Lech Walesa said Friday the Communist Party's offer to legalize Solidarity doesn't go far enough, but he's willing to talk with the government because Poland "needs it so badly."
"Seeing all the needs and necessities, I will try to do everything on my side to begin talks about Poland at the round table as soon as possible," Walesa said after a 90-minute rally with hundreds of workers inside the Gdansk shipyard where the Soviet bloc's only independent trade union was founded in 1980.Walesa emphasized that the union's official position must await a weekend meeting of the Solidarity National Executive Commission.
"I will reach toward agreement. I don't know if I will make it but I will try," he said. "I will want to take advantage of all chances for agreement for Poland because we need it so badly. Time really presses us."
After a stormy two-day session of the party Central Committee, Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski announced Thursday that conditions could be negotiated to reinstate Solidarity, which has been banned since martial law was imposed in 1981.
The government's dramatic change in course, contained in a position paper allowing for political and trade union freedoms, appears to be an effort to bring the opposition into the battle to reverse the economic decline that has left Poland with chronic shortages, a mounting foreign debt and a dispirited populace.
Walesa noted the nation's deepening troubles, saying "in connection with all that it is more difficult than in 1980 to do everything."
"But we also have gained some experience," he continued. "I am an optimist, although we will face very difficult things."
Walesa said the legalization offer is a "Band-Aid," with the party going only as far as it had to due to the pressing crisis but no further.
"It is very much (of a change) for the party. I repeat, very much," he said. "But as it goes for social expectations, it is a little bit too little. . . . You may say it is only what is necessary for today. . . . It is like a Band-Aid for today."
Jaruzelski said the offer was "honest" and represented a "momentous event" for Poland.
The party position was printed in newspapers nationwide Friday and Jaruzelski's Thursday news conference was broadcast on radio and television. There also were short reports on Walesa's views.
Alfred Miodowicz, head of the only legal trade union alliance, warned Friday that rank-and-file workers are not ready for the changes and said they could result in unrest at factories.
"The situation is very tense in the country and I think we are facing very serious events in enterprises," he said.