WASHINGTON — The United States warned today that it will "really get tough" with Poland if it repeats unwarranted actions against American diplomats.
The announcement by White House spokesman Larry Speakes followed the U.S. expulsion of a Polish diplomat in retaliation for Poland's arresting and expelling American military attache Col. Frederick Myer and his wife from Warsaw on charges of spying.
Poland dismissed the U.S. action as "unjustified retaliation" that further damages "bad Polish-American relations."
In addition to the expulsion of Col. Zygmunt Szymanski, the Polish military attache, and his wife, Speakes reiterated, "We are postponing talks on a science and technology agreement with the Polish government," and added, "We will consider repetition of the actions by the Polish government like those taken in the case of Col. Myer as a reason for even more serious action on our part."
Asked what he meant, Speakes said bluntly, "If they do it again, we'll really get tough."
In Warsaw, government spokesman Jerzy Urban said the United States did not offer any charges against the Polish attache. He termed the expulsion "simply an act of retaliation."
Urban told reporters the United States "provoked" the matter by sending Myer and his wife to photograph military installations in northeastern Poland Feb. 21.
"Bad Polish-American relations were further deteriorated due to the spying raid," Urban said, recalling that 13 U.S diplomats had been expelled from Poland on charges of spying since 1963.
The science talks, an outgrowth of the gradual lifting of U.S. sanctions against Poland following Warsaw's crackdown against the Solidarity union, were to have begun in Washington today.