President Carter broke his silence on the labor strife in Poland today to say that the United States was "inspired and gratified" by the successful effort of Polish workers to win concessions from their communist government.
At a Labor Day picnic opening his general election campaign against GOP challenger Ronald Reagan, the president said "Americans look with pleasure and with admiration on the workers of Poland."
"The working men and women of Poland have set an example for all of those who cherish freedom and human dignity," he said. "They have shown the world not just how to win a victory for labor but that the hunger for human rights is everywhere, and they've accomplished this by themselves without any interference from anywhere.
"We are pleased with what has happened in Poland, and we wish them Godspeed and a future of prosperity and freedom."
Carter's remarks about Poland were not part of his prepared text. He and other administration officials have been reluctant to comment on the unrest in Poland for fear that any sign of U.S. encouragement might invite interference by the Soviet Union.
Although Carter was careful to note that the settlement of the dispute came without outside interference, today's endorsement of the workers and his connection of their strike with his human rights policy is likely to anger Soviet officals.