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“The Assistance Of Warsaw Pact Forces Is Not Ruled Out":
By Pawel Machcewicz
different. Many Soviet documents, including the diary of General Victor Anoshkin's (Marshal Kulivov's personal adjutant) presented at the recent Jachranka conference, describe several occasions on which Jaruzelski or his aides insisted on obtaining guarantees of "fraternal" help in case the imposition of the martial law encountered excessive difficulties. As Jaruzelski and others, however, point out, the Russian archives have thus far released only selected minutes of the CPSU Politburo meetings. All of them suggest that the Soviet leadership rejected the idea of intervening militarily in Poland. But what about the minutes of other Politburo meetings? Do they mention other options? Without free access to the Russian documentation, the discussion on the Polish crisis will remain inconclusive. It heightens the significance of Polish documents, among them "Supplement No. 2," which reveal the planning for and the mechanisms of martial law.
SECRET, FOR SPECIAL USE
he document published below can be
regarded as one of the key Polish sources, T so far declassified, regarding the preparations for martial law in Poland in 1981. The document was released (upon appeal by the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences) by the Ministry of Interior in connection with the international conference, “Poland 1980-1981: Internal Crisis, International Dimensions” which took place in Jachranka (outside Warsaw) in November 1997. The “Supplement No. 2" was prepared as an attachment to the document “Assessment of the present situation in the country as of 25 November 1981" ("Ocena aktualnej sytuacji w kraju wg. stanu na dzien 25 listopada br.")
“Supplement No. 2" (original title “Zalacznik nr 2: Zamierzenia Resortu Spraw Wewnetrznych”) is not signed, but both its content and classification (“Secret, For Special Use. Single Copy"), suggest that it is a top-level document, presumably prepared in the highest ranks of the Polish government or Communist Party. "The Supplement” considers various possible developments of the political situation and the alternative strategies to suppress the "Solidarity” movement. The special legislative act on extraordinary measures, mentioned in the first paragraph, was never passed in the parliament, and the only option which was implemented was martial law. The repressive strategy which prevailed was Option 2 of the “Supplement"—the mass-scale internments of Solidarity and opposition activists.
However, the most revealing part of the "Supplement" is its last paragraph. Option (Contingency) No. 3 predicts that in case of massive and violent resistance to the imposition of martial law, "assistance of Warsaw Pact forces is not ruled out.” The importance of this statement consists in the fact that it is the only Polish document thus far declassified which explicitly mentions potential Soviet military help as part of the martial law planning. It seems to contradict the basic argument, upheld by Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski and his supporters, that the decision to introduce martial law was exclusively Polish and that its ultimate goal was to keep the Soviets away from Poland. This idea—specifically that the operation started on 13 December 1981 was aimed at saving the nation from Soviet intervention, which would inevitably lead to the bloodshed—was the core of the martial law propaganda (obviously, given the circumstances, it used subtle but perfectly understandable language). To present day it remains the main line of Jaruzelski's political struggle to defend his
past actions. There is abundant evidence, coming mostly from the Russian side, suggesting that the real situation was quite
SUPPLEMENT NO.2 PLANNED ACTIVITY OF THE INTERIOR MINISTRY
1. Taking into account the current course of events in the country as well as the need to discipline society and reinforce the execution of power, it is necessary to introduce a legislative act (without an introduction of the martial law) on extraordinary means of action. The latter act foresees, among others: - heightened responsibility for the public goods which one is in charge of, including a prohibition on using factory goods for purposes not associated with the duties which are carried out; - extension of the rights of the managers of workplaces to give orders to their employees including ones exceeding their area of responsibility; - attaching conditions to the rights of strike action such as the requirement of an earlier exhaustion of compromise ways of settling arguments, pursuing secret ballots, receiving approval from a higher trade union organ; - complete prohibition of the right to strike action in certain units of the national economy and institutions as well as authorization of the Council of State to introduce a prohibition of strike and protest action for a predetermined period in part or in the whole territory of the state; - limitation of the right to hold public meetings (also those of trade unions). Legal use of the means of direct
implementing this operation are being considered:
Option 1 - internment of particularly dangerous persons in the main centres of the opposition such as Warsaw, Katowice, Szczecin, Wrocław, Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk;
enforcement is provided for in order to dissolve public meetings. The latter means can be used in the case of illegal taking over of a building (apartment); - introduction of the curfew, a ban on artistic, entertainment and sports events as well as on public collections (except carried out by the Church), suspension of the activity of selected associations as well as limitation of the post, telecommunications, personal and cargo traffic with foreign countries; - stepping up of censorship of selected publications and a ban on leaflet-poster type propaganda; - authorization of the voievodes to turn to the military for assistance in certain situations of danger to public order; - transfer of cases concerning certain violations of law into the domain of military prosecutors and courts.
Passing the above legislation as well as its implementation will allow the government of the Polish People's Republic as well as the organs of state administration and the units of the public economy to take special actions aiming at strengthening the national economy, preventing anarchy and hindering the activity of counterrevolutionary forces. They will also lead to an increase of social discipline and public order—as conditions necessary for eliminating the consequences of the crisis which threatens the normal functioning of the state and the vital needs of the people.
The legislative act will create conditions for the gradual (selective) introduction of bans and orders (limitations of citizen freedoms and placement of obligations) in part or on the whole territory of the country depending on the development of the situation. Authorization to introduce certain degrees of limitations will also be given to the territorial organs of the authorities and the state administration (voievodes and mayors of voievodeship cities).
The passage of the act and its subsequent introduction will undoubtedly cause various social repercussions—both positive and negative ones. It will certainly strengthen the morale and attitudes of the party members and all advocates of the socialist system so as to participate in the defense of the state. On the other hand, it will stimulate greater activity of the extremist and anti-socialist elements in the direction of destructive actions, for example the calling of a general strike and other things.
Option 2 - simultaneous internment of all specified persons in the whole country. Internment would cover 1,500-4,500 persons. The feasibility of this operation will be determined by the course of events.
The most effective factor to ensure the successful conclusion of the operation would be if it came as a complete surprise to the opponent. It is only possible if the operation were to be carried out sufficiently in advance of the introduction of the martial law.
The operation can also be carried out as a response to the specific activity of the opponent, although its impact would be limited.
It is assumed that the internment operation would be accompanied by an inclusion of the public use of telecommunications and preventive warning conversations with less sinister persons as well as the taking of initiative in the branches of "Solidarity" by people with moderate views (replacement structures—work is in progress on this question). b) the remaining important endeavors are: - introduction of censorship of postal and telecommunication correspondence as well as control of telephone conversations, especially in the public network; - introduction of limitations in the cross-border traffic, changes in place of residence, the activity of selected associations, the freedom of movement and activity of personnel of diplomatic missions of capitalist countries, correspondents from capitalist countries; making it impossible for Polish citizens to enter diplomatic missions of the capitalist countries; - withholding of armed weapons as well as radio broadcasting and broadcast-receiving equipment from certain citizens; - extension of protection over 441 sites of the national economy by the Polish armed forces and protection over 891 sites mainly of the food-supply sector by the Citizen Militia (MO); - protection and defense of the sites of the central authorities by the Interior Ministry and the Defense Ministry forces; - mobilization of the maneuver units of the Citizen Militia (MO), countryside outposts of the MO, WOP and NJW MSW—it has been planned to draft about 46,000 reserves; - engaging in actions some selected ORMO members, including combined sub-units.
Some of the aforementioned endeavors will be carried out with the participation of the armed forces. Those questions are agreed upon with the Ministry of Defense and an action concept has been jointly worked out.
2. If the application of the act on extraordinary measures in the interest of the protection of citizens and the state is not effective, the introduction of martial law will be necessary. The extension of the preparations of the Interior Ministry in the case of the introduction of martial law has been stipulated in relevant documents.
Among the fundamental tasks which will determine the efficient functioning of martial law and which ought to be carried out at the moment of its introduction or several hours in beforehand, are: a) internment of persons who threaten the security of the state—which is the principle endeavor. Two variations of
former CWIHP fellow, Dr. Machcewicz spent the academic year 1997/98 on a Fulbright grant in Washington, D.C.
XXX The introduction of martial law may-among other things—cause the following development of events: Scenario 1 - subordination of political and socio-economic organizations to the demands of the martial law with the simultaneous possibility of limited strike action and restricted hostile propaganda activity. Scenario 2 - in some regions of the country, mass strikes are organized with the tendency to extend beyond the workplace. Sabotage activities take place. Scenario 3 - general labor strike, some workers go out onto the streets, there are street demonstrations and attacks on party buildings and those of the state administration, the Citizen Militia and others. It leads to a sharp intervention of the MO forces and the military. The assistance of Warsaw Pact forces is not ruled out.
For the discussion of other evidence of the Polish Party, the military and the Ministry of Interior's counts on the Soviet and Warsaw Pact participation in the implementation of martial law see the report by Andrzej Paczkowski: “The Conditions and Mechanisms Leading to The Introduction of Martial Law: Report to the Commission on Constitutional Oversight” (translated from Polish by Leo Gluchowski), in “On the Decision to Introduce Martial Law in Poland in 1981: Two Historians Report to the Commission on Constitutional Oversight of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland," Working Paper No. 21, Preliminary Conference Edition, Cold War International History Project, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, November 1997 (Polish original in: “O Stanie Wojennym. W Sejmowej Komisji Odpowiedzialnosci Konstytucyjnej, Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Sejmowe, 1997).
For the detailed and updated analysis of the Soviet evidence see: Mark Kramer, “Jaruzelski, the Soviet Union and the Imposition of Martial Law in Poland: New Light on the Mystery of December 1981," paper delivered at a seminar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2 April 1998, and Kramer's articles in this Bulletin.
* For the analysis of the findings of the Jachranka conference see: Pawel Machcewicz and Malcolm Byrne, “Revealing a New Side of Poland's Martial Law,” Los Angeles Times, 14 December 1997.
(Source: Centralne Archiwum Ministerstwa Spraw Wewnetrznych, t. 228/1 B. Translated by Pawel Machcewicz)
Dr. Pawel Machcewicz is a research fellow at the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences. A
From left to right: Georgii Shakhnazarov, Anatoli Gribkov, and Viktor Kulikov (General Anoshkin—to left behind Kulikov) at the Jachranka Conference (November 1997). Photo courtesy of the Institute of Political Studies, Warsaw.
Reflections on the Polish Crisis
By Francis J. Meehan
Reagan team were unlikely to do so. The previous year,
government departments before leaving for accumulating evidence of impending Soviet military Warsaw, the predominant theme was the likelihood, as most action in Afghanistan. He was not about to run a similar people saw it, of Soviet military intervention, sooner rather risk in the case of Poland. In addition, and weighing more than later, to suppress the Polish reform movement. The heavily, private and public warnings against intervention 1956 and 1968 precedents were much in the minds of US were main elements in the official approach, of both the specialists in Soviet and East European affairs. They knew Carter and Reagan administrations, to a dramatic, the current situation in Poland was bigger, tougher, and more fast-moving situation, which was of broad public and complex than either Hungary or Czechoslovakia had been, political interest in the US but was largely beyond our but they knew also it was much more important, as Poland's ability to influence decisively. position was that of the linchpin in Central Europe. The I arrived in Warsaw as the Solidarity registration crisis widely held view was that the USSR would not hesitate for was moving into the final phase. Rumors ran through long before stamping out a threat to Polish Communist rule town that the regime was about to use the security forces and its own hegemonic position.
to put down the reform movement and that Soviet troops I received little encouragement that Moscow would were on their way in—the usual thing whenever there was stay its hand. In fact, I came away from almost all my a political crunch. There was some evidence to support meetings feeling that I would be lucky to get to Warsaw both conjectures. I did not, however, find it persuasive, before the Soviet tanks. I can remember only two
and played it cool in my reporting, but quickly learned that dissenting voices—but they were important ones.
Polish scare stuff grabbed Washington. There was a lot of [National Security Advisor] Zbigniew Brzezinski told me
it, and there continued to be a lot of it in the time ahead, he thought the Poles would have some time to try and
from all sorts of open as well as intelligence sources. We work out their own affairs and achieve an internal political spent a lot of time running the scares down. balance. The Soviet menace would continue to brood over It was not an easy situation to stay on top of, not the scene, but Moscow was restrained by the knowledge
because we were short of information—the usual thing in that the Poles could and would fight, while the Poles for
Eastern Europe-but because we had so much. Poles were their part realized they should not push the Soviets too far.
not afraid to talk. What struck me, coming as I did from Here was some encouragement at least. The other
Prague, was the remarkably good access we had, which exception was Richard Davies, ambassador to Poland reached into the upper levels of the civilian side of the during the seventies, who was a member of a briefing Party (not the military, who retained their organizational panel organized by the Department of State. Davies, with discipline and control). Our range of contacts with his instinct for Poland, the USSR, and the Russian-Polish Solidarity, particularly its Warsaw regional organization, historical relationship, felt the Soviets would think long and with the Church gave us the necessary balance. Even and hard about sending in troops. This was the only note
so, hard information was not easy to come by in the flood of optimism in his forceful, stark analysis.
of rumors that washed around us, and analysis and I got to Warsaw in late October. From then until the judgement were at times little more than half-educated imposition of martial law, fourteen months later, the twin hunches. All the same, Washington had a hefty appetite
for our reporting. threats—suppression of the reform movement by the
We were hardly over the registration crisis when we Polish regime or through Soviet military action
dropped down the next, really big dip in the dominated US official thinking. There was good reason
roller-coaster—the early December (1980) events. I was for this. We had Colonel [Ryzard] Kuklinski's reporting
struck by further differences of perception—dealing with on the regime's plans for a strike against the independent
Poland in Washington and looking at it close up in labor union) Solidarity. Substantial intelligence
Warsaw, both perceptions were entirely valid. information on Soviet troop movements on the Polish
We received urgent instructions Sunday, December 7, frontiers pointed at various times to intervention. The
the height of the crisis, to check for unusual activity at key Soviet threat ebbed and flowed-early December 1980
Polish government and party buildings, military was perhaps the high water mark—but it looked real installations, communication and transportation facilities, enough. It would have been imprudent to ignore or as well as at the Soviet embassy chancery and housing discount the evidence.
complex. Washington was clearly alarmed by intelligence The outgoing Carter administration and the new indicating that Soviet military action was imminent.
Presumably we would be able to see signs and portents locally in Warsaw.
As it happened, the instructions came in when we were in the final stages of an embassy paddle tennis tournament, not the biggest thing in the world of sport but an event taken with commendable seriousness in the local US community. Washington would probably not have been greatly amused to know we finished the tournament first before setting about the duties that had been laid upon us, but I like to think we showed a proper sense of proportion at a tense moment.
It was one of those raw, bone-chilling nights you get in Eastern Europe as embassy officers made their way across town in twos and threes, some on foot, others driving. I saw the teams as they returned, tired, half-frozen. They all told the same story. They had seen absolutely nothing. Government buildings were pitch black, with the normal complement of semi-comatose guards. Ministry of Defense, Foreign Ministry, Party Central Committee building, railroad stations, airport, barracks areas, Soviet embassy and housing area-all quiet as was usual in Warsaw on a freezing Sunday night in December. The only unusual activity in the entire city, they reported dryly, was the American embassy, lit up like a transatlantic liner on a dark and empty ocean. We fired in a late-night message to the Department, knowing wiser heads would make sense of these unremarkable findings.
In part because the November and December scares came to nothing, in part because of what I had heard from Brzezinski and Davies, in part because of my own developing sense of the realities around me, I soon found myself almost completely preoccupied with the Polish domestic political situation and less intent on the Soviet military threat. From what we continued to hear and read, Moscow seemed deeply frustrated over Poland, exasperated at the inability of the Polish party leadership to grasp the nettle and put Solidarity in its place with whatever means necessary. The Soviets seemed unsure themselves of the course they should take. Sending troops in looked more and more problematic as time went on.
While I grew skeptical about Soviet intervention in late 1980 and impressed as the various crises came and went in the succeeding months with their concurrent difficulties and uncertainties, I have to say I thought Soviet intervention was again in the cards in the fall of 1981. The Polish leadership looked increasingly feckless-[Stanisław) Kania's replacement as First Secretary by [Wojciech] Jaruzelski did not seem to indicate a radically new course. I ruled out the possibility that Moscow was prepared to lose control of Poland—just to let it go, like that. If the political slide continued, if Solidarity won a substantial measure of power, if Soviet strategic interests were seriously threatened, then it seemed to me they would send in troops.
With these judgements in mind, I find the record of the Soviet Politburo 10 December 1981 session contained in the Jachranka documents quite extraordinary-I feel I
owe an apology for the dark thoughts I used to harbor about what I now see was an amiable, laid-back bunch of geriatric Rotarians. Who could have imagined, apart maybe from his mother—she knew her boy had a heart of gold—[KGB chief Iurii] Andropov saying that “even if Poland falls under the control of 'Solidarity,' that's the way it will be”? (Had no one ever bothered to tell him about the Brezhnev Doctrine?)
Equally curious is the absence of any dissent from this revolutionary (better, counterrevolutionary) view on the part of the others. It is true, the records of earlier 1981 Politburo sessions document a temporizing, undynamic Soviet leadership, but it is a revelation to see they had become such complete pussycats. And if that was their shirokaya natura showing, and they were all that relaxed about Poland doing its own thing, it sure would have made things an awful lot easier for Kania and Jaruzelski if they had told them earlier, instead of doing things like sending that nasty June (1981) letter.
I find equally striking, suspicious even--which shows I am geriatric Soviet hand myself—the unanimity with which the Politburo rejects at the same meeting the idea of military action in Poland, without anything resembling real debate. Admittedly they knew by now they had bitten off more than they felt like chewing in Afghanistan, and could not have relished the risks a massive Polish operation would have brought with it. Even so, to read in the record someone of (Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A.) Gromyko's steel declaring that "there cannot be any introduction of troops into Poland" has a surreal quality. Just as mind-bending is the fact that someone with Suslov's curriculum vitae is reported as speaking after Gromyko of only press handling of the Polish "counterrevolutionary forces." Press handling? Did he hear what Gromyko said?
I was struck by Jaruzelski's reaction—as noted in Raymond Garthoff's report'—to Kulikov's insistence that the USSR at no time had plans to intervene militarily. It is not difficult to imagine the reasons for Jaruzelski's exasperation. If anyone on the Polish side could judge the reality of the Soviet threat, it must surely be he. Of course, the General wanted the threat to be seen and accepted as real so that he could sell the Polish people, and the world at large, the patriotic explanation for martial law, so he might not have been wholly candid. I still think, however, that his exasperation springs from experience of how close the threat came at times.
Brzezinski was a central player in the late 1980 events and his views on Carter's hot line message of December 3, as a factor in the Soviet decision not to intervene, have to be given due weight. I can only say that the US warnings, in general, struck me as largely pro forma exercises. It was right for us to do it—we had to do something-and I have no doubt the Soviets took them seriously, as they took any major US statement seriously. However, I would judge the imponderables of taking military action in Poland as