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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 16, 1961

CABLE FROM THE PARTY COMMITTEE AT THE CHINESE EMBASSY IN POLAND, 'REGARDING THE RESULTS OF DISCUSSIONS RELATED TO THE SITUATION IN POLAND OVER THE PAST SIX MONTHS'

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

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    The Chinese Embassy reviews Poland's foreign and domestic policies, and concludes that the "Polish United Workers’ Party leadership has a fairly systematic right-deviating brand of nationalism."
    "Cable from the Party Committee at the Chinese Embassy in Poland, 'Regarding the Results of Discussions related to the Situation in Poland over the Past Six Months'," August 16, 1961, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 109-02305-04, 16-18. Translated by Max Maller. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119980
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Regarding the Results of Discussions related to the Situation in Poland over the Past Six Months

To the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Liaison Department:

We have recently commenced a two-week discussion on the situation in Poland over the past six months. The present results of these discussions are announced below:

(1) Under the influence of the Moscow statements, as well as the Kennedy administration laying bare its true features, the Polish United Workers’ Party’s attitude has actively expressed itself over the past year. They have engaged in certain exposures and reprehensions of imperialism and colonialism, demonstrating their support for the people’s liberation movement. They took a rather firm stance in response to the US invasion of Cuba. On the issue of Laos, they basically adopted an identical position to that of China, the USSR and Vietnam. They continue to lay emphasis on the unity of Socialist states. However, in other respects, the Polish United Workers’ Party leadership still adheres to their original views in their interpretation of the Moscow statements. On the issue of war and peace, they continue to emphasize the horrors of war. They take great pains to romanticize war’s unpredictability. They are one-sided in their emphasis on peaceful coexistence. They continue to advocate for the “realism” of total demilitarization. They recommend using the money saved from demilitarization to “improve” the lives of people in many different countries and “help” develop backward countries; they also recommend not giving nuclear weapons to other countries, and so on. In terms of their relations with other socialist states, their own interests are the reason for their advocacy of international division of labor and specialization, and their opposition to self-sufficiency. Beneath the sway of this way of thinking, Poland has initiated a certain level of criticism against the US Empire’s aggressive preparations and invasions, but they also continue to solicit loans from the US. They neither expose nor attack the ever more rigid American conspiracy known as “peaceful evolution.” Concerning Yugoslavia, they admit on the one hand that it is a revisionist state, and they appear not to want diplomatic relations with their Party. On the other hand, they still recognize Yugoslavia as a Socialist state, suggest peaceful policies and even devote attention to their foreign relations events, continuing to struggle on their behalf. Concerning the USSR: on the one hand, they place forceful emphasis on unity; they support those words and actions of the USSR’s that conform to the Polish United Workers’ Party’s views; they depend on the USSR to protect their western border; in foreign relations matters they basically follow the USSR, relying on them economically and strengthening their friendly exchanges with them; and they pay a high degree of respect to Soviet personnel. On the other hand, they strive to preserve “equality and independence,” and they do not desire a high degree of restraint. In addition, they hope to lower the level of Soviet control over them by way of a reserved, hot and cold relationship with China and the receipt of US aid. This positive turn in their views toward the USSR ought to conflict with the USSR’s change in attitude toward America. Yet at the same time, they are concerned that an overexpansion of Soviet influence would reflect poorly on them. Therefore, they have restructured, restricted, and significantly consolidated their Soviet friendship apparatus.

(2) Domestically, the production situation over the past half-year has been quite good. Industrial production has outpaced that of the same period last year by 11.4%. Investment in capital construction has gone up 14%. Agricultural yields and the domestic market are basically stabilized. However, there are still major economic difficulties. Industrial development relies increasingly on imported raw materials and the international sales market. This year they plan to import over 2 million tons of grains. Their trade deficit over the past six months has reached 593 million złoty in foreign exchange. We have heard that they are continuing to make arrangements with the US to borrow $180 million more.  The basic cause of Poland’s economic hardship is the ever-expanding contradictions between small private farms and large Socialist industry. Under these circumstances, the basis for the national economy is the Polish United Workers’ Party leadership’s ongoing support for industry, their continuing efforts to strengthen the development of industry, and their disregard for the Socialist strategies toward agriculture. This leads to the continual sharpening of the contradictions lying beneath the prosperous, whitewashed surface layers.

Politically, it appears that the two roads aspect of class struggle has grown significantly sharper. As a result of the elections by Parliament and local people’s conferences, the prominence of the Labor Party has increased, and their position has seen consolidation. Furthermore, the democratic faction’s struggle to expand its power and fight for leadership has also developed. The Polish United Workers’ Party and government have continued their attacks against organized religion, notably by completely shutting down all religious education in schools. The Church has retaliated by using parliament as a legal platform and holding some small disturbances. Of particular seriousness is the further escalation of class separation in the villages: exploitation by rich peasants, the separation of high and low, and land dispersals, are growing more rampant. Agricultural cooperatives, once numbering 1800, had shrunk to 1600 or so by last year. Failed cooperatives are moving toward dissolution. Farmer bankruptcy and failed crops are growing more serious by the day (right now there are between 300-350,000 hectares of failed crops). There have been demands for change from within the party and among farmers; the calls for finding a new path grow louder. For now, the Polish United Workers’ Party has decided first to nationalize some provinces’ agriculture. In other provinces, the acceptance of bankrupt farmers’ lands as payment is a manifestation of the impasse faced by the new agricultural policy and the fear of collectivization.

Judging by the Polish United Workers’ Party’s present circumstances, the influence of the Party has expanded. Over the past six months, Party membership has increased by 110,000. Total Party membership has gone up from the end of last year by 10%. There are an estimated 1,270,000 members at the present time. Due to his support from the USS, Gomułka’s positioned has begun to strengthen. However, there is no unity among the various factions of leaders. Gomułka hopes to essentially rely on the USSR, and exchange his followership for the continuing support of the Soviet government and the Polish conservatives. But he does not support overly firm dependence. Instead, he wants to take advantage of Sino-Soviet and Sino-American conflicts, maneuvering amongst political enemies and benefiting from their disputes. Former Party members [Józef] Cyrankiewicz and [Adam] Rapacki are obsessed with peaceful coexistence. They argue that Poland must embrace the role of bridge between East and West, thus exhibiting the special uses of small states and strengthening their ties with Western European Democratic Socialist parties. This year, Cyrankiewicz repeatedly conferred with the Corporate Manager of the Krupp office in West Germany [Berthold] Beitz about building up relations, which is a kind of expression of their thinking. [Roman] Zambrowski is the representative for Jewish intellectuals; he is not pleased with Khrushchev’s policies toward Jews and has heavily anti-Soviet feelings. There are rumors that Zambrowski has relations with [Palmiro] Togliatti of the Italian government. These three factions all have power and mutually strive against one another, and yet they share a rightist appearance in their political thinking. Moreover, for the moment they are all inseparable, so therefore they can still maintain the appearance of unity. This is such that the conflict continues to develop between the leaders in the party and the leftists. Thanks to his newly consolidated position and the Soviets’ support, Gomułka has adopted a set of more authoritarian methods, discriminating against dissenters and continuing to force a constituency of veteran party members to either retire or leave important posts. Despite the leftists being pushed aside and losing some posts, their relations with workers and young people have expanded considerably. When the US invaded Cuba, they were the ones who organized the public protests and the fight with the American consulate.

(3) Sino-Polish relations: Due to the right-deviation of the Polish United Workers’ Party leadership, there has been deep divergence between them and the CCP. They treat our support for Leninism, our advocacy against the American empire, and our exposures against modern revisionism, with fear and dissatisfaction. Therefore, they hope to rely on and support the USSR and other fraternal states in their boycotts against the CCP. On the other hand since they have come to us for economic help, they wish to take advantage of our boycott against Soviet control of Poland, while at the same time coercing the American empire into giving them more loans. Thus they will not take too excessive of an attitude toward the CCP, so as to benefit from the two sides’ dispute. Due to these considerations, in one respect we have been treated tepidly by the Polish United Workers’ Party this past six months: they continue to restrict the influence of our Party; neither Polish United Workers’ Party bulletins nor their newspapers propagate our “Three Red Flags” and the success of our construction efforts; they do issue propaganda when we face difficulties, which they secretly distribute among the Socialist infantry; they have completed market discussions with everyone except for China. The Polish United Workers’ Party politburo cancelled the Sino-Polish friendship society’s planned 40th Independence Day celebration for China. They have essentially taken a blockade policy against our foreign policy, actions and rhetoric. They have simultaneously begun using the slur “friend of China, foe of Russia” to refer to veteran Party members who are sympathetic to the CCP, so as to increasingly push out and harass them. They monitor any contact between the left and our Party. In other respects, they still maintain a surface-level friendliness toward China. They continue to support our liberation of Taiwan, as well as our legal membership in the United Nations, and they reject the “two Chinas” conspiracy. In trade negotiations, following a lively debate, they have basically reached an agreement based on our strategy. They believe that our appearance at the Poznań Expo this year was a demonstration of our support for Poland. They have demonstrated understanding and approval for this year’s cooperative cultural program “Three Degrees of Reduction.” The Sino-Polish friendship society has organized a limited amount of propaganda for friendly events, the most prominent being the economic expo they are preparing for China, their largest in a foreign country. In addition, they will be sending politburo committee member and friendship society chairman [Stefan] Jedrychowski to lead a delegation in overseeing the commencement ceremonies. It is possible that they will use this as an opportunity to learn about our national situation and learn what is really happening with our expansion of bilateral trade. In societal terms, the right-wingers and reactionaries have begun a ludicrous anti-China movement in the last six months. They slander the CCP thus: “they have committed errors”; “the people’s commune has collapsed”; “China is starving people to death”; “the Sino-Soviet split is not finished”; “China still supports dogmatism,” etc. etc. However, the public is quite friendly toward us. While attending the Poznań Expo, the majority of people who visited our booth were laudatory and approving of Mao Zedong’s heroism, the correctness of our Party line and the success of China. In addition, they severely denounced the slanders of that slender reactionary minority.

All in all, judging from the situation this past six months, the Polish United Workers’ Party has demonstrated two-facedness in their reception toward statements from Moscow and their attitudes toward other Socialist states. The Polish United Workers’ Party leadership has a fairly systematic right-deviating brand of nationalism. Under the present international conditions, this will be hard to correct. We should base ourselves on the CCP Central Committee’s strategy of “supporting principles, supporting harmony, and working harder,” and continue to struggle for Poland to develop in a positive direction.

Party Committee of the Chinese Embassy in Poland

16 August [1961]