The Reagan administration warned the Polish government yesterday that internal "suppression" of the independent labor movement in that country would foreclose any further U.S. economic aid.
This posture was announced by White House press secretary James S. Brady several hours before he and President Reagan were hit by bullets outside the Washington Hilton hotel, and shortly before word from Warsaw that a general strike in Poland scheduled for today had been called off.
Reagan considered the tense Polish situation in an early morning telephone call from West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.
"Both the president and the chancellor feel that, on behalf of both countries, that in the event suppression is applied from either external or internal [sources] it would be impossible to render further economic assistance to Poland," Brady said.
Brady said the statement "firms up" administration warnings last week that were aimed at both a Soviet military intervention and internal suppression of Solidarity, the trade union movement, by Polish security forces and troops.
Concerning the reason for the U.S. position, Brady said, "It's our money and it's an internal decision on what we do economically. . . . What is closer to our nation than our own money?"
Schmidt, whose government last week passed along an urgent appeal for aid from the Polish government, called French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing shortly before his telephone call to Reagan, according to the White House press secretary. U.S. sources said Germany is taking the lead in seeking to put together a new package of emergency aid to assist Poland between now and midsummer.
With food becoming scarce in Poland and the country in increasingly serious economic difficulty, aid from the West could weigh on the highly uncertain future of Poland's new experiment in democracy. But there is also a body of opinion in Washington that the Soviet Union and Eastern bloc countries should bear the largest share of any long-term Polish aid burden.
Polish Deputy Prime Minister Mieczyslaw Jagielski is scheduled to visit Washington Thursday and Friday to confer with high U.S. officials about aid. Official sources indicated over the weekend that the administration hopes to make some decisions by that time about further aid to Warsaw regime.
With the Polish future in the balance, the White House statement yesterday appeared to be an effort to counter growing Soviet military pressure to crack down on Solidarity with some western economic pressure for continuation of democracy.
West Germany is Poland's largest western creditor, with outstanding loans of about $4.5 billion. The U.S. share of the Polish debt is about $2.5 billion, predominantly government loans such as those of the Commodity Credit Corp. for the purchase of grain.
The Reagan administration previously agreed to defer some $88 million of scheduled repayments from Poland on U.S. official debt. Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. said last Friday that the administration is considering new emergency aid to Poland, including powdered milk and other food as well as CCC credits.
At the State Department, spokesman William Dyess said the U.S. remains concerned at signs of increased Soviet and Warsaw Pact military activity around Poland.