Assemblyman Tom Hayden and his wife, actress Jane Fonda, have received permission to visit Poland where they will meet with government officials and opposition leaders in the Eastern Bloc nation.
Stephen Rivers, a spokesman for Hayden (D-Santa Monica) and Fonda, called the trip a learning experience. He said they expect to visit several people, including Lech Walesa, founder of the outlawed Solidarity union.
Hayden and Fonda will stay in the Polish capital of Warsaw from Feb. 22 to 25. The visit coincides with a business trip to West Germany, where Fonda will do a television promotion for her new film, "The Morning After."
"They are going to be in the neighborhood, so to speak," Rivers said.
The Polish trip has been in the works for several weeks. Rivers met with Polish government officials on Hayden and Fonda's behalf during a visit to Washington in January. The couple learned that the trip had been approved this week, when the news was reported by the Warsaw Evening Express.
"The actress Jane Fonda is to arrive in Warsaw with her husband on Feb. 22," the official agency reported. "Although the visit is purely private, it is thought that some meetings will take place outside the private itinerary."
Stab at Hayden
In reporting on the impending visit, the Polish news agency also took a stab at Hayden. "The husband of the actress, Tom Hayden, is a radical political activist with great aspirations," the newspaper said. "Jane Fonda has helped his career with various initiatives as well as . . . financial help."
The approval of the Hayden-Fonda visit surprised some observers, since the couple has been critical of the Communist government in the past. Hayden and Fonda denounced Polish officials in 1981, when the government declared martial law in response to a national trade union strike lead by Walesa's Solidarity.
Political tension in Poland has eased since then, however. Rivers said Hayden and Fonda, who are still widely criticized for their Vietnam Era anti-war activities, hope to gain a better understanding of the Communist country.
The official approval for the trip came one week after "Coming Home," a 1978 Fonda film about returning Vietnam veterans, aired on Polish television.
Hayden is serving his third term in the state Legislature. Fonda, an Academy-award winning actress, oversees the multimillion dollar Jane Fonda Workout business and runs a production company called Fonda Films.
Times Staff Writer Mathis Chazanov in Warsaw contributed to this story.