Secretary of State George P. Shultz, who met here today with Pope John Paul II on the first anniversary of the military crackdown in Poland, said that Poland's newly announced moves to suspend portions of martial law did not appear to be substantial enough to warrant any major change in U.S. policy or to lift economic sanctions against the Warsaw government.
"In a preliminary way," Shultz told reporters, "what we have seen so far are some words but nothing of substance has actually been done."
"At this point we don't see anything . . .that has taken place . . .that would cause us to make a major change," he said.
Shultz met privately for 30 minutes with the Polish-born pontiff earlier in the day. While he declined to give any indication about his discussions, it was understood that John Paul did not disagree with Shultz's initial assessment of the moves to ease martial law and release political detainees announced yesterday by Polish military leader Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski. Details of special emergency powers over a transitional period were disclosed today.
U.S. officials said later they viewed the announcements as "not decisive" and said the measures "did not have the kind of important content the United States was looking for."
The United States imposed economic sanctions on Poland soon after the declaration of martial law a year ago.
At the NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels last week, officials from 15 alliance countries also decided to adopt a wait-and-see attitude toward the easing of martial law until it becomes clearer just how much freedom Poles will have under the new rules.
There are, however, some divisions within the alliance, with some West European officials believing the West should respond as positively as possible to the Polish moves to encourage further relaxation.
Meanwhile, at a joint press conference with Shultz, Italian Foreign Minister Emilio Colombo said tonight that his government was viewing "with great concern" the investigation into the attempted assassination of the pope last year and allegations that some Bulgarians may have been involved in it.
The Italian official said that the information his government's investigators have at the moment "is not complete, and not everything has been confirmed. But of course we consider the situation to be a very serious one, and if the data collected corresponds to what our assumptions are at the moment . . . we will reflect very seriously on the conclusions to be drawn."
Although the shooting of the pope in May 1981 was carried out by a Turk, Mehmet Ali Agca, who is now serving a life sentence in prison here, Italian magistrates in recent weeks have also implicated three Bulgarian government employes.
The potential involvement of the Bulgarians has become a major political isssue here. It is also attracting growing attention in other West European countries, particularly West Germany, to possible activities of Bulgarians there in connection with gun-running, terrorism and drugs.
Colombo told reporters that in his almost two-hour meeting today with Shultz, he had discussed the investigation and that "if this data becomes broader than what it is at the moment, we will also inform our NATO allies."
Colombo has been among the most cautious of Italian officials on the questions of whether the assassination plot may have international implications, and observers here said his remark tonight expressed more concern than his previous statements.
Shultz, under questioning, said he did not want to speculate on the subject, saying that "it's a serious investigation with important implications" and Washington will await the results of the Italian investigation. A report by Colombo to the Italian parliament is expected on Dec. 20.
Shultz's visit here is part of a two-week swing through seven West European countries.
Shultz also met today for 30 minutes at the Egyptian Embassy with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in Rome to attend a U.N. meeting.