The Kremlin's chief ideologist, Mikhail Suslov, arrived here unexpectedly today for talks with the entire Polish Politburo, and an official Polish statement tonight gave a generally reassuring account of the session.
The hurried trip by Suslov, 78, who is regarded as the second most influential figure in the Soviet leadership, coincided with preparations here for a crucial meeting next week of the Polish Communist Party's policy-making Central Committee.
The Polish statement issued by the official PAP news agency asserted that Suslov today reiterated support for the Polish party but accused the West of attempting to use the Polish crisis to "undermine the unity and cohesion of the socialist commonwealth."
It was the first such visit since severe labor problems erupted in Poland late last year and followed a series of high-level meetings on the crisis at which Moscow has sought to bolster the resolve of the Polish authorities in dealing with the independent labor union federation Solidarity.
Describing today's talks, the Polish agency said the Soviet Communist Party was "full of solidarity for the efforts of the Polish party to ensure stabilization of the economic and social situation, strengthen the party on a platform of Marxism-Leninism, and defend the basic values of socialism."
Suslov was met at Warsaw Airport by Polish Communist leader Stanislaw Kania. Some Western analysts here immediately linked Suslov's visit to the meeting of the Polish Central Committee Wednesday. The committee is to consider changes in the ruling Politburo and preparations for the party congress in July.
[Washington Post correspondent Kevin Klose reported from Moscow that there was no doubt there that Suslov had gone to Warsaw to bring new pressure on the Polish leadership to slow down the pace of reform before the party congress. But it was impossible to judge whether he had any specific demands. He might possibly urge the retention in the Polish Politburo of hard-liners such as Stefan Olszowski and Tadeusz Grabski.]
Tonight's PAP statement said both communist parties were opposed to attempts by "imperialist circles" to wage a "subversive propaganda campaign" over Poland. It said the talks underscored the need for "unity among all patriotic forces in Poland" to "remove the dangers for the gains of socialism and to counteract attempts to sow anarchy, undermine the socialist state, and create a dual authority."
During a talk with a group of Western correspondents earlier in the day, the Polish party's spokesman insisted that Suslov's visit was not directly connected with next week's session. Jozef Klasa, head of the Central Committee's information department, said the Soviet delegation would be briefed about what he described as a "new political situation" here since last month when a general strike over alleged police violence was narrowly averted.
Moreover, Polish officials made clear that they intended sticking to planned reforms including changes in the Communist Party statutes to allow secret and democratic elections to all party posts. Shortly before Suslov's arrival here, Kania publicly reiterated his commitment to solving Poland's problems by dialogue rather than confrontation.
Addressing a national youth rally, he said: "We face the historic task of ensuring Poland's peaceful and secure national existence. We have an unbending will to continue the process of socialist renewal, to defend the basic principles of socialism, deepen democracy in both the party and the state, reform the economy and social life" and reinforce self-government and personnel policies.
The strength of Kania's position has recently been questioned by Western observers in Moscow. Seen from the domestic Polish perspective, however, it seems secure enough for now.
Klasa specifically mentioned both Kania and Premier Wojciech Jaruzelski as virtually the only members of the 10-man Politburo whose positions so far have not been challenged.
The failure of the last Central Committee meeting at the end of March to reshuffle the leadership sparked considerable criticism from party members. Some have called for the ouster of Olszowski and Grabski, who were both in the welcoming party for Suslov today.
Klasa, however, predicted that the coming meeting would be more likely to recruit additional members to the Politburo than replace anyone. Observers said such a course would strengthen the Kania-Jaruzelski line while reassuring Moscow that its interests were also being looked after.
Klasa described Suslov's visit as a working one, saying it originated from discussions during the congresses of the Czechoslovak and East German communist parties earlier this month. But, in an indication of its hurried nature, he drew attention to the extraordinary circumstances in which it was taking place and the lack of detailed preparations.
Asked what he thought were the Kremlin's main concerns in Poland, he mentioned the following areas based "on what I have read in their press":
The activity of Polish dissidents, including the Committee for Social Self-Defense (known as KOR) and a right-wing nationalist group known as the Confederation for an Independent Poland. The Soviets feared that the dissidents were operating under Solidarity's cover to increase their own power base.
The economic crisis and the possibility of trouble arising from chronic food shortages.
Strains within the Polish Communist Party and its indecisiveness in leading the country out of the crisis.
Klasa mentioned other themes that he said the Polish leaders would want to raise with Suslov. They included:
An explanation of the changed political situation since the conclusion of an agreement on March 30 under which Solidarity called off a threatened general strike. Since then, the government has agreed to the registration of Rural Solidarity and attempted to involve both unions more closely in tackling Poland's economic problems.
Preparations for the coming party congress.
The securing of additional credits to enable Poland to import food, continue industrial production, and repay its huge hard currency debt.
Klasa described himself as "an optimist" and praised rank-and-file initiatives in the party which he said was consolidating itself.
Suslov was accompanied by Politburo member Konstantin Rusakov, a secretary of the Soviet Central Committee responsible for liaison with other ruling communist parties.