President Reagan ordered a series of economic reprisals against the Polish government yesterday and warned that he is prepared to impose more serious sanctions against both Poland and the Soviet Union if "the outrages in Poland do not cease."
The United States will not conduct "business as usual" with Poland's military government and "those who aid and abet them," Reagan said in a nationally televised address in which he hailed the spirit of the Polish people and declared "their cause is ours."
If the Polish crackdown continues, Reagan warned its perpetrators: "Make no mistake: Their crime will cost them dearly in their future dealings with America and free peoples everywhere."
The measures Reagan announced will have only minor impact on Poland's already desperately strained economy, but he made clear that he is committed to stepping up pressure with subsequent actions if there is no compromise in Poland.
Reagan reaffirmed last week's suspension of all government-sponsored shipments of agricultural and dairy products to the Polish government until assurances are received that every bit of American food goes "to the Polish people--not to their oppressors."
He also halted the renewal of the Export-Import Bank's line of export credit insurance to Poland, ordered suspension of Polish civil aviation privileges in the United States, suspended Polish fishing boats' right to work in American waters and announced that Washington has proposed to its allies a joint further restriction of high-technology exports to Poland.
An administration official said that without the credit insurance, private exports to Poland are likely to cease. In 1980, Poland was granted $25 million in such insurance, which expired Nov. 30 and now will not be renewed.
The Polish airline, LOT, has been making six flights a week to the United States. The Polish fishing fleet caught about 230,000 tons in U.S. waters last year, about one-third of Poland's total catch, the administration official said.
Reagan said that to help the Polish people, food aid through private channels will continue as long as it is reaching the people, and that he is offering U.S. aid to Austria to help care for Polish refugees. Austria has announced it will welcome Poles fleeing the military crackdown.
Threats of future action played a major part in Reagan's 14-minute speech as he sought to make clear that he has a course of future steps in mind if his initial measures bring no response.
"We have been measured and deliberate in our reaction to the tragic events in Poland. We have not acted in haste, and the steps I will outline tonight--and others we may take in the days ahead--are firm, just and reasonable," the president said.
He said he has written to the Polish military chief, Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, and also to Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev warning each that his nation faces further consequences if martial law is not lifted in Poland.
Reagan said he urged Jaruzelski "to free those in arbitrary detention, to lift martial law, and to restore the internationally recognized rights of the Polish people to free speech and association."
The Soviet Union, Reagan said, "deserves a major share of blame for the developments in Poland." Therefore he informed Brezhnev that "if this repression continues, the United States will have no choice but to take further concrete political and economic measures affecting our relationship."
Again and again in his speech Reagan paid tribute to the Polish people and sought to inspire Americans with sympathy for their cause.
"When 19th century Polish patriots rose against foreign oppressors, their rallying cry was 'For our freedom and yours,' " Reagan said. "That motto still rings true in our time."
"There is a spirit of Solidarity abroad in the world tonight that no physical force can crush. It crosses national boundaries and enters into the hearts of men and women everywhere. In factories, farms and schools, in cities and towns around the globe, we the people of the free world stand as one with our Polish brothers and sisters. Their cause is ours, and our prayers and hopes go out to them this Christmas," the president said.
He told the nation that when he met Romuald Spasowski, the Polish ambassador who sought asylum in protest against the suppression of Solidarity, Tuesday in the Oval Office, where Reagan sat last night for his televised address, Spasowski asked that a lighted candle burn in a window of the White House on Christmas Eve as a beacon of solidarity with the Polish people.
"I urge all of you to do the same. . . on Christmas Eve, as a personal statement of your commitment to the steps we are taking to support the brave people of Poland in their time of troubles," the president said.
Reagan said that when the Polish authorities attack the union Solidarity they attack the entire Polish people. Ten million of Poland's 36 million people are Solidarity members, he said. Together with their families they are an overwhelming majority. "By persecuting Solidarity, the Polish government wages war against its own people," he said.
"I urge the Polish government and its allies to consider the consequences of their actions. How can they possibly justify using naked force to crush a people who ask for nothing more than the right to lead their own lives in freedom and dignity?" he asked.
Reagan not only threatened further economic actions against Poland, but promised economic aid should the Polish authorities honor their commitments to basic human rights.
The Polish economy cannot be rebuilt with terror tactics, Reagan said. If the government honors its agreements, "we in America will gladly do our share to help the shattered Polish economy, just as we helped the countries of Europe after both world wars," he said.
By public and secret pressure, the Soviet Union precipitated the events in Poland, Reagan said. "It is no coincidence that Soviet Marshal Viktor Kulikov, chief of the Warsaw Pact forces, and other senior Red Army officers were in Poland while these outrages were being initiated. And it is no coincidence that the martial law proclamations imposed in December by the Polish government were being printed in the Soviet Union in September," Reagan said in support of his declaration that Moscow bears much of the blame for the declaration of martial law and the arrest of thousands, incl ALL-SAVERS RATES 8.34% THROUGH CLOSE OF BUSINESS SATURDAY 10.16% EFFECTIVE MONDAY MORNINGuding Solidarity leader Lech Walesa.
Reagan's revelation that the United States knows of Soviet printing of the martial law declaration seemed a clear signal to the Soviets of how good U.S. intelligence has been, and therefore how much Washington knows about the events leading to the crackdown in Poland. A State Department official advanced the theory that the decree had to be printed outside Poland because otherwise it would have leaked to Solidarity.
Reagan mixed his emotional warnings about Poland with a Christmas message to Americans. He expressed sympathy for those unemployed Americans for whom this will not be a happy Christmas, but said that his economic program is beginning to work.
"We are winning the battle against inflation, runaway government spending and taxation," the president declared.