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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 19, 1989

SOVIET AMBASSADOR TO ROMANIA E. M. TYAZHEL'NIKOV, RECORD OF A CONVERSATION WITH N. CEAUşESCU AND MESSAGE FOR GORBACHEV

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    Ambassador Tyazhel'nikov relays a message for Gorbachev from Ceauşescu in which he expresses concern about events in Poland and Tadeusz Mazowiecki's appointment as Prime Minister. Ceauşescu argued strongly that the socialist states "must decisively come forth in a united front in order to prevent the formation of a Solidarity-led government in Poland."
    "Soviet Ambassador to Romania E. M. Tyazhel'nikov, Record of a Conversation with N. Ceauşescu and Message for Gorbachev," August 19, 1989, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Rossiiskii Gosudarstvennyi Arkhiv Noveishei Istorii (RGANI), Fond 5, Opis’ 102, Delo 80, Listy 107-110. Obtained and translated for CWIHP by Mark Kramer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121614
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Embassy of the USSR in Romania

Bucharest

Secret

19 August 1989

Outgoing no. 566

From the log of E. M. Tyazhel’nikov

Record of a Conversation

with N. Ceauşescu

19 August 1989

On 19 August at 11:00 PM I was invited by N. Ceauşescu to come to his cottage outside the city, at Snagov.

Being extremely agitated, he requested in the presence of Romanian foreign minister [Ioan] Totu that the Soviet ambassador immediately transmit the following to the Soviet leadership, and personally to M. S. Gorbachev:

For a long while the leadership of the R[omanian] C[ommunist] P[arty] and Socialist Republic of Romania has, with great alarm, been closely monitoring the processes under way in Poland.  We learned with deep regret today that [Czesław] Kiszczak’s resignation has been accepted and that formation of the next government in Poland has been assigned to one of the leaders of Solidarity, the editor of its newspaper, Tadeusz Mazowiecki.

Thus, the realization of Wałęsa’s idea has fully become a reality — a government in Poland without the Communists.  A government under Solidarity — this, undoubtedly, means the PZPR’s abandonment of its leading role in Poland, a step that will be an onerous blow to the foundations of socialism in Poland and to the socialist community and the whole word of socialism.  This is an immense victory for the forces of reaction and imperialism.

At this moment of severe tribulation for the fate of socialism, the RCP, the fraternal parties of allied states, and all socialist countries cannot remain mere observers on the sidelines.  What is happening in Poland is not just an internal matter for the Poles.

First of all, this concerns all socialist countries and the world Communist and workers’ movement, that is, it represents a mortal danger to the entire cause of socialism.

Second of all, this is a clear case of subversion of the Warsaw Pact from within, insofar as Poland is a member of the Warsaw Pact and is the repository of its founding documents.

The PZPR’s abandonment of its leading role and the formation of a government in Poland led by Solidarity are incompatible with membership in the Warsaw Pact.  This deals a savage blow to the Warsaw Pact and plays into the hands of the USA and NATO.

The RCP and the leadership of Romania not only express the utmost alarm but also believe that the fraternal parties of allied states and all socialist countries must decisively come forth in a united front in order to prevent the formation of a Solidarity-led government in Poland.

The leadership of the RCP and Socialist Romania believes that the next government of Poland must be formed by a representative of the PZPR.  We believe that he, together with trade unions consisting of more than 7 million people and workers under its leadership, and also with the army might form a government of national salvation.

This is why we are appealing to the CPSU CC Politburo and to the leadership of the USSR and to M. S. Gorbachev personally and express the firmest certainty that the CPSU and the USSR will take the most urgent measures possible to prevent the removal of the PZPR from power and the destruction of socialism in Poland.

We base this view on the fact that the USSR bears enormous internationalist responsibility for the fate of socialism, including in Poland.  We also take account of the fact that the USSR, in accordance with official agreements that conform to international law, has its troops deployed in Poland.

Taking account of the extraordinary danger that is looming over Poland and threatening the Warsaw Pact and the entire cause of world socialism, the RCP General Secretary and President of Socialist Romania is ready to fly to Moscow or any other place on 20 August to meet with the CPSU General Secretary and Chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet, M. S. Gorbachev, to discuss the problems that have arisen in connection with Poland.

In setting a time, we request you bear in mind that a celebratory meeting will be taking place in Bucharest on 21 August to mark the 45th anniversary of the August Revolution, a meeting in which the RCP General Secretary must take part.

In the worst case if a meeting on 20-21 August at the highest level does not prove feasible, the Romanian side proposes to hold discussions among other RCP and CPSU leaders on the most burning issues.  However we should again emphasize that the RCP is in favor of a meeting at the highest level of the leaders of the USSR and Socialist Romania.

The RCP decided today to appeal to the leaders of the PZPR in order to convey to them our growing dismay and to lay out our vision for how to resolve the most complex problems afflicting Poland.

This very evening we will appeal to all the leaders of the Warsaw Pact states — and the leaders of all socialist countries — with an urgent plea to take vigorous joint measures to prevent the “death of socialism” in Poland and to prevent world socialism from being undermined.

The RCP-SRR leadership is convinced that socialist Poland can still be saved.  Doing so will be both feasible and essential to prevent international imperialism from dealing the most severe blow to the cause of socialism.

We believe that after the formation of the next government in Poland (by the PZPR, the Central Trade Unions, and the army) the allied states and all socialist countries must provide massive economic and financial assistance to Poland in order to overcome its profound crisis.

In conclusion, N. Ceauşescu expressed the hope that the CPSU-USSR leadership will promptly and attentively consider his appeal and that M. S. Gorbachev will find the opportunity to meet with him on 20 August.

Again, as on several occasions during the conversation, the CPSU General Secretary repeatedly said that “history will not forgive” the fraternal parties of allied states if the PZPR is wrenched from power and if socialism is destroyed in Poland.

N. Ceauşescu further noted that the invitation to the Soviet ambassador to come at such a late hour was spurred by the “extremely grave” circumstances and the “extraordinary alarm” of the RCP-SRR leadership at the “catastrophic deterioration” of the situation in Poland.  This abrupt appeal to the CPSU CC Politburo and the effort to arrange an immediate meeting with M. S. Gorbachev have, he repeatedly emphasized, been dictated by his conviction that the CPSU and the Soviet leadership will take extremely urgent measures and will assist the President of Poland, W. Jaruzelski, and the PZPR CC with the aim of preserving the gains of the Polish people, confirming Poland’s socialist choice, and restoring faith in the Warsaw Pact.

USSR Ambassador in Socialist Romania

E. Tyazhel’nikov

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