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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 29, 1980

SESSION OF THE CPSU CC POLITBORO ON 'MATERIALS FOR A FRIENDLY WORKING VISIT TO THE USSR BY POLISH LEADERS'

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    The CPSU CC Politboro discusses the anti-socialist movement in Poland, and how the Polish leadership should deal with the crisis. The Politboro begins to form an economic solution for Poland.
    "Session of the CPSU CC Politboro on 'Materials for a Friendly Working Visit to the USSR by Polish Leaders'," October 29, 1980, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 34, first published in CWIHP Special Working Paper 1. Original available in the National Security Archive RADD/READD Collection. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113578
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(Working Notes)

SESSION OF THE CPSU CC POLITBURO
29 October 1980

Cde. L. I. BREZHNEV presiding.
Also taking part: Cdes. Yu. V. Andropov, M. S. Gorbachev, V. V. Grishin, A. A. Gromyko, A. P. Kirilenko, A. Ya. Pel'she, M. A. Suslov, N. A. Tikhonov, D. F. Ustinov, K. U. Chernenko, P. N. Demichev, V. V. Kuznetsov, B. N. Ponomarev, M. S. Solomentsev, V. I. Dolgikh, M. V. Zimyanin, K. V. Rusakov.

I. Materials for a Friendly Working Visit to the USSR by Polish Leaders

BREZHNEV. Tomorrow the PZPR First Secretary, Cde. Kania, and the Chairman of the PPR Council of Ministers, Cde. Pinkowski, are coming here. The commission consisting of Cdes. Suslov, Gromyko, Andropov, Ustinov, Chernenko, Zimyanin, and Rusakov has provided materials for our discussions with the Polish leaders. I closely read these materials. I believe the comrades have covered all the major issues. Perhaps one of you will have some sort of comments, and if so, please let's discuss this.

USTINOV. I also closely read the materials that were prepared. I think they are well done and touch on all matters. The most important thing is that all the issues here are raised very pointedly — precisely the way they should be raised with the Polish leaders.

BREZHNEV. In Poland there is in fact now a raging counterrevolution under way, but the Polish press and the Polish comrades are not speaking out about this and not speaking out about the enemies of the people. And in the meantime these enemies of the people, the accomplices of the counterrevolution, and the counterrevolutionaries themselves are speaking out against the people. How can this be?

ANDROPOV. A direct way of putting the question is that in Poland the Polish leaders are saying nothing about the counterrevolution either in the press or on radio or television.

GROMYKO. The mass media are also silent about this matter.

ANDROPOV. Instead of exposing the antisocialist elements, the Polish press is giving overwhelming emphasis to the shortcomings of the CC leadership, etc. We must speak directly about the enemies of the Polish socialist order. The antisocialist elements, like Walesa and Kuron, want to take power away from the workers. The Polish leaders should have spoken directly about this, but we don't see anything about it in the Polish press.

BREZHNEV. They're already beginning to choose the Sejm, and they say that the army supposedly stands on their side. Walesa goes from one end of the country to the other, from city to city, and everywhere they accord him honors. But the Polish leaders are silent, and so is the press, and the television doesn't carry anything opposing the antisocialist elements. Perhaps it will indeed be necessary to introduce martial law.

ANDROPOV. I believe the facts attest to the Polish leadership's failure to grasp the full seriousness of the emerging situation.

USTINOV. I absolutely agree with the text of the materials that the comrades prepared. Our Polish friends have had many conversations, but nothing has come of it. Things have reached the point where Walesa and his acolytes have occupied the radio station in Wroclaw. Our Polish friends essentially are operating in the same style that Gierek did. They aren't taking action against anyone or punishing any of the enemies of the working class.

BREZHNEV. In Yugoslavia not long ago there was a small strike, but they treated it very seriously: 300 people were arrested and thrown into jail.

USTINOV. If they don't introduce martial law, the matter will be very complicated and will become still more serious. In the army there is a good deal of vacillation. But we've prepared the Northern Group of Forces, which is in full combat readiness.

GROMYKO. We must speak to the Polish comrades firmly and sharply. They must first say all this to the people, so that the people will understand the full magnitude of the situation. But now they are criticizing Gierek, the CC, and the Party, while the antisocialist elements, who are literally operating without restraint, are giving them freedom.

As concerns Cde. Jaruzelski, he of course is a reliable man, but is now beginning to speak without any real conviction. He even has said that the troops will not act against the workers. In general I think the Poles must speak about all this and very pointedly.

BREZHNEV. When Jaruzelski was speaking with Kania about who should serve in the top spot, he flatly refused to be First Secretary and suggested that Kania serve in the post. That also says something.

GROMYKO. I believe that all major issues were well covered in the materials that were prepared. As concerns the introduction of a state of emergency in Poland, this must be kept in reserve as a measure to protect socialist gains. Of course, perhaps, it doesn't have to be done immediately, and particularly not right after the return of Kania and Pinkowski from Moscow. Some time should elapse. But we should steer them toward that and fortify their resolve. We simply cannot lose Poland. During the battle with the Hitlerites to liberate Poland, the Soviet Union lost 600 thousand of its soldiers and officers, and we cannot permit a counterrevolution.

Of course, Cdes. Kania, Jaruzelski, and Pinkowski are honorable and committed comrades. When I spoke with them in Warsaw, they were very much disturbed by what we've been talking about. Kania even was literally at loose ends. At the same time he enjoys great confidence within the Party.

BREZHNEV. The antisocialist elements are so unrestrained that they have rejected the ruling of the Warsaw provincial court regarding the provisions it issued during the registration of the “Solidarity trade union.” And now they are even threatening to recall deputies from the Sejm. What else will happen?

SUSLOV. In my view the materials are well prepared, and everything is well thought out. The current leaders of the PPR are not sufficiently strong, but they are honest and are the best among the leading core. True, Olszanski is working poorly, and Moczar is pursuing his own ends and can do a lot of harm. They must go on the counteroffensive rather than occupying a defensive position. This position, it so happens, is also reflected in the materials we are considering today.

BREZHNEV. They must have self-defense detachments.

ANDROPOV, SUSLOV, and USTINOV say that this measure is necessary. Defense detachments must be created and must be set up even in barracks, and perhaps also armed in due course.

SUSLOV. We at one point wrote a letter to Gomulka about how he should refrain from ordering firearms to be used against the workers, but in actuality he didn't heed us then, and firearms were used.

PONOMAREV. The documents prepared for the discussions with the Polish leaders are logical, and everything here is realistic. The materials strongly emphasize our alarm. We must convey this alarm to the Polish leaders.

GROMYKO. Perhaps we should give these materials to the Polish leaders.

ANDROPOV. If we hand over the materials, we can't rule out the possibility that they'll be passed on to the Americans.

BREZHNEV. This may very well be.

RUSAKOV. Let them listen closely to Leonid Il'ich and take notes.

GRISHIN. Leonid Il'ich, you must begin the discussion and express our anxiety. Let them respond. The documents that have been prepared are good.

TIKHONOV. Of course, Leonid Il'ich, you must begin by speaking about these matters and set forth everything that is written here. We are inviting them to come here to express our alarm at the situation unfolding in Poland. The materials deal with all these issues very well. The actions of counterrevolutionary elements are unmistakable in Poland now. Let them say why they are permitting this, let them explain it. Communists are leaving the Party, fearing the antisocialist elements. That's how far things have gone.

RUSAKOV. I believe the document covers everything, but Kania might raise some other questions that are not covered in these materials. One such question is the matter of personnel. In particular, they will apparently raise the question of removing Jablonski, Werblan, Kowalczyk, and Kruczek from the Politburo. Even though, one must say, Kruczek serves a useful purpose; he is an authoritative comrade and in the past was a trade union official.

The second question that Cde. Kania might raise is about multilateral assistance to Poland from the other socialist countries. The point is that Kania is against such assistance. I have in mind here that Cde. Baibakov in the materials had referred to internationalist assistance to Poland, and the Polish comrades said that the situation in their country is not the same as in Hungary or in Czechoslovakia.

One further question might arise. Poland's relations are not particularly good with some neighboring socialist countries, for example, with the GDR. Earlier the Poles had a so-called visa-free regime with the GDR. Exploiting this, Polish citizens would travel to the GDR and buy up all the groceries and consumer goods. The German comrades believe it is necessary to end the visa-free procedure for crossing the border, and the Poles of course are against ending it. What should we do? I think we should not interfere in this matter; let them sort out the question among themselves. Everything else in the document is well done.

CHERNENKO. The materials prepared by the commission are comprehensive. They define all the major issues to which we should draw the attention of the Polish comrades, and the questions are raised very pointedly. The materials speak directly about the difficult situation and about the necessity of taking decisive measures against the antisocialist elements.

KIRILENKO. It's been three months since the strikes started and the danger has failed to subside. We have done a great deal for Poland; we've provided everything and recommended how to resolve matters properly. So far, they are not enlisting the military in the struggle against antisocialist elements and, as the comrades correctly pointed out, are not even exposing them for what they are. The situation with young people there is bad. There is no Communist youth league in reality. There are no detachments made up of young people. Perhaps they must disguise the soldiers and let them into the working mass. Undoubtedly one must first of all mobilize the Communists. The strange inaction on Kania's part is all the more incomprehensible to the leaders of the other socialist countries. For example, when I spoke with Husak and other Czech comrades, they expressed surprise at such behavior. The Czech comrades cited examples of when they had acted decisively against the ringleaders of a strike at a certain enterprise. This had yielded results.

GORBACHEV. I believe the Politburo has acted very properly by inviting the Polish leaders to Moscow for a discussion. We must speak to the Polish friends frankly and resolutely. So far, they are taking no appropriate measures and are merely in some sort of defensive position. Even this defensive position they haven't really been upholding for a long time now; they're being dislodged from it.

You should begin the discussion, Leonid Il'ich. The text, in my view, is very good, and I have no comments to add. It contains all the ideas that must be conveyed to the Polish friends. Then after your discussion we can hear what they have to say. At that point, perhaps, some points will come up that are worth discussing and exchanging views about.

BAIBAKOV. If Kania and Pinkowski raise economic questions during the discussion, we must tell them that we received a letter from the Polish side about this matter. We have given instructions to the appropriate comrades, and we are drafting recommendations for the provision of economic assistance. What can we provide? We can of course promise to extend existing credits of 280 million rubles, and then give them new credits of 150 million rubles. This is a short-term credit, which they now need to pay off a percentage of what they've borrowed. We must also say that we can substantially increase deliveries of fuel in 1981, for example, by 500 million rubles. Perhaps we can also agree to reduce imports of goods from Poland by roughly 250 million rubles, and in general all this will mean we can provide them with assistance of nearly 1 billion rubles. I think that perhaps we must nonetheless draft letters to the other fraternal Parties. We already drafted letters about how in the coming year we would have to supply them with a substantially smaller quantity of oil and oil products, and then we'd sell these oil products and turn over the money we receive to the Polish People's Republic so that the Poles can buy what they need. We have to divert deliveries of oil from all countries except Cuba, Mongolia, and Vietnam. As far as grain is concerned, we already decided on 500,000 tons and can give no more. Perhaps we can provide cotton and diesel fuel and add 200,000 tons. In addition, we must obviously tell them that our economists will help the Polish organizations in working out an agricultural plan to get out of the plight in which Poland now finds itself. That is, they will indicate what internal measures must be adopted to facilitate this transition. We will appeal to the other socialist countries about a certain reduction in deliveries of oil products in connection with the events in Poland. Of course they will all object to this, that's for certain. Well, what can be done? We have no other option, and we must obviously do this.

BREZHNEV. What's the value now of oil on the world market?

BAIBAKOV. The value of a ton of oil is 150 rubles, and a ton of gasoline and a ton of diesel fuel are 190 rubles each.

ARKHIPOV. The note deals with economic questions. I think that in the discussion with Kania on these matters, things should be kept general. We are preparing a document; today I went over a draft, and we'll work on it a bit more and show it to N. A. Tikhonov. But it seems to me that it doesn't make sense for us to give them oil and oil products, since they can't use it properly. They have strikes at plants and factories, and they squander fuel. Hence we'd be better off selling it and giving Poland the money.

RUSAKOV. There was a letter from Cde. Kania on economic questions. They request the formulation of an economic approach to the further development of the Polish economy and the extraction of it from its plight. I think that you, Leonid Il'ich, will respond to Kania that our comrades are working on these materials and will provide such assistance.

* * *

BREZHNEV. Clearly, we should endorse the materials presented here and consider it worthwhile to be guided by our delegation in negotiations with the Polish friends.

EVERYONE. Correct. 瀠

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