Statement by Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on United States Sanctions Against Poland

November 2, 1983

In the past months, we and our allies have been engaged in extensive dialog on the situation in Poland. Very serious problems still remain. The Polish Government continues to defy the wishes of the majority of the Polish people; a number of political prisoners are still incarcerated and indictments have been brought against certain of these prisoners; free labor unions have not been restored; no genuine economic reforms have been implemented and stringent censorship still exists.

For these reasons, our sanctions presently remain in place. These include the suspension of Polish civil aviation privileges in the United States; the freeze on Export-Import Bank's line of export credit insurance for Poland; the implementation of a no-exceptions policy which restricts export licensing of high technology items to Poland; opposition to the extension of any new credits and Poland's entry into the IMF [International Monetary Fund]; suspension of Poland's MFN [most-favored-nation] status; curtailment of the shipment of nonhumanitarian agricultural commodities for distribution by the Polish Government; suspension of joint travel under the Maria Sklodowska Curie Fund which finances joint scientific research projects; and curtailment of Polish fishing in U.S. waters.

In the hope of inducing the Polish Government to begin pursuing a path of national reconciliation and restore free trade unions, the President has endorsed two limited steps. Specifically, the United States jointly with its allies has agreed to enter into discussions on the Polish debt to official creditors. We seek repayment of U.S. loans to Poland. In this regard, the United States is not extending Poland new credits nor supporting Poland's entry into the IMF. As a bilateral step, we have agreed to permit Polish officials to engage in discussions with private fishing companies about potential fishing arrangements. Our ban on Polish fishing in U.S. waters still remains in place. Moreover, even though discussions have been authorized no actual allocation of fish will be provided at this time. Rather, any future allocation of fish at the end of the discussions will be contingent on the Polish Government's actions on human rights.

These steps taken represent a limited response to very modest improvement in the human rights situation in Poland. The United States has taken note of the successful June visit of His Holiness John Paul II to his homeland, and of the release of the majority of political prisoners in Poland. We are waiting for the Polish Government to take definitive action to restore the human rights of the Polish people -- rights which belong to them from birth and which are not government's to take away.