VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II reportedly argued for greater human freedom in his native Poland at a long and apparently cordial meeting Tuesday with Polish leader Wojciech Jaruzelski.
The Pope and Gen. Jaruzelski emerged smiling from the papal library after a 70-minute private audience described by the pontiff as historic.
It was one of the longest meetings ever at the Vatican between John Paul and a national leader. The Vatican characterized it as an "unofficial but solemn state visit." It said the talks were "serious, frank and in depth."
A Vatican statement said the two discussed "problems of Polish society, relations between church and state in Poland and questions regarding international peace."
More Dialogue Sought
A Vatican source said the Pope asked Jaruzelski to permit more dialogue among Poles and to assign to the people a greater role in running the Communist country.
The Pope, speaking directly to the Polish leader at the end of the meeting, said, "It is my wish that this visit bring the fruits so much desired for Europe and for Poland."
Reporters asked Jaruzelski how the meeting had gone, and he replied, "Two Poles must always understand each other, above all concerning the most important problems for Poland and Europe."
Asked if the talks were satisfying, the 63-year-old general said, "I am very satisfied every time I meet with His Holiness."
The Pope met Jaruzelski twice on his papal pilgrimage to Poland in June of 1983. On that occasion he exhorted the Polish leader to live up to his 1981 agreement recognizing Solidarity, the independent trade union.
Jaruzelski outlawed Solidarity after imposing martial law in December of 1981. Martial law was lifted in 1983, and a general amnesty of political prisoners, many of them Solidarity activists, was declared last year, but the trade union is still outlawed.
John Paul will return to Poland on June 8 for his third visit as Pope. His first, in 1979, was credited with helping to spark the Solidarity movement, and the second came at a time of deeply strained church-state relations in the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country.
Relations between the church and the Polish government remain prickly, though there have been reports from Warsaw of serious moves among churchmen and government officials to give the church official status for the first time since the Communists took power after World War II.
Such a move might open the way to a resumption of formal diplomatic ties between Poland and the Holy See, a move that Warsaw seeks, but a Vatican diplomat said the church is not enthusiastic. He said the Vatican fears that Poland would use formal diplomatic ties as an excuse to circumvent church authorities in Poland, among them Cardinal Jozef Glemp, and to deal directly with the hierarchy in Rome.
Jaruzelski, who is making his first formal trip to a Western country since his 1981 crackdown resulted in economic and political isolation, ended the second day of his three-day visit to Italy with a frank pitch to Italian industrialists for much-needed business investment in Poland.
In an exchange of gifts at the Vatican, the pontiff gave Jaruzelski a large book picturing the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel, and Jaruzelski gave him a painting of Wadowice, the Pope's hometown. Jaruzelski's daughter, Monika, 22, was given two rosaries by the Pope, one for herself and another for her mother, who remained in Poland.