WARSAW, JAN. 20 -- Negotiations on the withdrawal of about 50,000 Soviet troops from Poland have reached a stalemate that threatens the scheduled pullout of more than 300,000 Soviet troops and their dependents from eastern Germany.
Poland wants Moscow to complete its withdrawal here by the end of this year and has said it will block transit of Soviet troops from Germany until the schedule for the Polish pullout is resolved. The fastest and easiest way home for Soviet troops in Germany is by road or train through Poland.
Polish officials had been optimistic that the year's end deadline would be met, but the tone of recent negotiations in the Soviet and Polish capitals has turned acrimonious as Soviet generals voiced dissatisfaction with the Polish timetable and terms of withdrawal.
At a meeting with Polish officials in Moscow earlier this month, Soviet Gen. Viktor Dubinin, senior commander of Soviet troops in Poland, said flatly that the Polish deadline could not be met and that there was no question of troops being removed from Poland before the Soviet pullout from eastern Germany is completed in 1994.
Dubinin warned also that if Poland refuses to yield, he and his troops would disregard Poland's wishes entirely and march back to the Soviet Union on their own chosen routes, "our heads high, with spread banners, satisfied that we have fulfilled an internationalist duty, with dignity and honor. . . . We will be responsible only for the lives and health of Soviet citizens, and we will shake off responsibility for the Polish side."
Dubinin accused Polish negotiators of treating Soviet troops as "occupiers and international criminals" and of trying to move them off Polish territory in "closed, sealed wagons, disarmed and without military equipment."
The Poles, concerned about the possibility of wholesale desertions by withdrawing Soviet troops or unscheduled stops and diversions along their route home, have asked that units stationed both here and in Germany be transported back to the Soviet Union in trains with grilled windows and that all weapons, including tanks, be transported separately.
Dubinin's comments, reprinted in a magazine for Soviet soldiers stationed here, have added to popular anxiety in Poland over the military crackdown in the Soviet Baltic republics, and a spokesman for President Lech Walesa said last week that Polish officials feared the Soviet military might attempt to reestablish control in Eastern Europe while the world's attention is focused on the Persian Gulf.
Walesa told Polish legislators Thursday that Poland faced "a deadly threat" but that caution was needed. He added that he had rejected a suggestion from Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel for a joint statement condemning Soviet actions in Lithuania.
"I said that if there was a need, we would talk and unite," Walesa said, "but if not, let us not frighten the bear because he could have a good excuse to say he had no choice."
Poland, which has the smallest Soviet troop presence in Eastern Europe, is the only country in the region without a Soviet troop-withdrawal agreement, as the Polish government delayed negotiations on the issue in an effort to win gurantees on its border with Germany. Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Germany and even Mongolia already have negotiated settlements, and all 60,000 Soviet troops once stationed in Czechoslovakia will be gone by July 1.
Polish Deputy Defense Minister Jan Onyszkiewicz said that part of the Soviet reluctance to meet the end-of-the-year pullout deadline reflected Moscow's difficulties in finding housing for troops now being shipped home. Soviet officials say also that they need a large Soviet troop presence here to help with logistics and supervision of the larger pullout from Germany, where desertion rates and corruption among senior officers reportedly have increased significantly. They also have complained that Poland's demand that Moscow pay transit costs in hard currency rather than rubles will increase the cost of the pullout by three or four times.
Onyszkiewicz said Poland is now "a victim of its restraint and understanding. We don't regret that, but we do hope that our line will be appreciated and that the appreciation will be reflected in consideration from the Soviets."
Onyszkeiwicz said that although his discussions with Soviet legislators had convinced him that the chance of Kremlin agreement on the 1991 pullout deadline was "very small," Poland still expected the withdrawal to take place by the end of the year, "give or take a few months." He added that it was important the withdrawal take place before the large-scale Soviet troop exodus from Germany begins in 1992.
The Soviet military crackdown in the Baltic republics also has increased pressure in Germany and Czechoslovakia to hurry the Soviet exodus. Sources close to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl said last week that Kohl wanted the Soviet troop pullout speeded up lest turmoil in the Soviet Union complicate the East European political situation. The Czechoslovak parliament has met in special session and passed a resolution asking for accelerated negotiations to dismantle the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact, the moribund East European military alliance.