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Brezhnev never took back: 'Esli bud'et uslozhniatsia, veid'em' [If it turns out to be necessary, we will go in) as well as the constantly repeated *my Pol’shi ne ostavim v b'ede' (We will not leave Poland in the lurch]). The gist of Suslov's answer was, “But you have always said that you can manage by yourselves.”
That was a lot, but of course, it was not everything. In Bratislava in August 1968 there were even kisses, yet, as we all know, everything ended very quickly. Therefore, we had to pay attention above all to numerous worrisome facts and signals.
leadership, but also a member of the Suslov Commission, which followed and reacted to the situation in Poland. It turns out that he knew about columns of tanks along the Polish border, while the highest Soviet commanders [claim they did not (as they also did not know about the respective preparations of the divisions of former GDR and Czechoslovakia, as confirmed by archival materials). They stick to the opinion that there would have been no intervention in any event. Moreover, according to what Marshal Kulikov said at Jachranka, there was not even any pressure put on Poland (“davleniia ne bylo”). However, other Soviet politicians and military officials talk about what really happened and quote actual facts (I will refer to some of those sources in the piece I mentioned before).
On page  Kramer also refers to a book by Vitalii Pavlov (Bylem rezydentem KGB w Polsce (1 Was a KGB Resident in Poland)). I read the Polish edition carefully. Pavlov, who understands and reads Polish, authorized the translation. (I know the person who picked up the manuscript after it had been authorized.) There is absolutely no mention there that I was desperately trying to obtain some guarantee of military intervention and that Suslov "refused." Actually, before the so-called Suslov Archive (1993) or Pavlov's book (1994) were published in Poland, I spoke (Gazeta Wyborcza, 12 December 1992) about my conversation with Suslov on the morning of 12 December 1981. I quote:
JARUZELSKI: We were always pressured by the external factor, but I never put it forward (as the main thing). An examination of conscience must always begin with oneself. Only the people who gave up power are being judged today, but it is the authorities as well as the opposition who should be pouring ash on their heads. With the international situation becoming ignited, our Polish brawl meant playing with fire. Our conversations with the representatives of the Kremlin were often a way for them to check the effectiveness of their pressure and, for us a way to check their inclinations for intervention. In a way, it was mutual testing, a mutual game. We kept getting the impression that they were keeping some cards hidden.
(Jaruzelski met on 12 December 1981 at 9 am with Generals Czeslaw Kiszczak, Florian Siwicki, and Michal Janiszewski.)
JARUZELSKI: In my office we assessed the situation. It had reached the brink. We knew that if the Gdansk debate [brought] no glimmer of hope then we (would) have to choose the lesser evil. Siwicki, who was still under the depressing impression of talks in Moscow on December 4, asked, “And what is the guarantee that even if we go ahead they are not going to come in?" With the generals present I tried to call Brezhnev. Mikhail Suslov came on the phone. He wasn't very easy to communicate with; he must have already been very sick. I asked whether it would be our internal affair if we imposed martial law. He said, “Yes.” “And if the situation becomes more complicated?” I asked (I remembered the words
In relation to the above, it is worth quoting a passage from the book by Pavlov, which for some strange reason was omitted by Mr. Kramer. When writing about my phone conversation with Suslov, Pavlov claims that Suslov “confirmed then that the Soviet Union will not directly interfere in Polish affairs and will under no circumstance send troops to Poland, which, it seemed, put Jaruzelski at ease.” In saying that it “put me at ease,” Pavlov admits that there were indeed reasons to feel uneasy.
On page  Kramer writes with reference to the same book by Pavlov, that Andropov sent the same message to Kiszczak (i.e. that the direct military aid from the USSR is out of the question). Mr. Kramer must not have read the book carefully. There is no mention there of “sending a message.” However, there is a description of a visit to
a Moscow in September 1981 by Gen. Kiszczak, the newly nominated Minister of Internal Affairs. During that visit, Andropov allegedly informed him of the above. Gen. Kiszczak denies this categorically. I believe him, but the facts are most important. First, after his return from Moscow, Kiszczak did not pass any message of such great importance to me or to Kania. Second, Pavlov claims that he was present during the conversation between Andropov and Kiszczak. However, although he met with Kania often (he had had close relations with him for a long time, since Kania for many years was a Secretary of the Central Committee responsible for the issues of the Ministry of Internal Affairs), and met with me several times, he never mentioned a word about that matter. And the scale of the matter was such that it required asking our opinion about what Andropov (allegedly) said to Kiszczak. He [Pavlov] never brought up this topic, which he himself in fact confirms by not mentioning it in his book.
On page  Mr. Kramer also makes an odd statement that in “[mid-September] 1981, [...] Poland's Homeland Defense Committee [...] reached a final decision at Jaruzelski's behest to proceed with martial law.” The documents are all there to see (they were discussed and assessed in great detail during the meetings of the Commission for Constitutional Oversight, and there are minutes of those meetings), showing that materials concerning martial law were already being prepared in the mid-sixties. The practical verification of some solutions was conducted during a large-scale military exercise under the code name of “Kraj-73” (“Country-73”). The
intensification and concretization of work took place in the conference, makes such a generalization. He probably fall of 1980, when a special task-group led by then
heard me quote from an East German document (acquired premier, Jozef Pinkowski, was formed. Later, there were by the (Sejm] Commission for Constitutional Oversight) further developments in the following stages. For
that records a conversation between Honecker and example, on 27 March 1981, S. Kania and I signed a Rusakov which took place 21 October 1981. (I was elected document called “The Fundamental Idea of Martial Law.” First Secretary of the Central Committee of the PUWP on There is also a protocol of the meeting of the National October 18). Rusakov informed Honecker that I had all Defense Committee from 13 September 1981 (the last kinds of doubts and did not want to accept the position. meeting before martial law was imposed). One can read Soviet suggestions turned out to be ineffective. I agreed what Kania said and what I said. Typically, whenever I only as a result of the insistence of Polish comrades. Prof. referred there to the “imposition of martial law" (four Jerzy Holzer has confirmed this, adding that it was the times), I always preceded it with the word "potential” "good" Polish comrades who mattered. I also said that it [ewentualne). Moreover, when the protocol summarizes was Kazimierz Barcikowski, always fought against by the my statement, it says that "he pointed out the particular conservative forces in the party and by the allies at the importance and necessity of solving internal problems by time, who recommended me for that function. It is ourselves, with the political and economic support from interesting that when referring to a statement made by neighboring socialist countries.” So where does
Andropov at the previously mentioned CPSU Politburo “Jaruzelski's demand” come from? Is the image (of a meeting on 29 October 1981, Mr. Kramer does not notice decision) personified exclusively in myself necessary, and that it was at that time that Andropov said, “Barcikowski if so, then to whom? I speak of this not to avoid
and Kubiak are big obstacles in the Politburo." Finally, responsibility. I have always openly declared that I accept does the word "auspices" not sound offensive with respect the responsibility. But I do think that a historian should to the CC PUWP members of the time? It is true that four have more finesse in forming ad hominem attacks.
of them were against my candidacy, but 179 supported me Moreover, on page , there is additional confusion. It in a secret ballot. Were they all “agents of the Kremlin”?
a is said that our own forces may not be enough to impose On page  Mark Kramer also informs us that during martial law “and that the support of allied forces would the above-mentioned October 29 meeting of the CPSU therefore be needed.” Then follows a statement that does Politburo, Andropov said, "the Polish leaders are talking not accord well with the previous one: "Jaruzelski and about military assistance from the fraternal countries." But Stanislaw Kania ... both realized that direct intervention which leaders? It is a fact known from former Soviet, East by (troops from) other socialist countries' would ‘set back German, and Czechoslovak documents that there were the development of socialism by decades' and 'would be people in the leadership of the party who held very exploited by the imperialist forces.”” Therefore they were different views and who enjoyed a very different degree of extremely diffident as they prepared to implement the trust from the allies at the time. During that meeting KOK's decision.” Such hesitation resulted in a stern Brezhnev also made the following statement: “I don't public letter from the Soviet leadership on September 17, believe that Com. Jaruzelski will do anything constructive. which urged that decisive measures be taken immediately I think he is not bold enough.” But Mr. Kramer does not to ‘prevent the imminent loss of socialism in Poland.”” notice any of that. Following the words "Polish leaders," Again, if we are to talk about strict historical accuracy, the just a few lines below he deduces that it was Jaruzelski who letter was from the CPSU Central Committee and the
"was requesting military intervention from the Soviet government of the USSR to the PUWP Central Committee Union.” It seems that there is a great need to put me and the government of Poland, and concerned mainly the in the worst possible light. But it should have been anti-Soviet campaign in Poland. On what grounds is the done in a less obvious way. On what grounds does the claim about the National Defense Committee's statement plural “Polish leaders” immediately change into the made? On September 13, the Committee made no decisions name “Jaruzelski?”' about martial law (there is a protocol). However, the whole On page  we find the following quotation from process of preparations for this eventuality with all the Andropov's statement of December 10: "Jaruzelski has hesitations lasted, as I said before, from at least the fall of made the implementation of martial law contingent on our 1980 until 12 December 1981. And finally, how is one to willingness to offer ... military assistance." I must here understand that Jaruzelski thought at the time that an confirm a very unpleasant, even ugly thing. That intervention would "set back the development of socialism quotation has been made up. The actual statement went by decades," and three months later "he desperately hoped exactly as follows: “Jaruzelski states economic demands for it.” What brought on this change? Particularly since strongly and makes our economic aid a condition for the prognosis for successful imposition of martial law was conducting Operation X; I would even go further to say much better in December than in September.
that he brings up, but not directly, the question of military On page  Mark Kramer also claims that Jaruzelski aid." Andropov does not refer to any conversation with replaced Kania “under Soviet auspices." I regret that me. The only Pole he mentions as somebody he talked to Mr. Kramer, who after all participated in the Jachranka is Miroslaw Milewski. What he says conflicts with what
Anoshkin's “notebook” says about Milewski. There we It is a pity that when quoting different voices from the find no “but,” no “not directly,” but simply: "Can we Soviet Politburo meeting of December 10, Mr. Kramer omits count on military aid put before economic aid[?]” And as such statements as the following by Rusakov: “Jaruzelski far as the “not directly” is concerned, Gen. Siwicki has is leading us by the nose” (Russian: "Vodit nas za nos."); written about it long ago in the above mentioned article in or by Suslov: "Jaruzelski is showing a certain cunning. Polska Zbrojna.
Through his requests to the Soviet Union he wants to On page  of the article, we find (one) evident lie. create an alibi for himself. Of course, it is perfectly obvious I do not want to suspect that Mr. Kramer wrote [it] on that we are not able to actually fulfill those requests, and purpose. But on what grounds does he claim that I talked Jaruzelski will later say “but I addressed the Soviet Union, to Andropov and Rusakov through a secure phone?” [...] asked for help, and they did not give me any.' At the same
a “? Above all else, I want to state categorically that I
time, the Poles are clearly stating that they are against conducted no conversations by telephone, much less by bringing the troops in. If the army enters Poland, it will be any other means, with the above-mentioned persons. If a catastrophe.” There were many other shocking someone wishes to disbelieve me, let him at least admit statements made there, some of them reminding one of a that there are no documents, declarations, or statements surrealistic spectacle. But all this does not fit” the picture, from which it could be deduced that I indeed had such a picture in which a de facto accusatory statement against conversations. Gen. Siwicki also firmly states that this me is being concluded. is the first time he has heard of a conversation with
On page  a General Staff document dated 23 Andropov. If there are references to my alleged
November 1981 is quoted. In the document we read: opinions and assessments stated during the meeting “additional arrangements have been implemented to of December 10, there is no indication where they came ensure that the transport of our own troops and allied from. The only reference to a direct conversation with me troops [...] can be carried out.” On that basis, Mr. can be found in the above-mentioned report of Baibakov. Kramer claims that it “certainly is compatible with the However, Brezhnev, who of course talked to me on the notion that the Polish leaders would seek external military phone on December 7, does not say anything about assistance.” On the contrary, it is an argument to the that conversation, and certainly not that I asked for
advantage of the so-called authors of martial law. I must military aid.
explain some obvious things here, unfortunately. Anyone
Marshal Viktor Kulikov and General Wojciech Jaruzelski at the Jachranka Conference (November 1997). Photo
who lived in Poland at that time remembers the fears that when he wrote his article he did not know many of the any little damage to the interest of the Warsaw Pact might circumstances, facts, and arguments I have presented here. become a pretext for intervention. Possible difficulties in
I understand that Mr. Kramer's article is based military transport would, after all, be a classic violation of exclusively on words written then as well as years later. the rules according to which the strategic infrastructure of But this is only a partial base. I do not deny the necessity the bloc functioned. This is what was constantly on our and importance of his research. But to make the picture minds. Let the fact that I stated, publicly in the Sejm as objective, one needs to look also at evident facts, well as during a Central Committee plenary meeting, that phenomena, and symptoms from the time in question. the Polish Army takes responsibility for the smooth
Many of them have been presented by many witnesses functioning of this transportation infrastructure attest to who testified before the Commission of Constitutional how important and sensitive this point was. Imputing that Oversight under the rules of the Penal Code. I did not a concern that this transportation should function
notice even a trace of those testimonies in Mr. Kramer's smoothly (especially under the conditions of martial law) article. But the most important thing is to avoid a situation meant looking for help from the outside is not only absurd, of “if the facts indicate something different, then too bad but politically and strategically infantile.
for the facts." On pages [7-8] is another example of how Mr. Kramer Therefore, counting on the support of Prof. Andrzej is being led up a “blind alley." He is, as far as I am aware, a Paczkowski, an outstanding specialist in contemporary historian by profession and therefore I assume that he will history, I would like to ask Mr. Kramer to reevaluate the read the addendum I have enclosed in the proper spirit. It text of the inaugural brochure, the main substance of will become clear to him from it how thin the different which is to be Anoshkin's "working notebook.” Gen. arguments are of people wishing at any cost to accuse the Siwicki, myself, and other people have a number of so-called authors of martial law, if they are reduced to using important comments about it, which we will present at a such "evidence."
later point. I am ready for conversations which will lead On page  Mr. Kramer also suggests that Gen. to better mutual understanding, will confront and verify Siwicki and I attempt to make secret Polish documents views, and above all, which will bring us closer to the very public. There are already many documents (particularly complex truth. protocols from the PUWP Politburo meetings, different
To conclude: We are facing a paradoxical situation. materials from other institutions and bodies) that have Many people who for years were sworn enemies of the been made public in different ways, but Mr. Kramer is USSR, who suspected its leaders and officials of all kinds clearly not interested in them. On the other hand, it is true of wrongdoing, including lies and falsities- I am not that there is no access to many documents, particularly talking of Mr. Kramer, of course, since I don't know his those of the Ministry of National Defense. Perhaps Prof.
S-are suddenly turning into defenders of the USSR. Andrzej Paczkowski did not have time to inform Mr. Kramer Everything that comes from that country is true and that several times I addressed the organizers of the
constitutes evidence. But what is puzzling is that this Jachranka conference and asked for access to be made (tendency) seems exclusively to concern things that make possible in Polish institutions. I even wrote statements it possible to condemn and accuse the Polish People's which were intended to help in those efforts.
Republic, including the so-called authors of martial law. I Unfortunately, in many cases these efforts ended
always have said and to this day keep saying openly that unsuccessfully it is true that I did not at the time foresee the Soviet Union was our ally within the “sick” reality of the possibility that after the conclusion of such an
those years and with all the heavy load of limited important international conference some kind of "work sovereignty. To the Soviet Union we owe what is actually notebook” would be "pulled out of a pocket" and become a the most advantageous configuration of Polish territory in “decisive" source for Mr. Kramer).
history (although I admit that such a configuration suited However very distasteful—to use just such a term-is Soviet interests). For many years, the Soviet Union was this statement about our notes (Gen. Siwicki's and
the sole guarantor of that territory. I respect and like the mine)“assuming they still exist and have not been Russians. I think that the relations between our countries tampered with.” So only Polish generals would falsify which are now equal should be good and mutually things, while Soviet notes are above any suspicion? I advantageous. Also, when I look back at those years I try would like to ask here whether we really can treat them to keep a rational distance, since as a politician and a [i.e., the Anoshkin notes) as reliable "evidence" (Mr. general I know the ruthless logic of that divided world. I Kramer calls it “decisive") for describing events of great used to say that if I had been a Soviet marshal or general I political, historical, and moral importance? At the same would have perceived Poland as a territory endangering time, considering the threats and announcements coming the bloc, with all the consequences of that for us, of even from the highest offices and leading political circles, course. We were fully aware of that situation, which was should one treat the suggestions of an American historian assessed similarly in the American documents disclosed at as a welcome gesture in this campaign? I trust that this Jachranka. All this required from us, the Polish was not Mr. Kramer's intention. All the more so, since authorities, the appropriate measures and countermeasures.
The supposition that Poland was interested in socalled “fraternal aid” is disgraceful and absurd. People included in the Preliminary Summons, the witnesses, and some historians have explained this in detail. However, some members of the Commission (Parliament member Jacek Taylor in particular) during the Commission's deliberations referred to a “document" from the MSW (Ministry of Internal Affairs) files which can presently be found in the Sejm archives (file 228/1B). The document is called An Assessment of the Current Situation in the Country on 25 November 1981." The following passage can be found in appendix No. 2 to that Assessment of the Situation:
Proposals for Solutions, dated 5 December 1981. There is not even one word concerning any kind of “aid” there. However, unlike the earlier document of November 25, there are many hand-written comments and corrections of Czeslaw Kiszczak, who was at the time the Minister of Internal Affairs. And although that document has not been signed or distributed either, the very fact that the Minister made many annotations on it makes it more trustworthy. But in spite of that it remains unmentioned.
It is necessary to add here that although the Commission had access to an enormous amount of different material and documents, no traces of expectations or requests for this so-called “military aid" have been found. On the contrary, the claim that we need to solve our Polish problems on our own appears repeatedly in many secret as well as public statements made by the representatives of the PPR government at the time. Therefore, using the said “Assessment of the Situation" of 25 November 1981 as an argument is evident manipulation. Perhaps it was hoped that nobody would be inclined to go through the pile of files where less important, loose materials were kept.
The selective character of omissions described above can be further illustrated by the following fact. Solidarity activists have been claiming that all kinds of anti-Soviet excesses, such as the desecration of monuments and graves of soldiers were provocations organized by the State Security. But surprisingly enough, in the Assessment of the Situation of November 25 (appendix no. 1), is the information that from the Fourth Plenum of the Central Committee (18 October 1981) until the time the said Assessment was written, 26 criminal investigations concerning the above mentioned acts were started. At that time eighteen people had been found who had vandalized monuments in Jedrzejow and one person who had desecrated the graves of Soviet soldiers in Gryfin. Remembering these facts is not convenient now. Nor is remembering (in accordance with the described Assessment) that on November 25, eleven public buildings were under occupation, and a note made of plans to occupy another fourteen.
Implementation of martial law may result in the following developments:
Scenario 1: Political organizations submit to the requirements of martial law. At the same time, there is a possibility of small-scale strikes and limited hostile propaganda.
Scenario 2: Massive strikes are organized in some parts of the country without workers leaving the workplace.
Scenario 3: A general occupation strike, with workplaces taken over; some workers go out in the streets; there are street demonstrations and attacks occur on buildings housing party offices and state administration, on police stations, etc. Strong intervention of police and armed forces takes place. Aid from Warsaw Pact troops is not out of the question.
[Translated from Polish by Anna Zielinska-Elliott and Jan Chowaniec.)
Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski served as prime minister of Polish People's Republic from 1981-1985.
People who attempt to use this (document) as evidence against those included in the Preliminary Summons are misusing it. The reasons I say this are as follows. First, (the document was) in a file in which only loose, preliminary materials can be found. Secondly, the said Assessment of the Current Situation is really only a draft, without any filing number, without any annotations, and was not signed by anybody or distributed anywhere. There is also another telling factor, one that remains conveniently not mentioned, which proves the ill will of the people who insist on the basis of such material the contention that Poland allegedly expected so-called “aid.” This is the fact that in the same file—about which there was no mention—there is another, later document, called An Assessment of the Current Situation in the Country and
| Editor's note: For the Jachranka conference, see Malcolm Byrne's introduction to this Bulletin section and Ray Garthoff's report in CWIHP Bulletin 10 (March 1997), pp. 229-232
2 Editor's note: The conference organizers are planning to publish the Jachranka proceedings; transcription of the audio tapes of the conference is in progress.
3 Editor's note: On this document, see also the article by Pawel Machcewicz in this Bulletin.
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