Poland Other Western Countries

Poland Country Studies index

Poland - Other Western Countries

Other western countries

After December 1981, Polish relations with the West were generally unfriendly for several years. Few high-ranking Western delegations travelled to Warsaw, and the Polish government failed to end West European support of economic sanctions in response to martial law. In 1985 a brief meeting between Jaruzelski and French president François Mitterrand yielded no concrete results. Jaruzelski's first full-fledged official visit to the West was his 1987 trip to Italy, during which he signed an important agreement for automobile production with the Fiat Corporation.

British and French policy toward Poland throughout the 1980s was consistent with that of Washington. Both United States allies imposed sanctions against Warsaw after December 1981. Both cultivated contacts with nongovernment circles and assisted the development of pluralism. And both welcomed the round table talks of 1989 and supported economic assistance to the new government.

The visit of the British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, to Warsaw in November 1988 sent a clear signal of Britain's support for pluralism and economic reform in Poland. Thatcher met with Solidarity leaders and made a symbolic visit to the grave of Father Jerzy Popieluszko, a dissident killed by the Polish secret service in 1984. In June 1989, Mitterrand visited Poland. In March 1992, Prime Minister Olszewski traveled to Paris and received Mitterrand's assurances of support for Polish membership in the EC.

Relations with Israel improved dramatically after 1988, when Poland hosted an international conference to honor the victims of the Holocaust and to observe the forty-fifth anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Full diplomatic relations were reestablished in 1990.

More about the Government of Poland.

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