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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 20, 1964

STENOGRAPHIC PROTOCOL OF THE II PLENARY SESSION OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE POLISH UNITED WORKERS’ PARTY (EXCERPTS)

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    Gomulka addresses the justification for Khrushchev's removal and describes some of the recent foreign policy problems experienced as a result of Khrushchev's actions.
    "Stenographic Protocol of the II Plenary Session of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party (excerpts)," November 20, 1964, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archiwum Akt Nowych, KC PZPR, sygn. PZPR 1265; obtained and translated by Douglas E. Selvage. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112670
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[Gomulka begins the section of his address on Khrushchev's removal by reading down a list of justifications, mainly domestic, offered by Soviet officials at the October CPSU plenum to justify Khrushchev's removal, pp. 318-21.]

… The next censure dealt with his favoring his family, which expressed itself above all else of course in his sending his son-in-law, Adzhubei, abroad for various matters. Sending him itself may not be the most important thing, but the irresponsible way in which Adzhubei behaved abroad was often simply disgraceful for the Soviet Union. We know a little bit about that, at least from his last trip, to West Germany (representatives of our press informed us about the way he acted and his statements). In a word, Cde. Khrushchev started to create around himself … the atmosphere of a cult of personality. [pp. 324-25]

… We recognized that the change carried out in the leading positions [in the Soviet Union] is completely justified, it was carried out in full accordance with the principle of inner-party democracy, and we expressed our approval for the decisions of the Plenum of the CPSU CC, considering that they were above all else their internal matters, and we could not meddle in these matters, but we fully concur in the argumentation that the Soviet comrades put forward to us. At the same time, we presented and told them as well what we ourselves have been thinking about his [Khrushchev's] activities in those matters in which we are directly interested in some form, because they dealt with us; this had to do above all else with effects in two areas: foreign policy and in the area of our economic relations….

For the Soviet comrades, our positive stance was no surprise because they already knew about the previously-cited contentious issues between the leadership of our party and Cde. Khrushchev (or at least some of the issues). They had been informed by Cde. Khrushchev.

… As I already stated, these sometimes divergent views dealt with various aspects of foreign policy, and they arose above all else from a lack of consultation with regard to questions about the Soviet Union's foreign policy in relation to the FRG …, [a lack of] consultation with our party and with our responsible state organs….

… It is clear that both Poland as a country and our party are not the main creative force for the foreign policy of the socialist camp, and it is unthinkable that Poland would force something in this regard or that we could conduct some sort of independent [samodzielna] foreign policy. It is also unthinkable that even when we do have reservations to the policy of the Soviet Union, that we would express them openly, that we would reveal some shades of difference in our stance, because the enemy would immediately detect it and use it…. At the same time, every one of us feels a responsibility that in certain matters in which our party, our government, our country, is deeply and directly interested, and we demand, have the right to demand, and always will demand that these matters be discussed with us and coordinated, and that, if I may say so, we also express our stance…. [pp. 322-24]

Only in the last two years did certain nuances begin to arise, differences of greater or lesser importance. They had to deal above all else with the question of German policy, but not only this. As you know, comrades, not every initiative of the Soviet Union in the German question – with regard to the solution of the German question, with regard to the peace treaty and West Berlin – had been thought out to the end. We always believed that the Soviet Union had thought through its initiatives well, that it had more trump cards in its hand, because it had all the weapons [nieci] of policy in its hand and not us, but it turned out that it did not always look that way, that it was a little bit of a [cavalry] charge – e.g., with regard to the issues of the peace treaty with Germany, we had to be a little ashamed. Cde. Khrushchev set deadlines that were not well thought through; the West stood firm, did not concede, and later he had to withdraw from these ultimative deadlines and somehow explain. But this is not yet a question of differences. Only if a person looks very insightfully and analytically at other moves does he perceive these failings.

If it has to do with the German question, Cde. Khrushchev voiced the concept of Rapallo. I will not explicate what this means here; essentially, the concept boiled down to the idea that the FRG did not have in the long term any other way to go than to change sides and turn and to the Soviet Union, reach an understanding with the Soviet Union, and then one could talk about some resolution of the German problem. We were very skeptical about this matter; we believed that the situation here is completely different. We spoke about these questions more than once, and Cde. Khrushchev often got angry because we did not share his view of this concept.

In this regard, Adenauer conducted a special policy through [FRG Ambassador in Moscow Hans] Kroll. Not only Adenauer in the end, but also other envoys of the FRG, simply deceived Cde. Khrushchev; they discussed various possibilities, but with a completely different goal in mind. They had the goal of negotiating concessions for the FRG from his side and the creation of some long-term prospect for opening the door to Germany's unification. That's what it was mainly about for them. And with regard to the possibility that they would loosen their relations with NATO, or leave NATO to turn and join the Soviet Union, we absolutely did not see any grounds for this.

This already created in our discussions certain differences, especially given the sort of character Cde. Khrushchev had – a very rude one; in general, this already did not create a good climate. Very substantial matters arose between us in connection with the desire of the USA and the FRG to create so-called NATO multilateral nuclear forces [MLF], which is currently the subject of broad criticism. Cde. Khrushchev's view regarding NATO nuclear forces differed fundamentally enough from our view. Namely, Cde. Khrushchev truly believed that the creation of even NATO nuclear forces would not change the balance of forces between the socialist camp and the states of the Atlantic bloc; that these multilateral nuclear forces in a certain sense might be helpful in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons in such a form that the FRG or other NATO states would come to possess their own national nuclear forces.

Various other ideas were expressed about this: that the multilateral forces were an alliance between the FRG and the USA, but that it would also bind the FRG that much more with the USA, which is not completely bad for us because first, the USA would have a restraining impact upon West Germany's various revanchist tendencies; at the same time, a French-West German alliance could be even more dangerous for peace and eventually [lead] to Germany's turning to France for atomic weapons. In fact, the whole argument boiled down to the idea that if the Germans were to bind themselves more closely to France at the cost of relations with the USA – since they have a notably larger economic position than France, a stronger economic position – then they would begin to impose their views upon France and lead it down their road.

Many such conceptions can be worthy of discussion; it is possible to look differently at these matters. Still, we had another view here, because the stated concepts would naturally lead to the logical conclusion that we could silently agree to the creation of the multilateral nuclear forces. These concepts led to such a conclusion. We were decidedly of another point of view in this matter. We discussed the matter in the Politburo and even expressed our stance on this matter. Nothing has changed in this regard in terms of the official policy of the Soviet Union; it is opposed, as it was before, to the multilateral nuclear forces. It maintained and still maintains that the creation of the multilateral forces constitutes a proliferation of nuclear weapons, to which we cannot agree, and if it is necessary, we will have to take steps in response…. [pp. 337-39]

… We explained that we are not for the proliferation of these [i.e., nuclear] weapons, but at the same time we expressed understanding in a speech for China's aspirations to become a nuclear state. Such were the shades of difference in our stances in many cases. [p. 340]

… Cde. Khrushchev's recently planned trip to the FRG hit us particularly hard. I already spoke about this, that in these matters we are directly interested, despite the fact that we have to speak along party lines; that we wanted to know something, to consult; that we were not against a trip – please, if you have to go, you can go – but we should know something about what it's about, what the goal is to be, since we are also deeply interested. We received evasive replies; he did not want to consult. Often, this started to anger us, since this is no favor, it is a duty; especially since later, after Adzhubei's visit to the FRG, we found out from the newspapers that he [Khrushchev] was intending to go. Up to the last moment we did not know: Is he going, or isn't he? Officially, he did not tell us, a bad situation. And so it grew, and grew, and grew. Such various matters. The question arises here: Why did he not want to speak, was it a lack of trust? No, it does not have to do here with some lack of trust. If he's able to tell U Thant, he can tell us as well – right? Here it is some sort of personal trait, a character trait… Several comrades know, even non-members of the Politburo were witnesses to how he can react very angrily to even very innocent, often normal statements…. At Lansk this happened once, and it demonstrated the bad situation. [pp. 340-41]

… But this began most often to have an effect upon our economic relations. He began quite simply to treat us worse. For us, our trade relations with the Soviet Union are no less important than our political relations. For our economy, this is an extremely important matter. But we were shoved a little bit into last place in relation to the other European people's democracies. The thought was, we will give it to whomever, but we cannot give it to the Poles, despite valid agreements…. With regard to grain, for example. I spoke here on one occasion about how we received a letter from Comrade Khrushchev last year saying that we could not count on any deliveries of grain after the disaster of the drought. This letter went to all the other parties, to the GDR, to Czechoslovakia, to Hungary, to Bulgaria… It was personally very uncomfortable for me to discuss the grain topic, especially after the drought. When we met with Cde. Khrushchev last year in Bialowiezy, he made accusations against us: “We do not have grain because you took it from us. We had reserves, but we had to give you the reserves, because you came to us and pleaded, and we scraped the reserves from our warehouses for your sake”….

Well, it began anew this year. The harvest is better, so other countries were given grain, even though a similar letter was written to everybody, but no grain was given to us…. Only after the removal of Cde. Khurhshcev … the new leadership decided that they should nevertheless give the Poles 400 thousand tons in accordance with the signed agreement. It is the same with regard to cotton this year…. [pp. 342-43]

… We brought this up [Khrushchev's proposed trip to Bonn] with the Soviet comrades, the new leadership, during our discussions, so that we would know also what their stance is with regard to the German question. Because [West German Chancellor Ludwig] Erhard is stating in the German press that the invitation for Khrushchev is also valid for Kosygin, we asked them: Exactly why did he [Khrushchev] want to go, and would you go there?

[Their reply:] ‘We do not know why he wanted to go to the FRG, we do not see any sense in it, and we ourselves do not intend to go, and if we had the intention to go, we would consult with you.'

We do not want anything more, that's the normal way of putting the matter. [pp. 344-45]