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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 12, 1981


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    Brezhnev summarizes his meeting with E. Honecker regarding the efforts of the PZPR to suppress the rise of antisocialist political opposition forces in Poland. K.V. Rusakov and A.A. Gromyko respond by expressing their worries about the situation in Poland and criticizing the PZPR for not taking decisive measures to restore order and control over the country.
    "Session of the CPSU CC Politburo, 12 March 1981 (excerpt)," March 12, 1981, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 37, first published in CWIHP Special Working Paper 1. Original available in the National Security Archive RADD/READD Collection.
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(Working Notes)

12 March 1981

Cde. L. I. BREZHNEV presiding.

Also taking part: Cdes. M. S. Gorbachev, V. V. Grishin, A. A. Gromyko, A. P. Kirilenko, A. Ya. Pel'she, N. A. Tikhonov, D. F. Ustinov, K. U. Chernenko, P. N. Demichev, V. V. Kuznetsov, B. N. Ponomarev, M. S. Solomentsev, V. I. Dolgikh, M. V. Zimyanin, K. V. Rusakov.

. . . .

5. On the Discussion Between Cde. L. I. Brezhnev and Cde. E. Honecker

BREZHNEV. Notes from the discussion with Cde. Honecker were distributed, and you've had a chance to read them. The discussion was brief, but for Cde. Honecker it had great significance. I started out by welcoming Cde. Honecker and thanking him for taking part in the congress. In addition, I sought Cde. Honecker's views on how the congress was going and how the delegates were receiving it. He responded that the delegates to the congress are speaking about many things, referring not only to successes, but also to difficulties and shortcomings.

In addition, Cde. Honecker's alarm at the situation in Poland was very much in evidence during the conversation. I said to him that the situation in Poland disturbs us, too. I noted that Cde. Honecker had had a meeting with Cde. Kania, which of course was useful. All of us clearly are united in believing that the Polish comrades must begin taking more forceful measures to restore order in the country and to provide stability. The government is now headed by Cde. Jaruzelski — a good, intelligent comrade who wields great authority.

I said that Cde. Honecker, during his meeting with Cde. Kania, should also insist that the Polish comrades resort to more decisive measures aimed at restoring order in the country. Cde. Honecker thanked me for the discussion and expressed his eagerness for me to lead a CPSU delegation to the congress. I thanked him for the invitation and said that the Politburo would be deciding who would lead the delegation.

GROMYKO. Poland, of course, is of concern to everyone, above all Cde. Honecker. That's fully understandable. It seems to me that Honecker was right in being firm when he raised all the matters with Kania, and that Cde. Husak also very firmly raised all these matters.

RUSAKOV. If we refer to the discussions that Leonid Il'ich had, it's evident that the question of Poland was raised by all the comrades. Of course everyone is worried about the situation in Poland. I think these concerns are shared by the Polish comrades. They must address these concerns by adopting more decisive measures. However, even after the highly publicized conference of the leaders of the fraternal countries, the Polish friends still have not grasped the necessity of carrying out fundamental measures to restore order in the country.

This same question was addressed by Cdes. Chernenko, Gorbachev, and Grishin.

A decision was adopted to approve the discussion held by Cde. L. I. Brezhnev with Cde. E. Honecker.