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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 26, 1980

LETTER FROM HONECKER TO BREZHNEV

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    East German leader Erik Honecker writes to Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev requesting that a meeting of the First Secretaries of the Communist Parties in the Warsaw Pact member states be convened to discuss the crisis in Poland. Honecker suggests that any delay in taking action agains the "reactionary forces" would result in the demise of communism in Poland.
    "Letter from Honecker to Brezhnev," November 26, 1980, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SED-Politburo und polnische Krise 1980/1982 (Band 1: 1980). http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111992
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Enclosure # 2 to Protocol #49 from 28.11.1980

26 November 1980

To the General Secretary of the CPSU CC
Comrade Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev

Esteemed Comrade Leonid Ilyich!

In the Politburo of the SED CC we have discussed the current situation in the People's Republic of Poland, and have unanimously concluded that there is an urgent necessity to convene a meeting of the General and First Secretaries of the Communist Parties of our community of states. We believe that the situation developing in the People's Republic of Poland should be discussed with Comrade S. Kania in order to work out collective measures to assist the Polish friends in overcoming the crisis, which, as you know, has been intensifying day after day.

Unfortunately, one can already say that the Polish comrades' stopover in Moscow, and the timely counsel that you gave, had no decisive influence on the situation in Poland, which we had all been hoping for.

According to information we have received through various channels, counterrevolutionary forces in the People's Republic of Poland are on the constant offensive, and any delay in acting against them would mean death -- the death of socialist Poland. Yesterday our collective efforts may perhaps have been premature; today they are essential; and tomorrow they would already be too late.

It would obviously be appropriate if we meet together in Moscow for a day right after the plenum of the PZPR CC, the decisions of which, in our view, will not be able to change the course of events in Poland in any fundamental way.

So far as I know, Comrades Husak and Zhivkov also have been expressing their desire for us to convene on an urgent basis to discuss this question. It would be best to do so next week. We believe that offering collective advice and possible assistance from the fraternal countries to Comrade Kania would only be to his benefit.

We ask you, esteemed Leonid Ilyich, to understand our extraordinary fears about the situation in Poland. We know that you also share these fears.

With Communist greetings,


E. Honecker
General Secretary of the SED CC