" was dropped.
The President's reference to a few reporters who wanted to attend the press conference but "who were permitted to come" was changed to read . . . "who could not come." The President's reference was to a small group of political dissidents who publish an unauthorized monthly magazine called "Opinia."
In one other case, a reporter's remarks were changed. In asking a question, the reporter, in speaking of Soviet influence in Eastern Europe, said: ". . . if you don't mind, they are dominated, Mr. President."
The Polish party paper translated the remark as ". . . if you don't mind, I uphold my view."