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March 21, 1990

Working Record of a Conversation of Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki with Deputy Secretary of State L. Eagleburger

This document was made possible with support from The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars


Working record of a conversation of Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki with Deputy Secretary of State L. Eagleburger

Washington, March 21, 1990.

As a preliminary point, Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki in his speech in the parliament (Sejm) referred to the idea of the Council of the European Community. Poland sees two ways of approaching Europe. The first is the opening up to the East of existing European organizations, until now mostly by Western European ones. This opening takes place according to specific rules and requirements within a specified time frame.

However, the process of European unification requires concrete action now. I therefore have the proposal for a "second track", which we see in the context of Helsinki II. Let us not prejudge whether such a Council could be established before or could be the result of Helsinki II.

The need for such a Council is also seen in the context of the danger of European Balkanization, the rebirth of old disputes and a specific "race" toward Western Europe.

In reply, L. Eagleburger indicated that the US would consider the need for the structure proposed by Poland. He confirmed that there is the danger of Balkanization of Europe and the need to counter this phenomenon, as exemplified by the conflict between Hungary and Romania and the situation in Yugoslavia (which L. Eagleburger visited after leaving Poland).

In turn, he outlined the contexts which, from the US point of view, should be taken into account in this process. Referring to the content of the discussion with President Bush, he underlined in particular the importance that the US attaches to Germany's presence in NATO, while at the same time is reconstructing its future role. 

L. Eagleburger then said that it was necessary to find a scheme that would urgently allow Poland and other countries of Central and Eastern Europe to participate in the lives of Western European organizations.

He agreed with Prime Minister T. Mazowiecki in the context of the role of the CSCE. He then said that the US would continue its presence in Europe. “America,” he said, “has twice experienced the effects of decoupling from Europe (in the context of Germany). This error will not be repeated this time.

"What you said,” Mr. Eagleburger concluded, “is one option to consider. But at the same time, we should and must retain the existing institutions which bind the USA with Europe."

One of the 2+4 conference experts, advisor Zoellick, took the floor, indicating the need to establish a solid basis for the CSCE conference. Hence the importance of human rights meetings {Copenhagen) and the [those concerning] economy (Bonn). In these meetings, the USA counts on cooperation with Poland. In conclusion, Zoellick said: "We assume that the design you are proposing will emerge spontaneously in the preparation process for the CSCE."

L. Eagleburger added that he did not want to see the CSCE process as a substitute for the existing European security institutions. The situation in Europe has changed. But institutions that bind the US and Europe, such as NATO, are useful and will be in the future.

Prime Minister T. Mazowiecki replied: "We are not advocates of German neutrality. Thus, we recognize the role of NATO. I want to make this clear. At the same time, there is the problem, for the other side, of the presence of Soviet forces in the part of Germany where they have been present. I think that reducing the number of foreign troops in Europe to 195,000 offers prospects for a solution."

The Prime Minister then stressed the special position of Poland between the reuniting Germany and the Soviet Union that is undergoing profound changes. Therefore, without negating the role of existing organizations, a new system of collective security in Europe needs to be thought of.

From my foreign trips to date,” said the Prime Minister,” I have the impression that, generally speaking, everyone agrees with this, but hardly anyone has any idea how to tackle this. We know that this is a difficult problem - but we need to address it. I believe that it is necessary to move from the general concepts of Gorbachev's “European camp” or Mitterand's “European Confederation” to more concrete steps. We attach great importance to this. Such a council could have three committees:

- for general policy issues;

- for economic affairs;

- for defense matters, including the new collective security system.

I am not attached to either the authorship or the details - but I want the process of building such an institution begin. For in these rapid historical processes, the lack of such a process is going delay us."

The Prime Minister then said that it was impossible to ignore existing institutions in this process and expressed his willingness to consult the US on this matter.

L. Eagleburger replied: "I think I can welcome such arrangements on behalf of Secretary Baker. The US is aware that we need to adapt to a new situation in Europe. I understand that what we are talking about here is peace and security in Europe for centuries. Hence our attention to what we create and what we want to replace."

The conversation was then continued over a working lunch.



At a working lunch, Mazowiecki and Deputy Secretary of State L. Eagleburger discuss the dangers of Balkanization. Additionally, they discuss the difficulties of European unification in the current political climate. 

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