Search in

Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 14, 1981


  • Citation

    get citation

    CPSU gives instructions to the Communist Party of Italy on how to deal with Solidarity leader Lech Walesa's visit.
    "Directive from the CPSU Secretariat, 14 January 1981, with Supporting Cables," January 14, 1981, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 49, first published in CWIHP Special Working Paper 1. Original available in the National Security Archive RADD/READD Collection.
  • share document


English HTML

Top Secret


On Instructions to the Soviet Ambassador in Italy Regarding Lech Walesa's Visit to Italy

1. To affirm the text of instructions to the Soviet ambassador in Italy (attached).
2. To make a copy of the appeal to the Italian Communist Party leadership and send it to the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party.


Cdes. Suslov, Kirilenko, Chernenko, Gorbachev, Ponomarev, Kapitonov, Zimyanin, and Rusakov vote “yes” (see materials)

Distributed to Cdes. Gromyko, Ponomarev, and Rusakov

14 January 1981





Meet with Cde. Berlinguer or one of his deputies, and say the following:

(For Warsaw — Transmit to Cde. Kania or a person designated by him the text of the following telegram, which was sent to Rome)

“In connection with the visit that is about to begin by Lech Walesa, the leader of the Polish trade union 'Solidarity,' the CPSU CC would like to share the following ideas.

“At present, the leaders of 'Solidarity' and those who back them are seeking to exacerbate the social situation in Poland and to step up their pressure on the PZPR leadership and government, having gained support for their platform from all those who are hoping to weaken the position of the Party and its leading role in the country. It is precisely in this connection that 'Solidarity' has been demanding the introduction of a five-day work week, seeking to use it as a way of openly confronting the position of the PZPR. This confirms our evaluation, which you already know from the CPSU CC's appeal to the ICP leadership, that the activity of 'Solidarity' is more and more focused on vigorously attacking the very foundations of socialism in the PPR.

“The political intrigues and actions of 'Solidarity' are constantly felt, leading to a further deterioration of the economic situation in Poland and an erosion of the bases of socialist society. It is well known that Poland's economic situation is extremely grave. In these circumstances, a steady increase of demands that do not take account of the urgent state of the economy, and even more the work stoppages, can have only one result: the continued disintegration of economic life in the country. It is characteristic that government officials sought to explain to the leaders of 'Solidarity' that an immediate full transition to a five-day work week, instead of the government's plans for a gradual transition to such an arrangement, could lead to a reduction of living standards by 8-9 percent and could result in a significant decrease in industrial production, including the production of consumer goods. The fact that 'Solidarity' has ignored this warning and tried, on the contrary, to organize a general strike demanding the immediate introduction of a five-day week, indicates that the leaders of this organization are not seeking the improvement of the situation of the working class and of all laborers and the defense of their basic interests. Instead, they are seeking the further weakening of the Party's position and the emergence of a situation fraught with dangers of a stepped-up conflict.

“This union at present is a force to be reckoned with. Moreover, it is not a unified organization, either ideologically or politically. It encompasses serious disagreements among individual leaders and regional groups, a number of which have openly dissociated themselves from the activity of the antisocialist elements that have established a strong position in the central leadership of 'Solidarity.'

“Walesa's delegation includes representatives of the so-called KOR ('Committee for Workers' Defense'), a patently antisocialist organization: Gwiazda, Walentynowicz, and Modzelewski, who are notorious for their openly anti-Communist and anti-Soviet sentiments. It is absolutely certain that these people are trying to use Walesa's trip to Italy not only to promote 'Solidarity' and its own views, but also to undertake new attacks against socialism in Poland, relying, so to speak, on 'international support.'

“We would like to draw your attention to the fact that the complexity of the ideological and political situation in Poland has been heightened, in particular, by the contrasting interpretations that the different forces have of the slogan 'renewal.' Some, notably the PZPR and its allies, understand this as a reaffirmation of the principles of socialism and the reestablishment of Leninist norms of Party life, whereas others understand it as the erosion and dissipation of the socialist order. These contrasting views of the nature of the slogan 'renewal' are being exploited by the enemies of the Party to conceal their underlying goals and schemes.

“Based on the above, it is obvious that the interests of the Polish people and the interests of the PZPR and its line of socialist renewal would be best served if you countered the attempts by Walesa and his entourage to exploit the trip to Italy for anti-Communist, antisocialist, and anti-Soviet purposes.

“Right now, support for the current political line of the leadership of the 'Solidarity' trade union, which is operating legally in Poland and, in the process, is seeking to disrupt the country's constitutional order, would be tantamount to support for its struggle against the PZPR.

“Taking account of these circumstances, we consider it our duty to inform the ICP leadership of this.”

Confirm by telegram.




On Instructions to the Soviet Ambassador in Italy Regarding Lech Walesa's Visit to Italy

A delegation from Solidarity (18 people), headed by L. Walesa, will be in Italy from 14 to 18 January 1981 at the invitation of local trade unions. The delegation also includes representatives of the antisocialist political opposition (Ciph. Tel. from Warsaw, Spec. No. 15, 7 January 1981).

According to available information, the bourgeois parties and mass media intend to make wide use of the trip by this delegation to discredit the socialist order in the Polish People's Republic (PPR) and to support the line of eroding and eventually eliminating socialist gains in Poland. To this end, plans are under way to organize a reception for the members of the delegation by high-level trade union and political figures. In addition to a meeting with the Pope in the Vatican, there are plans for L. Walesa and his delegation to be welcomed by the leadership of the United Trade Union Federation VIKT-IKPT-IST, and for meetings to be organized with workers' groups. Despite a preliminary decision to avoid meeting with L. Walesa, the ICP leadership so far has been wavering in its position and has not ruled out the possibility of some sort of contacts with him.

We believe it would be worthwhile to alert the leadership of the Italian Communist Party, which is well-positioned within the Italian trade union movement and has substantial influence on political circles in the country.

In this connection it would be best to give instructions to the Soviet ambassador in Italy to meet with E. Berlinguer or one of his deputies and to draw the attention of the ICP leadership to the necessity of taking all possible steps to ensure that L. Walesa's trip to Italy does not result in support for the line of the antisocialist political opposition.

It would be worth transmitting to the PZPR CC a copy of the appeal to the ICP leadership.

A draft directive of the CPSU CC is attached.

13 January 1981