Bush Unveils Financial Aid Plan for Poland
President Bush announced a U.S. aid plan for Poland today, telling Poles their democratic reforms could usher in an era of stability in Europe and had Washington’s full support.
“Poland is where the Cold War began--and now the people of Poland can help bring the division of Europe to an end,” he said in an address to the newly elected Polish Parliament.
He said he would ask the U.S. Congress for $100 million to promote private enterprise in Poland and $15 million for a joint U.S.-Poland environmental project, and seek World Bank approval for $325 million in loans for Poland.
Postpone Debt Payments
In addition, he said he would ask other industrial countries to postpone Polish debt payments of $5 billion this year.
Earlier, Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Polish Foreign Minister Tadeusz Olechowski signed agreements deferring repayments of $1 billion in overdue debt to U.S. government agencies.
Payments that were due in 1985 and over a three-year period beginning in 1986 will be deferred for five years. The bulk of the money is owed to the Commodity Credit Corp. and the Export-Import Bank.
Bush, who was greeted by a two-minute standing ovation, said the world was watching with admiration the reforms taking place in Poland and its Warsaw Pact ally Hungary.
“By creating political structures legitimized by popular will, your reforms can be the foundation of stability, security and prosperity--not just here, but in all of Europe,” he said.
Huge Economic Problems
He noted that Poland, burdened by a $39-billion foreign debt, faced huge economic problems whose solution will require sacrifice.
“But I want to stress to you today that Poland is not alone. Given the enormity of this moment, the United States stands ready to help you as you help yourselves,” he said.