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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 20, 1989

LETTER FROM A. STELMACHOWSKI TO LECH WALESA

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    Letter from A. Stelmachowski to Lech Walesa suggesting more open Union structures and advocating a small body of representatives to take part in the Roundtable discussions
    "Letter from A. Stelmachowski to Lech Walesa," January 20, 1989, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Personal papers of Andrzej Stelmachowski. Translated for CWIHP by Jan Chowaniec. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112480
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Mr. Lech Walesa
Chairman of NSZZ
“Solidarity”

Gdansk

Dear Chief,

Since I have to stay in Warsaw on Saturday due to the ongoing state-church talks, I am taking this opportunity to convey to you (also for possible use at a KKW [12] meeting) the following suggestions and conclusions:

1. I think that an important matter is to set up a not too large team to work out draft statutes for “Solidarity,” which would adapt our Union to the law on trade unions. Particularly important is to work out a pattern for workplace organizations, operating with uniform statutes at workplace levels [that] would allow [one] to preserve the unity of the Union. Of course, the drafts should also include higher bodies, including the central one. I think that Lech Kaczynski [13] should be chairman of such team as a professional and also living on the spot in Gdansk.

2. I think it is high time to break away from the secrecy of the Union structure, particularly at workplace levels (except for publishing and financial matters). The Union should create open structures as much as possible.

3. I would also like to express my opinion on an unpopular and personally for you irritating matter. Namely, I think that in view of the chance of “Solidarity's” legalization an attempt should be made to unite all “Solidarity members,” who still consider them-selves members of the Union. Thus, I am in favor of the last year's scheme of A. Celinski,[14] i.e. to convene a “sejmik,” at which both members of the National Commission, [15] remaining in the country, as well as members of structures created during the martial law period, and finally representatives of the newly-created structures (strike committees from 1988 and organizing committees, founding committees) should participate. Personally, I think that representatives of the newly-created structures should have at least half of the delegates.

4. I think that the CC resolution on union pluralism [16] provides a basis to undertake the “Roundtable” talks, but based on our experience from last fall I would advise against a large body. I think a small leading group (a sort of presidium) should be selected, which should participate in the meetings of particular teams with changing composition, depending on the questions under discussion.

5. I am informing [you] that on 17 January there was a hearing in the Main Administrative Court on the “Social Foundation for Workers' Solidarity,” of which you are a benefactor. The NSA [17] has annulled the decision of the Ministry of Health and Public Welfare, in which the Ministry had demanded unfounded statutory changes. I hope that after that verdict the Ministry will not resist approval of the statute. In the next few days I will resume new efforts in this matter.

With warm greetings,

[signed by A. Stelmachowski]

[12] Krajowa Komisja Wykonawcza [National Executive Commission] - the executive body of NSZZ “Solidarity”, set up in October 1987.
[13] Lech Kaczynski, a lawyer, co-worker of KOR, from 1980 an activist of NSZZ “Solidarity”, member of KO appointed by the Chairman of NSZZ “Solidarity”, “Roundtable” participant, from June 1989 a senator.
[14] Andrzej Celinski, KOR member, from 1980 an activist of NSZZ “Solidarity”, from 1987 secretary of KKW, member of KO appointed by the Chairman of NSZZ “Solidarity”, “Roundtable” participant, from June 1989 a senator.
[15] Komisja Krajowa (KK) - the top executive body of NSZZ “Solidarity” set up at the first National Congress of Delegates in December 1981.
[16] The CC PUWP Xth plenary meeting adopted a resolution in January 1989, allowing for union pluralism, thus opening up the road for legalization of “Solidarity.”
[17] NSA - Naczelny Sad Administracyjny [the Main Administrative Court].