WARSAW, SEPT. 27 -- Polish communist leader Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski today rebuffed appeals from Vice President Bush for political changes sought by the banned Solidarity trade union, describing them as "suicidal," in talks that appeared to make no headway on longstanding U.S.-Polish differences.
On the second day of a visit here intended to boost his presidential campaign at home, Bush repeatedly made symbolic gestures of support for Solidarity while taking a hard line with the government. He flashed a Solidarity victory sign at a waiting crowd, heard praise for Solidarity and U.S. freedoms at mass, and tonight met with Solidarity leader Lech Walesa at a private dinner.
"We support Solidarity. We support pluralism. We've been very clear on that," Bush told Walesa at the outset of their meeting, as reporters looked on. Walesa responded: "We thank the ruling team of the United States very much for its understanding of the Polish problem."
In what Bush described as a gesture to the Polish people, he informed Jaruzelski that the United States would help Poland seek rescheduling of debts with the "Paris Club" of western governmental creditors. U.S. officials said the vice president was sympathetic to frustration over its problems in making payments on its $31 billion foreign debt.
Officials conceded that Bush had not won additional commitments from Jaruzelski for the changes the Reagan administration maintains are necessary in Poland, including the reestablishment of independent unions. Instead, officials said, Jaruzelski reviewed initiatives of his government and argued that his human rights record was good.
"The general didn't give ground," one senior U.S. official said.
Officials said Bush's principal accomplishment had been, as one put it, to "clarify the real differences," between the two sides. "There is no nirvana in U.S.-Polish relations," the official added.
Bush came to Europe in part to highlight his foreign policy experience before his formal entrance into the presidential campaign Oct. 12. He was not expected to score any big breakthroughs with Jaruzelski and in taking a sympathetic approach to Solidarity, Bush seemed eager to offer a message attractive to American voters, that he would stand up against communism and defend movements such as the banned union.
Jaruzelski's government appeared anxious to project its own political messages through subtle manipulation of Bush's public appearances and the state-run media. Four busloads of plainclothesmen spread through the crowd outside St. Margaret's Roman Catholic church, where Bush attended mass, and some carried their own banners emblazoned with communist peace slogans. A handful of men in the crowd wearing insignias of Solidarity and carrying its flag were repeatedly harassed by police.
Without explanation, Jaruzelski backed out of plans to meet with American and Polish reporters after his lengthy talks with Bush at the 18th century Belvedere palace. State media coverage of today's talks was perfunctory, saying only that the discussions were "businesslike and profitable."
In the end, the Polish side seemed to fare worse in the war of political images. After a dispute yesterday over a visit by Bush to a private farm, communist authorities succeeded in having him travel to a second farm of the government's choice. Even before the vice president's arrival, however, a leading activist of the rural Solidarity organization, Gabriel Janowski, appeared on the government-designated farm to brief reporters.
To the chagrin of onlooking Polish officials, Janowski then introduced himself to Bush and accompanied him around the farm, which Janowski said belonged to a former member of the union.
At St. Margaret's church, the Rev. Jan Czerwinski delivered a strong endorsement of Solidarity and praised the U.S. Constitution as "a miracle." After parishioners raised their hands in the Solidarity "V" while singing a closing hymn, Bush walked out on the church steps and returned the gesture.