Pope John Paul II today forcefully interjected his moral authority against the military crackdown in his homeland by calling for a "return to the road of renewal" in Poland and warning authorities against the use of violence.
In a Vatican statement in Polish beamed to Poland by an expanded Vatican short-wave service, the pontiff warned that state "force and authority" is expressed "through dialogue and not through the use of violence" and he called for restoration of the "just right" of Poles to live in peace and of Poland "to be itself."
In language even more direct than the pope's, French President Francois Mitterrand moved beyond his government's expression of "very gravest concern" Sunday and said that developments in Poland must be "clearly, vigorously, constantly denounced." As he spoke, deputies of the European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg also moved to condemn the Polish moves against the independent Solidarity union federation.
The French Socialist president's stance, assailing the "loss of public liberties, collective and individual," in Poland, "whether they result from external pressure or internal oppression," was considerably more pointed than that taken by Common Market foreign ministers meeting in London yesterday. They issued a restrained joint statement expressing "unease" at the Polish situation.
Amid these first signs of sharpened European response to the developments within Poland, a spokesman for Solidarity said in Brussels that "what is happening in Poland is not just an internal Polish matter. Acquired rights cannot be arbitrarily withdrawn . . . .This cannot be allowed to happen in the heart of Europe."
Stefan Trzcinski, a spokesman for the Warsaw branch of the union, told a news conference that Western leaders should have taken a much stronger stand against the actions of Poland's military government.
Calling their position thus far "half-hearted and incorrect," Trzcinski said, "These methods will not produce stability or peace in Poland."
Trzcinski, who is on a visit to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), left Poland over the weekend, prior to the military's moves.
One of the strongest voices at the meeting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg speaking out against the military dictatorship in Warsaw was that of Enrico Berlinguer, secretary general of Italy's Communist Party. Taking a stance diametrically opposed to that adopted by his French counterpart, Georges Marchais, Berlinguer reiterated his party's earlier condemnation of "the state of siege imposed last weekend in Poland, the arrests carried out and the suppression of democratic rights."
The Italian Communist leader also voiced his own reservations over the insistence of European leaders on depicting events in Poland as an internal Polish issue that European political and government leaders should handle with caution. "We do not feel that the events in Poland are a purely domestic matter," Berlinguer said, raising the issue that lies at the heart of the cautious European position adopted in London. "These events affect us all."
The European Community statement yesterday indicated that the 10 member nations "look to Poland to solve these problems herself and without the use of force." NATO officials meeting in Brussels Monday issued no formal statement, but Secretary General Joseph Luns said the allies were watching the situation with "careful attention and great concern."
As was the case with Mitterrand's statement, the pope's comments today were markedly stronger and more direct than his remarks Sunday, when he told a group of Poles at the regular noontime audience that Polish blood "cannot be spilled because too much already has been spilled, especially during the last war," when 3 million Poles lost their lives. The pontiff's latest appeal appeared to be coordinated with statements made in Warsaw by the Polish bishops calling on the military government to release detained Solidarity activists and to return the union to its previous position of influence within the country.
In Paris, while government officials continued to insist that France, like its Western allies, remained opposed to any foreign intervention in what they maintained was still a domestic internal Polish situation, Mitterrand urged Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy to inform the French people of the means France still had "morally and materially" to give aid to the Polish people.
This would be done, he said, to shore up Poland's ability to believe in "its capacity to overcome the perils that threaten it" and to press for "the liberation of workers who are in prison today."
"Having established that the freedom of trade unionism and free expression, only recently acquired in Poland, have been threatened, that a government of exception has been installed, that numerous persons have been arrested or are being prevented from exercising their activities and responsibilities recognized under the law," Mitterrand said, "the French government must register its censure of this state of affairs."
The president's statement was taken a step further in the resolution presented for debate by a majority of the deputies in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The resolution, backed by 353 of the assembly's 434 deputies from nine European nations, called for an immediate lifting of the "state of war" in Poland and the release of those arrested in the wake of Sunday's crackdown.
Assured of passage when it comes to a vote after debate Thursday, the European Parliament resolution on Poland termed the military intervention "a severe blow to attempts to resolve the crisis politically by means of renewal and democratization of the state" and demanded "the reestablishment of civil and trade union liberties" so Polish citizens could participate in the search for a solution to their nation's crisis.
European leaders so far have insisted that as reprehensible as the Communist military coup in Poland was, the West must react with extreme caution to avoid giving the Soviet Union any pretext to invade Poland in support of its new military government. As long as the Soviet Union stays out of Poland, these European leaders have argued, there is still a chance that the "democratic renewal" inspired by the Solidarity workers' movement will not be crushed.
That position has begun to be openly criticized by many Europeans who believe that the crackdown already has dealt a potentially lethal blow to Poland's nascent social and civil liberties and only strong international protest and pressure can have any hope of salvaging Poland's much touted "experiment in renewal."
It was Mitterrand's own Socialist president of the National Assembly, Pierre Joxe, who articulated the dissident view within the ruling Socialist camp. "The order that reigns in Warsaw may still be a legal order, but it no longer has anything in it that is democratic," said Joxe in a statement issued today. "That is not a Polish internal affair, it is an internal European affair where French socialism represents a huge hope. It is an internal affair of humanity because the suspension of democratic liberties is never an internal affair of state even those which are sovereign."
The ICFTU and another major Western trade union federation, the World Federation of Labor, meanwhile, filed formal complaints with the International Labor Organization in Geneva alleging that Poland violated its obligations under a key ILO convention by banning Solidarity, an ILO spokesman said today.
The British Foreign Office said Britain has told Poland that the communications blackout imposed with the state of emergency is contrary to East-West detente.
"We have drawn the attention of the Poles to the importance of restoring free communications," the Foreign Office said.