February 18, 1972
Polish Interior Ministry Note on Joint Meeting with PUWP CC on Actions against 'Centers of Subversion'
Warsaw, February 18, 1972
[Ministry of Internal Affairs]
On November 16, 1972, at a joint meeting of the PUWP [Polish United Workers’ Party] Central Committee Politburo and the Government Presidium, the Ministry of Internal Affairs introduced for approval a statement on the “state of order in the country, with special attention to industrial plant security and social discipline.”
During the discussion the Politburo and the government Presidium evaluated the work of the internal affairs department as good and recommended the following:
1. Uncovering and eliminating leaks about economic, personnel, and political problems and taking vigorous action to stop the resulting rumors (so-called “whispering propaganda”) that are becoming a tool in the political propaganda against the state and Party leadership.
2. Taking more aggressive and effective action against external centers of subversion, especially RFE, by
a. Intensifying intelligence operations to identify personnel, plans, and intentions, links with the country, and so forth
b. Preventing and eliminating the influence of these centers on social groups and circles
3. Systematically keeping surveillance on the activities of the Roman Catholic clergy and opposition groups. Undertaking vigorous actions to limit the enemy’s influence, especially uncovering individuals who inspire such activities.
4. Using the special capabilities of the internal affairs department to conduct public opinion research, especially on reactions to decisions by the Party and state leadership.
Session of the Leadership [of Ministry of Internal Affairs]
November 17, 1972
Absent, Comrade Słabczyk (at a health resort)
Invited, Comrade Morawski
Minister’s report on the Politburo meeting on November 16, 1972.
In general, there were no questions from Politburo members about the information presented, except from Comrade Jabłoński, who asked that the most threatened areas be pointed out. […]
Comrade Gierek [concluded]: This material [from the Ministry of Internal Affairs] shows that the situation continues to be poor. Although crime rates have fallen, things still look very bad. This information is of limited utility. It presents facts but does not reveal their origin, and does not suggest any conclusions. One must identify the gossipers, firmly condemn and punish them, remove them from their positions. One can’t just talk about rumors, one must decisively combat them. […]
More offensive and effective actions should be taken against the centers of subversion, especially RFE, and all other opposition.
Offensive actions are necessary to make people understand that when we give them something it’s not because we are weak or feel threatened.
Giving something to society requires increased social discipline.
[Responsible for] dealing with specific problems:
– combating RFE (Comrade Milewski)
– operational work (Comrade Piętek)
– doing away with sponging (Comrade Stachura)
– fighting rumors by uncovering gossipers (Comrade Piętek)
The Minister [of Internal Affairs] will handle information to be presented at the Ministers’ Council Meeting. We need to review certain topics quarterly; criminal matters should be dealt with first.
These two Interior Ministry documents indicate Edvard Gierek’s concern with uncensored information (“rumors” and “gossip”) challenging his policies, and his focus on RFE as a key instrument of “Western subversion.”
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