Statement on the Political Situation in Poland


December 12, 1986


Five years ago, on December 13, 1981, the people of Poland were subjected to martial law. Once again, as so often in their proud history, Polish patriots faced a cruel setback in their quest for human rights. That day will be remembered as a dark day in the heroic but tragic history of Poland. It is a day of painful memories for the families of Solidarity members who suffered much these past 5 years -- many lost lives, were jailed, or had to live in hiding, separated from their wives, husbands, and children. My heartfelt thoughts remain with them. America will never be indifferent to the future of Poland. Special ties of kinship, worship, and love of liberty, and the contributions of Poles to American independence and progress, remind us forever that our peoples share a faith in freedom, spiritual strength, and human dignity.


After the imposition of martial law in 1981, the United States sought ways to express our solidarity with the Polish people. We welcome the recent amnesty of most political prisoners. This important step, however, does not solve all problems facing Poland today. They can be overcome only with the participation and support of the Polish people. We hope, therefore, that the amnesty will be an important first step toward a meaningful dialog between the Polish people and their government. To encourage this process, we decided to enter into dialog with the Polish Government. We truly hope that future developments will allow improvement in the relationship between both governments. On this anniversary, we commemorate the sacrifices and the great spiritual strength of the courageous Polish people, and we look to a future in which their heritage can breathe freely for the good of Poland.