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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 29, 1965

NOTE OF SOVIET-POLISH TALKS IN BIALOWIEZA FOREST (BELARUS) ON 29 – 30 OCTOBER 1965

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Excerpts from the Soviet-Polish Talks in Bialowieza Forest (Belarus) on 29 – 30 October1965. Discussions center mostly the trade of certain resources and products, especially those which Cuba is having difficulty obtaining, and an international conference they would like to hold.
    "Note of Soviet-Polish Talks in Bialowieza Forest (Belarus) on 29 – 30 October 1965," October 29, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Andrzej Paczkowski, ed. Tajne Dokumenty Biura Politycznego PRL-ZSRR, 1956-1970 (London: Aneks Publishers, 1998), pp. 300; 316 – 317; 319-320; 332; 340; 345; 352; also in AAN, KC PZPR XIA/83 pp. 195-274; translated by Margaret K. Gnoinska. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115493
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The following participated on the Polish side:

Władysław Gomułka, First Secretary of the CC [Central Committee] PUWP [Polish United Workers’ Party]

Jozef Cyrankiewcz, member of the Politburo CC PUWP, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the PPR [Polish People’s Republic]

Zenon Kliszko, member of the Politburo and Secretary of CC PUWP

Stefan Jedrychowski, member of the Politburo CC PUWP, Chairman of the Planning Commission at the Council of Ministers of PPR

The following participated on the Soviet side:

L.[eonid] I[liich] Brezhnev, First Secretary of the CC CPSU

K. T. Mazurov, member of the Presidium of the CC CPSU, First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR

Y. V. Andropov, Secretary of the CC CPSU

V. N. Novikov, member of the CC CPSU, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR

[…]

Brezhnev: And now, we can’t even help the Poles, the Germans, and Cuba (they are asking for an additional delivery of 100 thousand tons).1 Cubans belong to people who are expansive. They would want everything all at once. We explained to them: why do you need to reconstruct 140 factories? We told them: do half, that is, 70 plants and then construct the second half. I wrote to Fidel (Castro) regarding this issue. [Carlos Rafael] Rodriguez [Chairman of the National Agricultural Reform Institute in Cuba] immediately came to see us. They have not understood our intentions well and they were concerned. But, we have explained to them how many people, how much technology, and how much it would all cost. We advised them to build key plants whose reconstruction would increase their production by 80% and the remainder would be reconstructed in the second place [later]. We managed to convince them, they calmed down, and they thanked us. And now we need to give them 100 thousand tons for this reconstruction. Therefore, such unforeseen matters have emerged…

[…]

Gomułka: …Had we received from you potassium salts, we could give up on purchasing them from capitalist nations, and then we could immediately send soda ash to you.

Mazurove: But, we only have one factory. This [potassium salts] is a very scarce commodity.

Jedrychowski: But, you are exporting it to Czechoslovakia, Hungary and to Cuba.

Mazurov: [Yes, we do, but in] very little amounts and only because Cuba can’t purchase this commodity from anywhere else.

Gomułka: It is not nice to talk about a fraternal country, but the Czechs are using more fertilizers than we are. You, comrade Brezhnev, don’t want to agree with what I am saying in order to treat us equally. The fact, however, is that the Czechs are richer…

[…]

Brezhnev: The Romanians, Czechs, Bulgars, Germans, Vietnamese (four times), and then a Korean delegation, visited us [this year]. Ayub Khan, Shastri, and four times Cubans (Raul [Castro], [Ernesto Che] Guevara and [Osvaldo Torrado] Dorticos)…[also visited us]…They all wanted to get to know the new leadership, but not only that. Some of them discussed their relations with others, e.g. Iran, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan…

[…]

Brezhnev: I have talked about the process that is taking place in the world. Therefore, if this [process] is not a total isolation of the Chinese, then it is totally clear that they are dogmatists, brawlers, and provocateurs. Right now, in Fidel’s feelings towards us, and his trust towards us even the Caribbean Crisis has disappeared [lit. drowned]…Therefore, the process of isolating China continues, including that of their position, their theory, and their policy. They are aiding in this process with their own policies, for example, towards Vietnam, Indonesia, Pakistan…

[…]

Brezhnev: The last thing [I would like to discuss] is the issue of the international conference of the communist movement and the possibility of convening such a conference. Now, we have no possibility to talk about the dates of the conference, but we should not give up on the idea. Neither regional nor bilateral meetings can serve as a substitute for an international forum. But, we must continue bilateral, trilateral, or multilateral conferences. In this year, the CPSU followed exactly such a line. We have invited them to take a rest and we proposed an exchange of opinions. Party delegations came to visit us, we conduct exchanges of experiences, etc., at a significantly wider extent than before. During this time, there were regional—Italian and French meetings - these are large and influential parties, but they also have their conflicts. It is not a bad thing that there was a conference of communist European parties in Belgium. There is to be another one this winter.

It is also good that there was a conference of communist parties of Latin America in Havana, and it was even better that they all went to China to listen to the heavenly Marxist and came back spitting in all directions. [Carlos Rafael] Rodriguez simply was afraid to return to Cuba, he was simply afraid that Fidel would not believe him. And indeed, Fidel sent [Ernesto Che] Guevara and everything fell into place. Rodriguez feared that they [the Chinese] would murder him. Of course, you know the story of the visit.

In a word, if we were to analyze this whole chain of events then we could easily say that the process of isolating China continues and so does [our further] understanding of their rowdiness, differentiation of Marxism from Trotskyism, etc.

[…]

Gomułka: Raul Castro visited us in March. I extensively argued that China would not go for such an agreement.2 [I said to them]: ask the Chinese whether they would go for making such an agreement to help Cuba. No, they would not, [I said]. They would not go for it in Vietnam either.

Brezhnev: Yes, this is a very acute and interesting problem…

[1] It is not clear from the context what 100 thousand tons Brezhnev is referring to here. It could be either cotton, nitrogenous fertilizers, or metals for metallurgical industry.

[2] Referring to the lack of agreement and coordination of military aid for North Vietnam between the Soviet Union and China.