Major Western European countries are considering a series of measures designed--in carrot-and-stick fashion--to encourage the lifting of martial law in Poland, according to diplomats here and in other Western European capitals.
The program includes what was described as substantial economic aid for Warsaw if military rule is ended and economic sanctions directed against Poland and to a lesser extent against the Soviet Union if it is not.
The Reagan administration has indicated that it only would be satisfied with a strong statement of condemnation from next Monday's meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels. Neverthless, the British foreign secretary, Lord Carrington, said in an interview that Washington still "wants to see some action" from the Europeans that would complement although not match the sanctions Reagan has imposed against Poland and the Soviet Union.
Carrington and other senior British officials suggested that the Europeans may eventually agree on such action through consultations that began at a European Community foreign ministers' meeting earlier this week and will continue in other meetings later this month. Carrington refused to discuss details or say how long he thought this would take, but he added, "I hope we can push things along."
According to the West European diplomats the steps being considered include:
* Offering Poland a "big package" of extensive Common Market financial, food and other aid if the military government of Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski meets specific European demands for an easing of martial law and negotiating with officials of the Roman Catholic Church in Poland and leaders of the Solidarity union movement.
* Implementing instead, if nothing changed, a smaller package of undisclosed European economic sanctions against Poland, which one European diplomatic source said "would have the same effect as Reagan's measures, but would be different and would reflect differences in European patterns of trade."
* In addition, refusing to approve any more government-to-government Common Market food aid to Poland after shipments now in the pipeline are completed.
* Taking very limited action against Moscow, such as restricting all imports from the Soviet Union except oil and natural gas.
The Europeans, however, would do nothing collectively, according to these sources, that would hinder privately handled European food aid to Poland, jeopardize the Soviet-West European gas pipeline deal, or disrupt East-West arms control negotiations.
France, which has taken a much tougher stand toward the Soviet Union's role in the Polish crackdown than the other Western European states, is reconsidering the scope of its involvement in the multibillion-dollar pipeline deal, Washington Post correspondent Edward Cody reported from Paris. Among the several proposals that have been sent to President Franc,ois Mitterrand is one that would reduce the amount of gas France would take annually from the pipeline from 8 billion to 6 billion cubic meters, Cody reported.
In the view of sources in Western Europe, acceptance by the Reagan administration of the idea that there would be areas that would not be touched by the proposed European sanctions may make it easier to achieve agreement among the European allies on the program.
Some of the sources suggested that the West German government may not be as reluctant as previously believed to agree to some of the measures now being considered.
They noted that West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher joined Carrington and French Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson in expressing strong interest this week in the idea of offering Poland a major Common Market aid package contingent on easing martial law. The biggest hurdles for this suggestion are its potential cost to the financially pressed Common Market countries and the difficulty in setting and enforcing the conditions Jaruzelski would have to satisfy to get it.
On the other hand, Cheysson has publicly stated French opposition to cutting off Common Market-subsidized government-to-government discount sales of surplus food to Poland, a move favored by most of the other allies but which would particularly hurt French farmers.
Correspondent Edward Cody filed this report from Paris on the French reaction to the situation in Poland:
France's Socialist government, as part of its tough stand on the Polish crisis, is reconsidering the scope of its involvement in the natural gas pipeline deal which as now constituted would make France dependent on the Soviet Union for a third of its supplies of the fuel by the end of the decade.
The French move would reverse earlier dismissals of warnings from the Reagan administration that the contract would create political and economic dangers by making Paris too reliant on the Soviets for a key component of its energy needs. A Foreign Ministry official said the new doubts stem directly from the uproar over Poland and that, as a result, a final decision is expected soon.
Several recommendations from the ministries involved have been forwarded to Mitterrand, including one that the agreement be reduced from delivery of 8 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year to 6 billion, he added. The difference could be made up by imports from Algeria
After talks here in November between French and Soviet officials, it was reported that agreement was almost complete except for a formula to calculate the base price. The talks were set to resume Jan. 18, another reason Mitterrand is expected to make his decision soon.
Diplomatic sources said doubts on the gas deal are not part of talks among Western European nations on possible sanctions against the Soviet Union over its role in Poland. Nevertheless, the French official said, a decision to reduce the amount of gas purchased from Moscow should be interpreted as a facet of France's reaction to the Soviet role in Poland.