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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 01, 1988


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    Letter from Andrzej Stelmachowski to Lech Walesa discussing the proposed Roundtable talks, and the promise that subsequent meetings would not lead to arrests
    "Letter from Andrzej Stelmachowski to Lech Walesa," October 01, 1988, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Personal papers of Andrzej Stelmachowski. Translated for CWIHP by Jan Chowaniec.
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Tel. 33-96-11
Mr. Lech Walesa
Chairman of NSZZ
in Gdansk

Dear Chief:

On 20 September I held another talk with Secretary J. Czyrek. In the beginning, according to the instructions, I protested the arrest of the 17 students who make up the National Council of the Independent Student Union (NZS),[1] expressing hope that the next meeting of this kind would not be disturbed, even more so because at stake here is a selection of delegates to the “Roundtable.” I also intervened on behalf of two members of the Striking Committee at Stalowa Wola, who still have not been re-admitted to their jobs, drawing his attention to the fact that the recommendation to re-admit about 200 miners to their jobs in Silesia also have not been implemented.

Secretary Czyrek promised to take care of these matters: he would go personally to Silesia to settle things and also for his part to prepare a “miners' table.” At the same time he has raised far-reaching grievances towards Onyszkiewicz [2] because of his appearance before a U.S. Congressional Committee, that is before the body of a foreign state (it was indeed a great blunder). As far as the “Roundtable” talks are concerned, we have agreed on the following:

1) The main “Roundtable” will number 50-70 people.

2) Individual teams will have about 20 people each, and their compositions may change as the need arises.

3) There will be 5 teams (union, systemic-political, economic, social pluralism and agriculture), and an additional sixth “table” will be operating in Katowice (on mining and matters related to that region [3] ). Secretary Czyrek didn't agree to set up a separate table for dealing with law and order, but agreed to discuss these matters at the systemic-political “table.”

4) On the governmental side, representatives of the Party and allied parties will be invited but also large social organizations, such as NOT,[4] PTE, [5] agricultural circles, leaders of self-governmental and cooperative organizations, etc., but more on a personal rather than an institutional basis.

5) It has been decided that “Solidarity's” representation will be as large as the party-government representation, including the “allies;” however, there will be a third category of “miscellaneous,” comprised of well-known personalities who are not directly connected to either side. Here Church representatives will be included.

6) As far as the duration of the “Roundtable” talks is concerned, there is a proposal to start them on 17 October and finish before 11 November. If everything goes well, there would be a great ceremonious ending, combined with the 70 th anniversary of regained independence.

7) The “Roundtable” will make only the most important decisions and will form a Council for National Understanding, which would receive proper powers from the Sejm and would prepare legislative drafts necessary for the introduction of political reform, as well as essential elements of economic reform.

In connection with this, we allowed ourselves to conduct a number of consultations, as a result of which we have prepared together with Bronislaw, Tadeusz and Henryk [6] draft lists of participants with a kind request for approval or correction.

The list of the “Roundtable” contains both a proposal of people comprising the “S” delegation, as well as those supported for a “bargain” with the government side. I would also like to reserve the right of “exchanging” from our side some people if the need arises.

I would also like to propose for the future the open-ness of deliberations, so that the public can be properly informed.

I am requesting your approval of the above arrangements, and particularly the date of starting the talks and the list of participants.

Shaking your hand,

[1] An Independent Association of Students, founded in 1981, outlawed under the martial law.
[2] Janusz Onyszkiewicz, a “Solidarity” activist from 1981, member of KO appointed by the Chairman of NSZZ “Solidarity”, “Roundtable” participants, from June 1989 deputy to the Sejm.
[3] That “Table” in Katowice was never set up.
[4] Naczelna Organizacja Techniczna [Chief Technical Organization].
[5] Polskie Towarzystwo Ekonomiczne [Polish Economic Society].
[6] Bronislaw Geremek, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Henryk Wujec