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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 15, 1989

MINUTES FROM A MEETING OF THE PRESIDIUM OF THE CITIZENS’ PARLIAMENTARY CLUB, 15 JULY 1989

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

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    The Citizens’ Parliamentary Club formed by Solidarity deputies in June 1989 meets to discuss preparations for the future of Poland’s political system and election of a president.
    "Minutes from a Meeting of the Presidium of the Citizens’ Parliamentary Club, 15 July 1989 ," July 15, 1989, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archives of the Bureau of Senate Information and Documentation. Translated by Jan Chowaniec for CWIHP https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117201
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Present:[1] B. Geremek, O. Krzyzanowska [2] , Z. Kuratowska [3] , J. Amroziak, A. Celinski, K. Kozlowski[4] , J. Rokita [5] , A. Stelmachowski, J. Slisz [6] , A. Balazs [7] , E. Wende [8] , J. Kuron, G. Janowski.

The agenda:

1. A report by A. Stelmachowski on his visit with Gen. Jaruzelski

2. The Club’s meeting of 10 July

3. Preparations for a meeting with Gen. Jaruzelski [9]

4. A Statute of the National Assembly and election of a president

5. Structure and composition of Commissions

6. Miscellaneous matters.

A. Stelmachowski: On Thursday, Gen. Jaruzelski paid me a visit, and later on, Minister Czyrek. The talk with Jaruzelski lasted 1 hour and 45 minutes. We raised the following:

- The question of presidency: the thing is that despite his personal unwillingness, he feels obliged to run for it. He is referring to three elements:

1. A clear stand by the body of generals, the MON [10] and the Council for National Defense.[11]

2. Some outside reactions are unmistakable: statements at the [Warsaw Pact] Political Committee at Bucharest,[12] and some wordings by President Bush.[13]

3. The position of the majority of colleagues at the Plenum. Due to these pressures he has been forced to revise his position. An obstacle—Solidarity is explicitly in favor of Kiszczak.[14] It would be good if support for Kiszczak could be revised. To meet Solidarity halfway—he is proposing a different solution than a hearing in a Sejm debate—he will appear in different Clubs with Kiszczak. Since it is rather unusual, he will ask for the formula that he comes at the invitation of the OKP.[15] And also that it should be without the presence of journalists.

- In Bucharest, Gorbachev asked Jaruzelski if it would not be proper for Walesa to come to Moscow. If we would oppose it, he would not pursue it further.

- He showed anxiety over the agricultural situation. He asked if the situation is so dire. Would a transition to the market economy improve this situation? The meeting with Czyrek headed in a similar direction. He said that the question of the presidency is becoming more and more urgent, that one must keep in mind the possibility of provocations. In this context he informed me about the death of Rev. Zych.[16] He asked about [...words missing] of the government. A great coalition is desirable. We exchanged views [... words missing] conclusions. Walesais saying in public statements that he would like to go to Moscow. Gorbachev said in Paris [...words missing] arrival is fine, but he does not want to see him come under a formula of union invitation— could Walesa come as a social leader, a Noble Prize laureate. It would be a mixed invitation by the Parliament and the Peace Council.[17]

A. Wielowieyski: Has Jacek Kuron given a report about his talk with Prof. Orzechowski?[18] The two of us [Wielowieyski and Kuron] gave him a formal invitation for Jaruzelski. He argued they had agreed that voting in other Clubs is going to be open. ZSL [19] will be voting for Jaruzelski, and so will SD.[20] However, they can obtain only a slight majority, thus there is some anxiety.

J. Slisz: According to my information, 9 SL [21] deputies will be voting for neither candidate.

A. Stelmachowski: Kozakiewicz is predicting that 25 SD deputies will be voting against.

Wende: Can we afford not to take a position?

Ziolkowski:[22] Orzechowski said he would like to meet on state matters.

J.M. Rokita: I spoke with Janowski—he cannot imagine that his party might be against it. He has 6 “rebels.”

B. Geremek: This has been a brief overview of the situation, tomorrow is the Club meeting at 10 a.m. What is the agenda?

A. Wielowieyski: The Commission matters—at least information on the work of the Extraordinary Commission. Item 2, the National Assembly:[23]

1. Statute of the National Assembly.

2. Matters relating to the election of a president.

3. A meeting with the General [Jaruzelski] at 3 p.m.

We have not received a response as to whether Walesa will be coming; the General asked for a meeting with him half an hour earlier.

How do we imagine that meeting will take place? For how long is he coming?

J. Kuron: As long as necessary, he is at our disposal. At the meeting there are going to be only parliamentary deputies and a recording clerk.

E. Wende: If absence of the press is required by the guest, we are not going to vote on this in the Club.

Z. Kuratowska: We have the right to present our position: the guest does not wish to have the press, we have invited him.

B. Geremek: If there are protests from the floor about the press, we will vote on it.

E. Wende: There may be a surprise given that the deputies will demand openness and the press.

J. Slisz: We have invited him, he just asked to have it without the press, as is the case in other Clubs, we have agreed to it.

B. Geremek: We should ask if the Club wishes to meet with the General. […]

B. Geremek: We are asking whether to invite Gen. Jaruzelski, assuming that a press conference will follow the meeting, but no journalists at the meeting. Will questions be asked from the floor, or handed over on a slip of paper and signed?

K. Kozlowski: A few questions should be prepared at the beginning.

B. Geremek: A few words of welcome should be in order. Next we expect answers from the candidate to several basic questions. We give him a chance with the first question: Stalinism, with the second one—martial law—we deprive him of such a chance. The third question relates to an agenda of democratic reforms. I would set such agenda pragmatically: 1. access to TV, 2. territorial self-government, 3. the courts, 4. on his model of the state running in the transition period. The opposition is demanding an Extraordinary Commission, which would have an insight into the workings of the government.

A. Wielowieyski: Confirmation of democratic elections after four years!

E. Wende: Should the questions from the floor not be given on a slip of paper to the chairman?

Then, it would be possible to look at them and request withdrawal. There might be a question—how many AK [Armia Krajowa- Polish “Home Army” during World War II] members has he murdered?

J. Slisz: Questions should be asked from the floor.

J. Kuron: Questions from the floor are better. Even that question about AK members can be put, provided that the form of the question is proper. This should be said clearly.

G. Janowski: What do we want to achieve by a question on the Economic Council—he is open for anything anyway.

B. Geremek: In our conversations, the words were used that this is a takeover of the government. The thing is that he is a candidate who should be engaged.

G. Janowski: Questions from the floor should be with only a brief explanation, and not some sort of historical-political reports.

A. Stelmachowski: This is the reason why I think questions should be put on paper, otherwise they will talk and talk.

G. Janowski: He has time for us, it is not an everyday opportunity, let them talk.

A. Wielowieyski: That is nonsense, it is Jaruzelski who is to talk.

J.M. Rokita: If the questions are to be on paper, then the burden of selection and ordering will rest with the Presidium.

B. Geremek: Then there will be resentment, as each type of selection will stir up suspicions.

J. Slisz: In the ZSL there were direct questions, then selection is automatic.

J.M. Rokita: When he gets questions from the floor, it gives him an opportunity to better present himself to the people asking questions.

G. Janowski: Do you want to facilitate him?

J.M. Rokita: Yes, I do this time!

J. Ziolkowski: On the agenda there are no questions about the nomenklatura. Such questions should necessarily be raised. An interaction is important—face to face. The culture of formulating questions is very important. In this circle there is great sensitivity for admonition. To depend on their responsibility!

A voice from the floor: That is too much!

B. Geremek: Should we limit [time] to 1 minute. It is enough—1 to 2 minutes.

J. Ziolkowski: We may appeal to ask factual questions.

O. Krzyzanowska: There will be a question on how he sees the role of the Party.

E. Wende: In what form will Kiszczak be there?

J. Kuron: Orzechowski said that there would be only one candidate—Jaruzelski.

Thus, can we ask him questions?

— [unidentified speaker:] Only if he would be a candidate.

J. Kuron: It’s not obvious that such a meeting is a man-to-man fight. […] Here it is not so, as 260 are besetting a single one. We absolutely need to talk about culture.

B. Geremek: There are things about which the Presidium cannot talk. I think in the first part of the meeting there will be a discussion and this problem will emerge. It has been decided that questions will be asked directly. We are not saying how long the meeting is going to last, we do not set any time limit, unless the meeting starts dragging on.

The Statute of the National Assembly and Election of the President

B. Geremek: We assume that we have to have a discussion:

- on the form of voting;

- on the statute of the National Assembly.

The National Assembly will most likely meet on Wednesday.

A. Stelmachowski: Kozakiewicz says it will certainly be on Wednesday, but it will probably be necessary to call the National Assembly on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the statute. The question is whether the voting should be open or secret. The General was inclined to recognize a secret vote, but Czyrek vehemently opposed it.

B. Geremek: Discussion on the statute—how awful. Urban [24] will exploit it, as there is a clear tendency toward deprecating parliamentary institutions. A statute of the National Assembly is going to be proposed by the Coalition, we will introduce amendments. Only a vote for or against. Then comes voting, either they accept or reject it.

J.M. Rokita: But there is going to be a polemic from the Coalition’s side.

B. Geremek: The Speaker of the Sejm doesn’t have the right to refuse to give the floor to someone. In our Club we will submit for a vote the proposed statute.

A. Celinski: The Extraordinary Commission hasn’t come to an understanding, it decided there would be a discussion on this problem; a debate or so, open—not open. It’s about to meet tomorrow and will present positions to the Clubs.

A. Stelmachowski: We give up on the debate.

O. Krzyzanowska: That question was to be taken up at the Seniors’ Convent on Monday.

Z. Kuratowska: Let’s have a discussion on the statute on Tuesday morning.

A. Stelmachowski: Or tomorrow, time permitting.

B. Geremek: Let’s vote on it tomorrow:

-secret or open

-debate or no debate.

K. Kozlowski: There must be a discussion in the Club on where a secret vote leads us, and where the open one does.

J. Kuron: Nobody will agree to a debate. If there is a debate, we will denigrate him [the President]. Are we anxious to have the President denigrated?

E. Wende: The question of behaving on the floor. Are we supposed to save Jaruzelski’s presidency?

K. Kozlowski: I would go even further, for an open vote, without debate, without leaving and without demonstration— we are serious people.

A. Wielowieyski: Should I present the numbers? They may be short 15 to 21 votes—they are “in a flap,” they are stretched to the limit. Everyone who doesn’t do anything is giving Jaruzelski half a vote.[25]

J. Kuron: We have to be aware of what the President’s case means—the peasants won’t get markets [for their goods], physicians won’t get a raise, the government stays on, we are entering into a terrible mess. Consequences of demonstrating our morality are falling upon the society.

B. Geremek: Not electing a PUWP member would settle the question of physicians. The election can be repeated. General Jaruzelski wants to be elected in the first round and probably this will happen. If it doesn’t happen, it’s not a drama. All will reflect [on the situation], and it will be repeated.

A. Balazs: The Club has decided it will not vote for Gen Jaruzelski. If Jaruzelski convinces us at that meeting, will we be voting for him?

J. Kuron: Everybody votes as he likes, consistent with the will of the electorate. That’s what has been decided.

O. Krzyzanowska: The behavior of the SD and ZSL is new. We thought that they would elect him. But right now our position begins to be decisive.

J.M. Rokita: There may be a statutory crisis if there is only one candidate, as the statute says that the candidate who gets the least [number of votes]—drops out. There has to be either a recess in the debates, or new candidates need to be submitted.

J. Kuron: That discussion will start in the National Assembly.

J. Slisz: He won’t pass the first time, he won’t pass the second time. One needs to be prepared for a new situation.

E. Wende: Can we change that provision?

B. Geremek: First we need to introduce statutory changes to avoid changing them in the process.

G. Janowski: We have to submit our own candidate.

J. Kuron: Then we would enter into a war with them.

G. Janowski: People have placed great confidence in us. At pre-election meetings they were telling me “a spanking from a parent’s hand isn’t painful.” We are handing everything over to bureaucrats’ hands. We say: we are not ready. Why not?—there is Geremek, Trzeciakowski [26] ... Let’s keep in mind that in the third voting we will have to submit our candidate.

J. Kuron: I argued in the Club in favor of taking over the government. A set-up in which [we] have the presidency but not the government would be fatal. It would mean taking responsibility for their government. For me a prerequisite of a functioning government, which sooner or later we will get, is their having the presidency. Our president is not going to have such prerogatives, he will be a figurehead. Besides, it’s a total, confrontational change.

A. Celinski: We need to close this discussion. This is not the place for it.

A. Wielowieyski: We are not going to say anything more during this discussion.

J. Slisz: And what if a candidate drops out in the third voting?

A. Wielowieyski: Then the coalition will put forward someone new, I don’t imagine that someone from our side would agree to run.

J. M. Rokita: We may talk with members at the Club on what to do in case of such a crisis.

E. Wende: The presidential crisis may be much more serious than was the case with the national electoral list. We have to be aware of it. In my heart I am with Mr. Gabriel’s voters, but we have to make decisions thinking occasionally for them

.

G. Janowski: People think better than we do.

A. Wielowieyski: We have decided that we have to inform Club members rather clearly of what may happen and how they should behave.[27]

B. Geremek: Lech Wimsa is pondering if he should meet with Jaruzelski. He wants to come for the National Assembly, but in what role? He should be in Warsaw, but probably not in the Sejm.

A. Stelmachowski: He may play his role tomorrow, but not on Wednesday.

B. Geremek: The Sejm session will probably take place on the 20 th . The question of retiring the government— will there be a debate on this? Bugaj has submitted a motion for a report—will there be a discussion then?

O. Krzyzanowska: If the government is resigning there is no reason for a debate. There will be a discussion at the Senior Convent if that decision is subjected to a vote.

B. Geremek: When a new prime minister presents his cabinet there will be an occasion to evaluate the resigning government. In other words, we are against the report and against the debate.

The Structure and Composition of the [Sejm] Commissions.

J. Ambroziak: He is reporting on their proposals, which are at variance with ours.

1. Creation of a Commission on Trade and Services.

2. Taking forestry away from the Environmental Protection [Commission] and placing it in the Commission for Agriculture.

3. Economic policy, including budget and finance.

4. Combining social policy, health and physical culture.

5. Creating a separate Commission for Economic Cooperation with Abroad (we wanted to have it in the industry).

They didn’t want minorities—they may submit it for a general debate.

A. Wielowieyski: What has been gained is progress. We need to fight for the separation of health and social policy, give up on minorities (as it will become anyway a question of German minorities—the Silesians). Housing construction has been omitted, it should be added to the Commission on Industry.

B. Geremek: There is no reason to return back to that discussion, we will defend [our position] at the plenary session. On matters of divergences there will be brief statements of our deputies. […]

125 On 23 June 1989, deputies and senators of “Solidarity” formed a Citizens’ Parliamentary Club (OKP).

[2] Olga Krzyzanowska, a physician, from 1980 an activist of NSZZ “Solidarity,” from June 1989 a deputy to the Sejm.

[3] Zofia Kuratowska, a physician, from 1980 an activist of NSZZ “Solidarity,” “Roundtable” participant, from June 1989 a senator.

[4] Krzysztof Kozlowski, deputy editor of Tygodnik Powszechny, advisor to NSZZ “Solidarity,” member of KO appointed by the Chairman of NSZZ “Solidarity,” “Roundtable” participant, from June 1989 a senator.

[5] Jan Maria Rokita, an activist of NZS and NSZZ “Solidarity,” “Roundtable” participant, from June 1989 a deputy to the Sejm.

[6] Józef Slisz, an activist of NSZZ “Solidarity” RI [Rolników Indywidualnych - individual Peasants], member of KO appointed by the Chairman of NSZZ “Solidarity,” “Roundtable” participant, from June 1989 a senator and deputy speaker of the Senate.

[7] Artur Balazs, an activist of NSZZ “Solidarity” RI, member of KO appointed by the Chairman of NSZZ “Solidarity” RI, “Roundtable” participant, from June 1989 a deputy to the Sejm, a minister without portfolio in the Mazowiecki government.

[8] Edward Wende, a lawyer, defense attorney in political trials, member of KO appointed by the Chairman of NSZZ “Solidarity,” from June 1989 a senator.

[9] Wojciech Jaruzelski met with the Citizens’ Parliamentary Club on 17 July 1989.

[10] Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej [Ministry of National Defense].

[11] Rada Obrony Narodowej [National Defense Council], a body composed of top generals.

[12] The Advisory Political Committee of the Warsaw Pact met on 7-8 July. It stated that Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski should take the position of president of Poland.

[13] President George Bush paid an official visit to Poland on 9-11 July 1989. He gave support to the candidacy of Wojciech Jaruzelski for the position of president. [14] At the beginning of July 1989, Lech Wa»“sa declared his support for the candidacy of Kiszczak for president several times.

[15] Ogblnokrajowy Komitet Porozumiewawczy.

[16] Rev. Sylwester Zych, linked with the “Solidarity” circles had been murdered by “unknown” criminals. The suspicion fell on those of the party “baton” and Security Services, who wanted to torpedo an understanding between the authorities and the opposition.

[17] Walesa’s visit to Moscow did not occur at that point.

[18] Marian Orzechowski, a Politburo member, CC PUWP secretary, from June 1989 a deputy to the Sejm and leader of the PUWP Parliamentary Club.

[19] Zjednoczone Stronnictwo Ludowe, the People’s Party.

[20] Stronnictwo Democratyczne, the Democratic Party.

[21] Stronnictwo Ludowe.

[22] Janusz Ziolkowski, a sociology professor, from 1980 an activist of NSZZ “Solidarity,” member of KO appointed by the Chairman of NSZZ “Solidarity,” “Roundtable” participant, from June 1989 a senator.

[23] National Assembly (the joint Sejm and Senate) elected the president.

[24] Jerzy Urban, the government press spokesman.

[25] By abstaining or giving an invalid vote, it reduced the majority needed to elect the president.

[26] Witold Trzeciakowski, an economist, advisor to NSZZ “Solidarity,” member of KO appointed by the Chairman of NSZZ “Solidarity,” “Roundtable” participant, minister without portfolio in the Mazowiecki government, chairman of the Economic Council.

[27] The OKP ultimately did not adopt a motion on voting discipline in the presidential election, leaving the decision up to its members. On 19 July Gen. Jaruzelski won the election by the majority of one vote. 7 OKP members deliberately turned in invalid votes, thus enabling Jaruzelski’s election.