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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 15, 1981


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    "Jack Strong" [Ryszard Kuklinski] reports that at a recent KOK session, no final decision was made about the imposition of martial law, though almost all participants were in support. A unified plan of command for the surprise introduction of martial law is discussed, as a secondary plan to be implemented after political means were unable to repress the counterrevolution.
    "Report on the Imposition of Martial Law," September 15, 1981, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, CIA Release, Ryszard Kuklinski documents. Published in CWIHP Bulletin 11.
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2030, 15 September 1981

At an extraordinary session of the KOK on Sunday, which Kania attended for the first time, no final decision was made about the imposition of martial law. Almost all of the participants supported it. It seems that the tenor of the meeting surprised Kania. Although he did not question that such a development was inevitable, he reportedly said, in these precise words, that "a confrontation with the class enemy is unavoidable. This involves first a struggle using political means, but if that should fail, repression may be adopted." Note-taking was forbidden at the session. During the KOK's meeting, Kiszczak declared that Solidarity knew the details of our plans, including Operation "Wiosna"
1 and its secret codename. I should emphasize that this is a codename— the secret title of the operation—and not the codeword needed to put it into effect. The officials responsible for implementing the plans don't know the codename; hence, it will be easy to compile a group of suspects. (The MSW2 was given urgent orders to find the source.) The first steps have already been taken. Except for Szklarski and me, everyone was excluded in operational directives from the planning. A counterintelligence officer visited Szklarski3 and me yesterday. He spoke about ways of preventing future leaks. At present, Jasinski has taken command of planning at the national level. Szklarski has temporarily withdrawn. Since this morning we have been working, under Jasinski's supervision and in cooperation with a PUWP CC official,4 with the KOK Secretariat, with the KPPRM, and with Pawlikowski from MSW,5 on a unified plan of command for the surprise introduction of martial law. The document is still being put together, so I am unable to give a detailed account of it. (I proposed a break so that I could send this telegram.) In brief, martial law will be introduced at night, either between Friday and a work-free Saturday or between Saturday and Sunday, when industrial plants will be closed. Arrests will begin around midnight, six hours before an announcement of martial law is broadcast over the radio and television. Roughly 600 people will be arrested in Warsaw, which will require the use of around 1,000 police in unmarked cars. That same night, the army will seal off the most important areas of Warsaw and other major cities. Initially, only the MSW's forces will take part. A separate political decision will be made about "improving the deployment of armies," that is, redeploying entire divisions to major cities. This will be done only if reports come in about larger pockets of unrest. One cannot rule out, however, that redeployments of divisions based far away from the areas of future operations will commence with the introduction of martial law or even earlier. For example, it would take roughly 54 hours to redeploy the 4th Mechanized Division to the vicinity of Warsaw.

Because the investigation is proceeding, I will have to forgo my daily reports about current developments. Please treat with caution the information I am conveying to you, since it appears that my mission is coming to an end. The nature of the information makes it quite easy to detect the source. I do not object to, and indeed welcome, having the information I have conveyed serve those who fight for the freedom of Poland with their heads raised high. I am prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, but the best way to achieve something is with our actions and not with our sacrifices.

Long live free Poland!
Long live Solidarity, which brings freedom to all oppressed nations!


1. "Wiosna" (Spring) was the codename for the opening stage of the martial law operation. It involved mass arrests of leading Solidarity officials and dissident intellectuals.
2. The acronym for Ministerstwo spraw wewnetrznych (Ministry of Internal Affairs).
3. Gen. Waclaw Szklarski, the head of the Operations Directorate of the Polish General Staff, was Kuklinski's commanding officer.
4. Presumably this official would have been from the PUWP CC Propaganda Department, which had been actively taking part in the initial martial law planning.
5. Col. Bronislaw Pawlikowski, the head of a directorate in the Polish Internal Affairs Ministry, was one of the main liaisons with Kuklinski and other officers on the Polish General Staff. He played an especially important role in designing the mass-arrest operation.