LONDON -- NATO allies agreed Thursday to convene a special meeting to discuss the Polish crisis and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher called on them to 'follow' President Reagan's lead and take punitive action against Moscow.
'We must all stand together and we must in some respect follow the lead given by President Reagan,' Mrs. Thatcher said in a New Year's message to West European governments that are divided over the best course to take.
An attempt to forge a common front in the Polish crisis was authorized by ambassadors of the the 15 NATO allies meeting in Brussels, Belgium.
The ambassadors agreed to convene a special meeting of NATO foreign ministers who will try to decide on a joint response to the imposition of martial law in Poland and what the Reagan Administration, meeting with some dissent among the West Europeans, has charged is the Kremlin's involvement in it.
'There are no objections any more to the staging of a special foreign ministers session,' a NATO spokesman said.
The meeting was expected to take place in the second week of January but the date still has to be approved by member governments, sources said.
Most NATO states are opposed or at least skeptical of sanctions such as those Reagan slapped on both Poland and the Soviet Union earlier this week.
West Germany has been the strongest protestor, bluntly declaring that it disagrees with both Reagan's assessment of the Polish crisis and his method of dealing with it.
Mrs. Thatcher, whose view of the world is closer to Reagan's than any of the other allies, urged the West Europeans to back the U.S. stand, though not necessarily to copy it.
'There are some things the United States can do that we can't,' she said, indicating the allies should each decide how best to react.
But, Mrs. Thatcher added, 'our objectives are exactly the same and the free world must stand together... we are all anxious that the spark of freedom (in Poland) is not snuffed out.
'The alliance will stick together because it knows (Soviet President Leonid) Brezhnev's tactics are to divide it and he must not succeed,' she said.
In Tokyo, Japanese foreign office officials said Japan was contemplating sanctions but would wait to see what the NATO allies do.
Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki summoned his foreign affairs advisers to a meeting to discuss the Polish crisis and officials quoted Suzuki as saying Japan should 'cope with the problem by maintaining close contact with the U.S. and Europe and in the way that will not disturb the Western world's relations.'
The Foreign Office said no Japanese ahion would be taken until after the NATO foreign ministers meeting, at the earliest.
Trade sources sanctions by Japan could include the withholding of major exports to the Soviet Union, including hundreds of thousands of tons of steel pipes the Soviet Union is planning to use for a natural gas pipeline between western Siberia and Europe.