Polish government officials say they do not intend to alter their policy of seeking improved relations with Western countries, but for the moment Warsaw's priorities are clearly eastward toward the Soviet Union and inward toward economic recovery.
The announcement last week that Moscow had provided $115 million in emergency supplies to feed Poland's stricken economy, together with news of additional goods being shipped to Poland from other East Bloc countries, mark an effort by the Socialist Bloc states to pull together following their gravest crisis in more than a decade.
Although the Warsaw leaders, already $20 billion in debt to the West, are expected to soon begin talks with Western bankers for new loans, they appear intent upon relying more on socialist help to meet market shortages than on Western assistance.
Having allowed a crack in the foundations of Communist Party power by acceding to the formation of independent trade unions, the Polish leadership has sought to reassure its Warsaw Pact partners of its commitment to the Eastern alliance and to socialism.
At the same time, accustomed now to frequent contact and business dealings with Western nations, Warsaw officials underlined in interviews last week their interest in maintaining these links.
Moreover, they see the peaceful solution of the recent labor revolt here as a plus for -- and also a product of -- detente between East and West. h
It was as a result of improved East-West understanding, these officials say, that both the United States and the Soviet Union stayed on the sidelines during Poland's crisis and allowed the Poles to resolve the crisis themselves. The successful outcome should serve as an example for the handling of future crises, they say.
"Nobody told us what to do or how to do it," one senior government official said. "This shows again that if there is no interference from any side, people can solve their problems."
Asked whether he ever feared Soviet intervention, the official replied, "there was never an actual or potential threat of Soviet intervention during the crisis. We were confident they considered it an internal affair."
Later he added that "the methods used to solve the problem will have a positive effect on detente."
This view that the Polish example should reinforce detente is well timed. Delegates from 35 nations gathered in Madrid last week to prepare for a review conference of the 1975 Helsinki accords, which set the framework for East-West cooperation in Europe -- and codified the principle of noninterference in a country's internal affairs.
At this conference, Polish officials plan to press an idea proposed by ex-party chief Edward Gierek last February for the convening of a European disarmament conference. He offered Warsaw as the site.
Several similar proposals have been floated in recent months, including one by France that won conditional endorsement from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in June.
But in light of the current chill in East-West relations brought on by the continued Soviet presence in Afghanistan, Polish officials expect difficulty in pulling out a disarmament conference from the Madrid meeting.
"We will not be going with a take-it-or-leave-it proposal," said a government official. "We will look for compromise."
The removal of Gierek, who had lived in Western Europe, speaks French fluently and has close personal ties with French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing and West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, and his replacement by Stanislaw Kania, a former security chief with little international experience, has prompted speculation that Poland may become less involved with the West.
Under Gierek, Poland's economic and cultural contacts with the West were broadened enormously. Many Poles found travel outside the country easier as well, particularly to Western Europe
Warsaw government officials say Poland's policy toward the West will not be changed by the new leadership.
"Of course, personalities do play a role in foreign policy," said one official, suggesting that the style of Polish-Western contacts is likely to be different under Kania. "But Gierek did not do it alone. There will be continuation of our foreign policy. It will remain the same."
One thought expressed by some observers is that Poland may want to turn away for a time, its party leadership believing that too much exposure to the West may have been one of the things at the root of the labor revolt.
Asked about this view, one official said, "What happened here was an original authentic Polish movement. If this were not true, then the solution wouldn't have been what it was."
He added, "We are still in a difficult time. It will need the same attitude as has been shown by all sides -- wisdom, perseverance, patience and restraint."