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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 06, 1988


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    Report from Andrzej Stelmachowski to Lech Walesa regarding his meeting with Czyrek and their conversation on Czyrek’s vision of the Roundtable discussions including questions about Solidarity’s position in the political system if it were to be legalized
    "Report from Andrzej Stelmachowski to Lech Walesa," September 06, 1988, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Personal papers of Andrzej Stelmachowski. Translated for CWIHP by Jan Chowaniec.
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6 September 1988
Mr. Chairman
Lech Walesa

A report

Yesterday, i.e. on 5 September, I met with Secretary J. Czyrek. The conversation lasted from 5:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., and then for another 10 minutes [we talked] in connection with the need for intervention on behalf of workers dismissed from their jobs or called up for military service as a penalty [for participation in strikes].

At the beginning [of the meeting] I handed him your note of 4 September, and the second one from “Solidarity RI” relating to agriculture [in] which I have agreed with them on my trip to Czipstochowa for a harvest festival. To begin with, the Secretary was delighted that we are proposing to start the “Roundtable” in [a] reasonable, not too acceler-ated time limit. He also said that he had been expecting a second Kiszczak-Walesa meeting to discuss the agenda, a list of participants and an agenda, while it would appear from your note [1] that such meeting is not planned. I responded to this that, of course, a Kiszczak-Walesa meeting is always possible if we both agree on what needs to be done.

In that case the secretary has revealed his vision of the “Roundtable.” He sees it as follows:

1) An exchange of views on the proposed changes in: a) the socio-political system, b) the economic system;

2) Work procedure and methods of coming to conclusions. He sees the sequence of work [as follows:]

1/ Discussion of the democratization process, leading to the creation of a joint election platform and reaching an understanding on restructuring the most important state structures: the Sejm, the government, the chief of state (i.e., a “presidential system”);

2/ Discussion of pluralism of associations (so that its implementation could be achieved by the year's end);

3/ Discussion of a trade union model. He emphasized, however: “we stand on the position of the trade union law.”[2]

He added: We won't quarrel about the sequence of the points.

As can be seen from the above, the sequence of his points is exactly the reverse of ours. Therefore, I put up a [a bit of an objection], explaining that “political and legal empowering is the necessary premise of further phases, as it is difficult to undertake obligations towards anyone without having a legal existence.”

To this the secretary “put his cards on the table” stating that in deciding on the legalization of “Solidarity” the authorities would like to know how the “S” sees its place in the political system. They would like to see “S” as a constructive factor, and not one undermining the system. They do not demand that “S” should get actively involved in the system as it exists today, but they would like to see its co-participation and co-responsibility in the reformed system.

I expressed fear that unleashing a wide-ranging debate on reforming the political system will water down the whole question.

After a longer exchange of views he recognized that besides “a large table,” “smaller tables,” including a “union” one, could also be established. He insisted, however, that reform questions should at least be considered together with the union matters.

In view of my fears that the “large table” debates may be less specific, he has revealed still another proposal. Thus, they would like to set up temporarily a body like a “Council for National Understanding,” which would be entrusted with preparing the reform of the Sejm, government, etc. He asked if “S” would enter into such a council. I in turn inquired how such a council would be chosen: by nomination or by delegation by particular organizations. He responded that it would be through delegation (in this respect it would greatly differ from the Consultative Council) and resolutions would be taken through an “understanding” and not by a “vote.” Such a council would have about 50 persons.

I responded I could not decide this for the “S” authorities, but that I personally thought such participation might be possible, obviously already from the position of a legalized organization.

Then we moved on to the composition of the “Table” and the possibility of a “union table.” I said that for the time being we don't have any proposals regarding the “Table,” while at the “union table” there would be 7-8 people, including about 5 worker activists and about 2-3 people from a team of “advisors” (I did not mention names). He responded by saying that on their side also there would have to be workers and that people from the OPZZ cannot be excluded.[3] He also asked if the strikers would be included in the “S” delegation. I responded that yes, that, for Lech, people who are “dynamic” are right now more important than those who already belong to “Solidarity's ZBOWiD.”[4] I appealed to him not to interfere, as far as possible, into the composition of the other side; we are ready to accept people even from the “party's concrete”[5] (at which he smiled and said this would be an exaggeration, as he would like to lead [the talks] to a positive conclusion).

As far as the “Large Table” is concerned, he mentioned several names such as Kozakiewicz,[6] Kostrzewski [7] (President of Polish Academy of Sciences), Stomma,[8] Przeclawska,[9] Marcin Król, etc. I acknowledged it.

As far as setting the date for starting the debates, it would be next week (according to your note). I merely said that I did not like the figure 13, thus it would be either 12 th or 14 th . He said he did not have aversion to the 13 th , but since a meeting of the Politburo is scheduled on that day, that day would be out of question anyway.

So much for your information. To sum it up—we are faced with a dilemma as to whether to agree to parallel debates at both tables: the “big one” and several small ones, including the “union” one, or not. If so, then we should invite to the “large table” people from the “Group of 60,” invited for Sunday [10] (besides the “unionists”).

There is also the question whether the Kiszczak-Lech debate should be renewed to complete these things, or whether I should do it with Czyrek.

Before leaving the CC building I made a phone call to Rev. Urszulik [11] (I had an earlier appointment, but due to the late hour I wanted to cancel it). Then attorney Ambroziak,[12] who was there, broke the news to me about a call-up of the military in Gdansk and Stalowa Wola and about the layoffs of 28 people from the Northern Shipyard in Gdansk. Therefore, I returned back to Secretary Czyrek and intervened. He promised to take up this matter.

Since Urszulik was urging me to come over (he sent a car), I drove to the Secretary of the Episcopate, where I met, with Rev. Orszulik, Abp. Stroba [13] and Bp. J. Dabrowski. I reported to them on my conversation with Czyrek.

They were of the opinion to agree to both a “large” and “small” table.

While writing this note (at 9:50 a.m.) I got a call from Czyrek, who told me the following:

1) Call-ups to the military are not a new event, but implementation of earlier instructions dating back to the strike period. He pointed out that it has to do with “short” mobilization exercises, 5 days, 10 days, 14 days at most.

2) He promised to explore the question of layoffs in the Northern Shipyard in conversation with the first secretary in Gdansk, who is expected to arrive today for a Politburo meeting.

I pressed [him] to eliminate as fast as possible the above mentioned measures, emphasizing the harmfulness of using the military for penal purposes (Minister Czyrek was against using this term).

Secretary Czyrek said that Gen. Kiszczak would be inclined to begin the “Roundtable” on the coming Wednesday (14 th) or Thursday (15 th).

With warm wishes to all of you,
Please set up a fast telephone communication with Lech (i.e. specific hours and telephone number).

[1] See preceding document.
[2] The trade union statute 8 October 1982, which outlawed “Solidarity.”
[3] Ogólnopolskie Porozumienie Zwiazków Zawodowych [The All-Polish Association of Trade Unions]—closely connected with the authorities.
[4] Zwiazek Bojowników o Wolnosc i Democracjio [The Union of Fighters for Freedom and Democracy] - a veteran organization. Here it implies “Solidarity” veterans from the 1980-1981 period.
[5] The Party's hardline conservatives.
[6] Mikolaj Kozakiewicz, member of ZSL, member of the National Council of PRON, “Roundtable” participant, from June 1989 deputy to the Sejm, Sejm's Speaker.
[7] Jan Karol Kostrzewski, a physician, professor of the Medical Academy, president of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
[8] Stanislaw Stomma, a lawyer, since 1945 an editorial member of Tygodnik Powszechny, in 1956-57 one of the organizers of the Clubs of Catholic Intelligentsia, in 1957-1976 a deputy to the Sejm within the Catholic group of ZNAK, 1981-1985 chairman of the Social Council by the Primate of Poland (an advisory body to the Primate), 1984-1989 president of the Club of Political Thought “Dziekania” (a moderate right discussion forum), member of KO appointed by the Chairman of NSZZ “Solidarity”, from June 1989 a senator.
[9] Anna Przecawska, professor of pedagogics, member of the National Council of PRON, “Roundtable” participant.
[10] A group of Walesa's advisors.
[11 Rev. Bishop Alojzy Orszulik, in the years 1958- 1993 director of the Episcopate's Press Office, 1989-1994 assistant secretary of the Episcopate, member-secretary of the Joint Commission of Government and Episcopate; during the martial law period a liaison between Walesa and the Episcopate, in the years 1988-1989 a participant on behalf of the Church in confidential talks with the PUWP which led to the “Roundtable.”
[12] Jacek Ambroziak, legal advisor in the Secretariat of the Episcopate of Poland, “Roundtable” participant, from June 1989 deputy to the Sejm, minister-chief of the Prime Minister's Office (Council of Ministers) in the Mazowiecki government.
[13] Rev. Archbishop Jerzy Stroba, archbishop-metropolitan of Poznan, member of the Main Council of the Episcopate of Poland, member of the Joint Commission of Government and Episcopate.