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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 17, 1981

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE BUREAU [POLITBURO] OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE ROMANIAN COMMUNIST PARTY

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    Meeting of the Romanian Executive Bureau of the CC RCP, regarding the situation in Poland. The discussion focuses on what kind of aid the Romanians should send the Polish government.
    "Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Bureau [Politburo] of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party," December 17, 1981, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, ANIC, Political Executive Committee of the Romanian Communist Party, no.3258, 30.xii.1981. CWIHP Document Reader, "Romania and the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1989," vol.2. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112070
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17 December 1981

Participants in the meeting : comrades Nicolae Ceausescu, Iosif Banc, Emil Bobu, Virgil Cazacu, Elena Ceausescu, Lina Ciobanu, Ion Coman Ion Dinca, Janos Fazekas, Ludovic Fazekas, Cornelia Filipas, Petre Lupu, Paul Niculescu, Ion Patan, Dumitru Popescu, Gheorghe Radulescu, Aneta Spornic, Ilie Verdet, Stefan Voitec, Stefan Andrei, Emilian Dobrescu, Petru Enache, Mihai Gere, Nicolae Giosan, Suzana Gâdea, Ion Ionita, Ana Muresan, Elena Nae, Constantin Olteanu, Cornel Onescu, Marin Radoi, Ioan Ursu, Richard Winter, Marin Enache.

Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu :
Comrades, we have convened this meeting to let you know that the Poles addressed all of the socialist countries with a request for aid under the form of foodstuffs, drugs, and anything.
Practically, they seem to have no reserves at all: not for five days, not for three days, not for two days!

Cde. Ion Ionita :
Comrade Ceausescu, I understand aid in the sense that they have to pay for it.

Cde. Gheorghe Radulescu :
What have they to pay with?

Cde. Ion Ionita :
They have coal.

Cde. Elena Ceausescu :
It is normal for them to pay. It cannot be otherwise!

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
Naturally, if we are able to give them anything, they will have to pay for it.

Cde. Elena Ceausescu :
It is not our country that should aid Poland, which has many more raw materials.

Cde. Gheorghe Radulescu :
Their peasants have big reserves, too.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
If their peasantry had had reserves, they would not have had to resort to imports. They have been importers all along. It is true, however, that their con-sumption was very great; they have imported both grain and meat all the time.

Cde. Gheorghe Radulescu :
Somewhere about a hundred thousand tons.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
They have imported a lot! They have not exported anything in the last three years.
Of course, we will have to give them something, but at the same time we must tell them that they will have to pay us in raw materials, to give us coal and coke.

Cde. Janos Fazekas :
Sulphur.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
The most we can do is to see if we can give something from our established exports. But, comrades, I was also thinking about something else: possibly to discuss with our citizens and convince them to give up, next year, one litre of edible oil and one kilogram of meat. For example, instead of eating sixty-two kilograms of meat to eat only sixty-one, this only in the first six months, and on the other side [?] it would mean that instead thirty-one or thirty-two kilograms of meat to eat only about thirty kilograms.

Cde. Aneta Spornic :
And sugar as well.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
They have sugar.

Cde. Janos Fazekas :
They have had a good production of sugar this year, and they can meet their needs.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
It would mean that, from a consumption of sixty-two kilograms of meat, actually about five kilograms per month, they would have to give up 300 grams, but not 300 grams, only about 200 grams.
I intend, therefore, to convene the Bureau of the Democracy and Socialist Unity Front, all the members, and to discuss with the people, to tell them, to show them that it is necessary for us to give [the Poles] paid-for aid.

Cde. Janos Fazekas :
This is the best way.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
If they agree, it is good; if they do not, we will see. But, as I said before, this would mean about 200 grams per month from somewhat more than 5 kgs! Naturally, meat and meat products. Consequently, in six months they would have to give up 1 kg, [of meat] and only in the first half of next year. Possibly, 1 litre or half-litre of edible oil. In the towns, we give about 600 (grams ?).

Cde. Cornelia Filipas :
Comrade General Secretary, in the towns 900 (grams ?), and in the country – 500 (grams?).

Cde. Ana Muresan :
Comrade General Secretary, in the first trimesters it is less because the plan is also smaller. The levels of consumption are not the same as in the fourth trimester.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
Of course, we can give them some wheat; there are problems only for meat and edible oil, the rest we can give from our reserves. We must also see [if we can give them] some drugs.

Cde. Elena Ceausescu :
They came down with the illness of doing nothing!

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
They say they have drugs.

Cde. Elena Ceausescu :
If they had worked, this would not have happened.

Cde. Gheorghe Radulescu :
At any rate, they prepared this action badly.



Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
They did not prepare it badly! This is not preparation, this measure was imposed on them. One cannot say they made preparations! If they had prepared well, they should first of all have talked to the people so that this situation may not be arrived at, and if they had made preparations, there would have been neither the “state of emergency” nor the chaos in economy. Can this be called preparation? They were pushed to take this measure, it was not them who led. It is difficult to solve problems when there is a “state of emergency” in your country.

Cde. Gheorghe Radulescu :
It is the simplest way.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
On the contrary! It is not simple at all.
Well, what are we to do?

Cde. Elena Ceausescu :
At any rate, they should pay.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
That is about all we could do.

Cde. Janos Fazekas :
And, anyway, it is better to discuss with [our] people.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
In any case, the Poles must understand that they have to pay; even if we discuss with [our] people, they still have to pay.

Cde. Elena Ceausescu :
They have raw materials.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
Let us call the [Polish] ambassador here to see what it is they understand by the giving of this aid; we should tell them that we are willing to discuss with [our] people, nevertheless they will have to pay.

Cde. Elena Ceausescu :
There will be no philanthropy toward them!

Cde. Dumitru Popescu :
Maybe it would do us no harm to give them some industrial products, such as ready-made clothes, and footwear.

Cde. Elena Ceausescu :
Give it a rest!!

Cde. Dumitru Popescu :
I think it would be easier for us as well.

Cde. Elena Ceausescu :
Actually, ready-made clothes are raw materials themselves.

Cde. Dumitru Popescu :
That is right, but we have more of them.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
Let them wear what they have. In fact, they did not reach the point of
having no clothes on them!
I cannot for the life of me understand why they decided [not] to work on
Saturdays right now, when the going is rough.

Cde. Ilie Verdet :
They already had enough problems; now they simply want to solve them
all.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
They should not have set out to solve this problem now. In general, they
are not the only ones as regards Saturdays.

Cde. Elena Ceausescu :
Who does not work [on Saturdays]?

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
Yes; there are the Hungarians, too.

Cde. Petre Lupu :
The Czechs and the [East] Germans.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu
I do not know why they do not work on Saturdays, but they work on other
[week]days.

Cde. Elena Ceausescu
They work overtime on other days.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
They work nine hours per day, this can hardly be called disorganization.

Cde. Ilie Verdet :
Where there are two shifts, they work overtime on one day, for example
nine hours.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
All of them work forty-five to forty-six hours per week, but they work overtime on other days in order to have a day off on Saturday.
We have been striving hard for a long time to give a Saturday off [per week], but we have not succeeded so far.
Naturally, good provisioning is necessary for the people to work; prac-tically, if people work well on the other days, [adequate] production can be achieved.

Cde. Elena Ceausescu :
We sometimes work on Sundays, too, but nevertheless we are not able to fulfill the plan!

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
In all countries, including capitalist ones, where this unemployment and this problem exist, this thing leads to anarchy, and all the other [things]. The man who does not work talks to people, walks about on the streets, hangs out at cafeterias. That is why [the Poles] have problems with the young people, and with all the others They have not managed to organize time, and duly use it. But this is another problem, and we are not going to discuss it now.
Consequently, comrades, I suggest that we proceed as follows: discuss [these issues] in the Executive Bureau of the Democracy and Socialist Unity Front as well, and try to do something; let us not go public, but discuss within the framework of general meetings only.

Cde. Elena Ceausescu :
At any rate, the Polish ambassador must be summoned and asked what it is all about so that we can understand what they mean by this aid, what it is all about, so as not to let this problem go untackled.

Cde. Stefan Andrei :
The communication was received from Warsaw.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
Then let us proceed as we have established, and eventually we will also decide on what they are going to pay with.

Cde. Janos Fazekas :
Comrade Ceausescu, their foodstuff balance is largely uncovered.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
It cannot be covered by us!
Cde. Janos Fazekas :
I think we should give them as few foodstuffs as possible, and something else instead.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
First of all, they have problems with the foodstuffs and the drugs. This is what they let us know.

Cde. Stefan Andrei :
The communication says the following:

1. The situation of gasoline and diesel fuel supply is catastrophic.
2. Special situation in the case of detergents, soap, foodstuffs, and drugs (even of dressings/bandages).
3. Wheat flour for bread.
4. Meat, lard, butter, edible oil.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
We do not have detergents either.
When is the [detergent] factory to be put into operation?

Cde. Ion Dinca :
The factory in Radauti has already been commissioned; the last produc-tion unit to be put into operation is the one in Timisoara.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu ?
But what happened? Did they not have raw materials?

Cde. Ion Dinca :
We had a more difficult situation as regards raw materials.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
We have discussed to ensure, for the next year, all the fat necessary for soap production.

Cde. Ion Dinca :
At any rate, we have taken measures for all of the production capacities to be put into operation as soon as possible to cover other needs as well.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
We will see; we have no reserves. We do not have gasoline and diesel fuel, but we will see if there is something available in the field of drugs.

Cde. Elena Ceausescu :
And bandages.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
They will receive drugs from the Soviet Union. If the Soviets do not have drugs, then they should give us crude oil, and we will process it at their expense! Of course, we can help them if they have no refineries nearby. Naturally, we will give them some drugs. We do not have detergents now.

Cde. Ion Dinca :
15% [of the detergents] are exported, and 85% are intended for the home market.

Cde. Cornelia Filipas :
[The suppliers] are 8,000 tons behind the delivery schedule.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
In the country [in Romania] nobody used detergents; everybody made their own soap at home in our country. Nobody remains without soap!

Cde. Elena Ceausescu :
Everybody got accustomed to using only detergents!

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
Detergents are used for washing only to a small extent.

Cde. Elena Ceausescu :
Even the floors are scrubbed with detergents.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
That is right! Before, people put a little soda in water, and could wash very well with it.

Cde. Elena Ceausescu :
A lot of detergents are used in industry as well.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
People also used ashes; they put them into water, and washed with the resulting lye (alkaline solution).

Cde. Elena Ceausescu :
We should see one day how high the consumption of detergents in industry is because, as I said before, the consumption there is high. The detergent consumption is high in the wire-manufacturing industry as well.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu
It is simply too little!
The concept of consumption society has had some following in our country as well, but it is censured now. Have you heard [Ronald] Reagan speaking about the consumption society any longer? He said that mistakes in economy have been made for fifty years now. And so it is. Only consumption and waste were seen. Unfortunately, in our country the situation is the same; we still have people who are prisoners of this concept, although we fought against it at the 9th, the 10th, and the 11th Party Congresses.
Of course, the capitalists are allowed to create [such a consumption society], at the expense of the colonies. They brought in Turks, they paid them less, they did what they did, and it was a kind of modern slavery. Just like in the antiquity.

Cde. Elena Ceausescu :
It is the same [situation] now!

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
The so-called “free citizens” and “free world” did not work, it was the slaves that worked for them, and so they could live their lives as they did. Even in Greece, and in Rome, it was the slaves from the “third world', from the colonies, that they relied on. The Soviets thought that it was good for them to have their own “slaves”! But this only until one by one…! What happened in Poland, in Hungary, is in fact an outbreak of this colonialistic tendency, but they were not prepared; they wish to continue this situation, but it is more difficult.
Even now, in Belgium, a government will be formed only if the real income is reduced by 3%. These are the negotiations between the socialists and the liberals. If they do not agree, they will not form a government; they have to agree on the 3% reduction of the real income. Mrs Thatcher was more radical! [President] Reagan acted more seriously, he began with education, with the health care, with social assistance. He also reduced the rates of interest so as to be able to ensure the armament means at the expense of the developing countries, of other countries.
Of course, in practice approximately the same thing happens in the socialist countries. Naturally, they try to maintain further [?]. In fact, the Hungarians officially declared that they would reach 90% [real income] as compared with 1980.

Cde. Ilie Verdet :
The same thing seems to be about to happen in Czechoslovakia.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu :
The Poles reduced it by about 20%.
But these are other problems. Then, comrades, let us proceed as established, let us see what the people say. Do you agree?
(All the comrades agree).
Then this meeting is adjourned.