AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland said today that the Reagan administration's foreign policy has been "softer" than former president Jimmy Carter's, despite its tougher rhetoric.
Kirkland released a series of foreign-policy position statements approved by the labor federation's executive council in the second day of its winter meeting here.
Expressing support for a free, independent Lebanon, the group said it is disturbed "by statements from administration officials suggesting that the chief obstacle to this goal is Israeli stubbornness."
The chief obstacle to peace in the Middle East is still the refusal of Arab governments, except Egypt, to recognize Israel's right to exist, the council said.
It also renewed its demand that the Polish debt be declared in default, and that the flow of credits to the Eastern bloc be halted "until the workers of Poland have the freedom to create and control their own union."
The labor chiefs opposed the relaxation of sanctions against Poland and the Soviet Union. The council will work with the International Labor Organization to assist the outlawed union, Solidarnosc, officials said.
Meanwhile a stream of political players appeared before the council or worked the crowds in the halls, attracted by the group's heightened role in Democratic Party politics.
Presidential candidate Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.), who is campaigning all-out for labor's endorsement, made his formal pitch to the group today.
He declined to name any firm supporters he had picked up in the 35-member body, but he said a number of union leaders had given him encouragement. The council assured him that former vice president Walter F. Mondale, the current Democratic front-runner, does not have its support locked up.
Kenneth Blaylock, president of the American Federation of Government Employes, praised Cranston's performance. "There are a lot of people here starting to think maybe Mondale made a mistake not coming down here," he said.
Kirkland called Cranston's presentation "excellent . . . . He gave a fine account of himself, as did the other" candidates.