It is astounding to find Rowland Evans and Robert Novak arguing in favor of rewarding Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski for his policy of repression, which began and today continues with the futile effort to eliminate Solidarity from Polish political life ("Solidarity Does Not Exist?" op-ed, March 26).
Solidarity certainly does exist. But so long as Jaruzelski refuses to give it or other elements of the opposition movement any role in planning the future of the country, including the use to be made of Western assistance, it defies logic to cite its existence in support of the argument that he should be given such aid. Because Solidarity and its leaders will not acquiesce in their exclusion from public life, Jaruzelski continues to put them on "trial," as he did last June with Bogdan Lis, Adam Michnik and Wladyslaw Frasyniuk, and to have them arrested, as he more recently has Czeslaw Bielecki, Bogdan Borusewicz and Tadeusz Jedynak, as well as the founders of the unofficial peace movement, Jacek Czaputowicz and Piotr Niemczyk, and many more.
In December 1984, the U.S. government made a significant concession to Jaruzelski. It announced the withdrawal of its veto on Poland's application to the International Monetary Fund. Initially, the withdrawal of the veto was predicated upon the amnesty announced at the end of July 1984, following which about 650 political prisoners were freed. But Lis and Piotr Mierzewski were not among them. When, in December, Jaruzelski finally let them go, the United States announced the lifting of its veto. Whereupon, having trapped Lis in a secret- police provocation, the communist authorities in February 1985 rearrested him, Michnik and Wladyslaw Frasyniuk, and "tried" and sentenced them in a farcical process.
Since then, many of the other prisoners amnestied in 1984 have been rearrested. At the March 17 meeting sponsored by the American Bar Association's International Human Rights Committee, to which Evans and Novak refer, a State Department official said that Jaruzelski had cheated on fulfillment of the quid pro quo for IMF membership. But the U.S. government has not reexamined its policy.
The circulation figures of the underground press, cited by Evans and Novak, the number of churches being built, Pope John Paul II's 1983 visit to Poland and the fact that, after toying with the idea of putting Walesa on trial, the communist regime at the last moment very sensibly thought better of it, are hardly virtues of Jaruzelski's rule. They are legacies of the "peaceful revolution" of 1980-81, which the Warsaw regime has been unable to eradicate, or tactical moves as the communist leadership seeks support of "normalization" in a society where it is isolated from every politically and economically significant group. So far, however, Jaruzelski has also cheated the church on the agreement-in-principle reached during John Paul's 1983 visit, in accordance with which a church foundation, financed with Western funds, was to be set up to help Poland's private farmers.
In the light of this record, concern that the regime will cheat the donors of new Western aid and the grantors of new credits seems fully warranted. That is why, in expressing his support for aid to Poland, Walesa has said that the West must be sure such new assistance reaches the people and is not used, as was so much of the $25 billion in credits extended in the 1970s, simply to keep the communists in power. That is why underground Solidarity in February 1985 issued a statement asking that the IMF insist upon Jaruzelski's meeting certain minimal conditions before being readmitted to membership.
When they met last October in Wasington, American, Canadian and West European bankers and academic researchers specializing in the study of Poland's indebtedness concluded that Poland could not receive treatment as favorable as that accorded Brazil or Mexico because, in the words of the conference's organizer, Paul Marer, a professor at Indiana University, that country's communist leaders "have been talking about economic reform for 30 years," but have still not made the necessary reforms.
The answer is not to give more credits to the communists in Moscow or, as Evans and Novak so surprisingly recommend, in Warsaw. Rather, before further credits are extended to the Soviet Union, we should insist that the Gorbachev leadership stop the genocide in Afghanistan, release Andrei Sakharov and the thousands of other political prisoners now in prison, camp and exile, and lift its veto on reform in Poland. In Warsaw, Jaruzelski should release the political prisoners, finally permit the church to start its fund to help private farmers, begin that dialogue for which Lech Walesa has not ceased to call, and undertake the reforms about which his government, like every other Polish government since 1956, has talked so much, while doing so little. Until these things happen, new Western aid and credits for Poland would make no sense.