Polish political analysts today discounted fears of any imminent Soviet intervention in Poland following U.S. reports of a troop buildup on the country's eastern and western borders.
Despite signs of Kremlin nervousness over developments in Poland, the Polish leadership appears committed to political and economic reforms as the only way out of the present crisis.
At the same time, it is seeking to allay Soviet concern by stepping up a campaign in the mass media against "antisocialist forces" that allegedly have exploited labor unrest for political ends.
A two-day strike of bus workers in the southern industrial city of Katowice ended today, bringing a sense of relief to the government. The settlement followed the dismissal of Zdizislaw Grudzien, the city's Communist Party chief and a close associate of ousted Polish party leader Edward Gierek.
For the Polish leadership, it is most important that the present wave of strikes come to a swift end and the nation get back to work as soon as possible. Otherwise there is always a danger of the now-discredited hardline element within the leadership seizing power on the ground that the agreement with the strikers had only deepened the country's immense economic problems.
Polish officials were unwilling to comment publicly on reports from Washington suggesting that an increase in military activity in East Germany and the western Soviet Union could be connected with events in Poland. But privately they said that the most likely explanation lay in the end of recent Warsaw Pact maneuvers held in East Germany.
While expressing surprise at rumors of large Soviet troop movements on their borders, Polish analysts in Warsaw are aware that there are limits to Soviet tolerance. One of the main concerns of the new Polish leader, Stanislaw Kania, is to reassure Moscow that there can be no debate on either Poland's alliance with the Soviet Union or the dominant role of the Communist Party in the nation's life.
This explains a strong television attack, later taken up by the press, on a right-wing dissident named Leszek Moszulski, leader of a splinter group called the "Confederation for an Independent Poland."
Television news last night carried a clip from an interview Moszuski gave to West German television in which he called for "the liberation of Poland from the Soviet domination and the liquidation of the communist regime."
The intention of the broadcast here was to prove the government's point that antisocialist forces exist in Poland and must be countered. But it was believed to be the first time that a state-run television service in a communist country had shown an appeal for the overthrow of the government.
The increasing criticism of dissidents in the Polish media has coincided with an authorative commentary in the Sovet Community Party newspaper Pravda today warning the West against interfering in Polish affairs. Polish analysts believed the article might also be intended as a warning signal to the Polish leadership in advance of an important meeting of the Communist Party's Central Committee scheduled for the next few days.
But they also cautioned against drawing parallels between the present upheavals in Poland and the Czechoslovak reform movement of 1968. Perhaps the most significant difference is that any Soviet intervention here would be much more costly in both human and political terms than the almost bloodless invasion of Czechslovakia.
The consensus among informed Poles and Western diplomats here is that the kremlin has reluctantly accepted the need for reforms in Poland, at least as a tactical concession to the strikers. The Soviets may put pressure on the Polish leadership to withdraw the concessions later, but for the moment they seem prepared to see how events unfold.
Meanwhile, final preparations went ahead for the broadcast of Sunday mass in Poland for the first time in 35 years. Access to the mass media has long been one of the principal demands of Poland's powerful Catholic Church, but it took this summer's labor unrest to win it from the government.
The Polish Catholic episcopate today accused the state-run media of bringing immorality into Polish homes and propagating erroneous moral principles.
The statement, which will be read in churches throughout Poland tomorrow, said that Polish children were targets of dishonest propaganda from an early age and lacked the sound judgment necessary for opposing "such tricky methods."