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by far the most crucial element for them.
room for maneuver smaller as time went on. Both sides A couple of personal Polish views of our warnings to knew their Lenin—there was no mistake, it was kto kogo. the Soviets give other insights. Deputy Premier
I went back to the US the last week of November Mieczysław Rakowski told me in mid-December 1980 that
[1981) on consultation, and did not return to Poland until we were greatly exaggerating the danger. The Soviets had
after martial law was declared. Before leaving Warsaw I no intention of coming in. He welcomed the warnings
arranged to meet with (then) Archbishop Glemp, nevertheless if only because they had the effect of slowing Jaruzelski, and [Solidarity leader Lech] Wałęsa in order to Solidarity down, making it behave more responsibly.
be able to give Washington a sense of how the three main Rakowski was pleased at this unexpected bonus. Bogdan
Polish players saw things. The meetings remain vivid Lis of Solidarity, on the other hand, was extremely
political snapshots practically on the eve of martial law. unhappy with the US statements when I saw him not long The Primate spoke of a seriously deteriorating afterwards. He complained they were exactly what the
situation and of how he was trying to mediate between the Soviets and the Polish regime wanted—here he
regime and Solidarity, to hold them together in corroborated Rakowski—in that they made the reform
negotiation. He was not optimistic. The overriding movement cautious at a time when it should have
problem was that the party hardliners were in the out to exert maximum pressure on the regime. Lis, who
ascendant. I was struck by the bearish tone, which gave the impression of being one of the hard men of
contrasted sharply with my meeting with him the previous Polish politics, went on to excoriate Radio Free Europe
month. He told me then that there was a good chance of broadcasts for taking the regime's side-a view, I tried to
martial law. I reported this to Washington but without convince him, I had never heard from any official Polish
giving it particular weight. quarter.
Wałęsa was deeply concerned about the fate of the I described Poland in 1980-81 as largely outside our reform movement. Solidarity was entering an absolutely ability to influence decisively. Some might think this less
crucial phase in its forthcoming negotiations with the than red-blooded. The “can-do” strain in US
government. It was, as he put it, very near the top of the policy-making runs strong, which is a good thing, too. hill, but it would have to be careful or else it could go over Washington players conceptualize, sloganize—that goes
the top and slide quickly down the other side—a prophecy with the scene. Warsaw again brought me up against the
soon fulfilled. limits of US action on the ground in Eastern Europe. My
He gave me a scheme for the next month or so, until judgement was that while there were useful things we
the end of the year. Solidarity planned to drag its feet in could and should do to help the Polish reformers, we negotiations during that time. In the meantime he wanted remained marginal on the basics:the power struggle in a massive economic aid offer from Western governments Poland itself and the Soviet intervention threat.
—to be made to Solidarity, not to the regime. This would I was concerned that we not over-extend ourselves in
be his trump card which he could produce in the latter a situation that could easily get away from us. I got a flash stages of the negotiations, when he would make clear the message from the Department in the summer of 1981
aid was available to the government only on condition that asking my views on a US military airlift of food (discussed Solidarity's basic demands were met. in Romuald Spasowski's 1986 autobiography The
I cannot say whether Wałęsa was giving a finished Liberation of One). I argued strongly against it on various Solidarity position to which they were committed, or if he grounds, the most important being that a US Air Force
was floating personal views. Nor do I know if Solidarity airlift would raise Poland to a direct US-Soviet
actually followed the Wałęsa scheme in the time confrontation in a region that was much easier for them to
remaining before martial law—there was certainly no aid control. If the Soviets challenged us, our options would be offer for him to work with. I tried to disabuse him of the unattractive either to back off with major loss of face, or idea that massive aid would be forthcoming quickly, if it hang tough and run serious risks. The Department did not could be realized at all. I knew the debate on aid on the return to the matter.
US side was not particularly promising, and I did not see I cannot claim more than a general sense of the
the West Europeans doing all that much. Wałęsa said the relations between the Polish government and Solidarity in
reform movement could still achieve its goals without the month or so before martial law-specifically, whether major aid, but the struggle would last longer and the Polish there was either room for compromise or the will on either
people would have to endure even greater hardships. side for a genuine search for compromise. The relations
Wałęsa was in tremendous form all evening—we had were highly complex. Negotiations covered the entire
dinner at our house with our wives and a few other range of social, economic and political issues-virtually
Americans and Poles. He completely dominated the the whole life of the country. The inner workings on both conversation with rapid-fire delivery of ideas and sides were often opaque. I was impressed by the Poles opinions on everything under the sun, hardly letting the ability to find ways out of a seemingly total impasse and to
rest of us get a word in, moving from the very serious to step back from the brink. Everyone realized it was a quick wisecracks without any loss of pace or force. We struggle for power, however. The stakes grew larger, the
talked about Jaruzelski, and I said I had only made it to
army sergeant and still had a queasy feeling when dealing substance as I had heard from him before. He struck me with four-star generals. He came back immediately
again as moderate, realistic—the cool political soldier. sergeants were nothing much—it was corporals you had to Personally he seemed, as before, reserved, tense, basically watch out for—he had been a corporal himself—and there a loner. Had he already set the date for martial law when was Napoleon—and then there was that other corporal as he saw me? I am inclined to think the decision to strike well.” We knew we were looking at one of the great was taken closer to the actual event, but I might only be political naturals.
trying to excuse my inability to see the cloven hoof I met with Jaruzelski the same day the Primate warned sticking out at the foot of those razor-crease uniform pants me there was a good chance of martial law. I still regret
with the broad red stripe. the professional goof of not telling the general I had heard Debate on Jaruzelski's patriotism strikes me as a more martial law was coming and asking his views. I doubt he than slightly red herring. He was and is a Pole—I suspect would have “fessed up" and given dates and times, but I more now than he was then. People who were in a should have had the wit to get him on the record.
position to know told me he thought the worst thing the By the time I saw him Jaruzelski must have assumed US ever did to him was (U.S. Secretary of Defense Colonel Kukliński, now missing from his duties for a Casper) Weinberger's one-liner on a TV show that he was a couple of weeks, was in US hands, and we were fully Soviet general in a Polish uniform. That really got to him. aware of the planning for a military strike against
But if he was a Pole, he was the top Polish Communist Solidarity. He could easily have avoided a meeting. For power handler in a tight spot, completely devoted to all he knew I might have appeared armed with instructions maintaining party control of the system, and also to ask awkward questions about the regime's intentions. completely committed to the Soviet connection. He may The US might have been about to launch a political
well have wanted to avoid Soviet military intervention, campaign that could cause problems in the immediate possible occupation, but he also wanted to put the reform run-up to martial law. Perhaps a reason for seeing me was movement back in its cage. My guess is the latter to mislead deliberately by a pretence of business as usual objective was the primary motivation in a convenient even after the Kuklinski affair. The hour was unusual- coincidence of goals and interests—but I was wrong on we met from eight-thirty till ten at night—but there was the Soviet politburo and I could be wrong again. certainly nothing vastly new or different in what he had to Colonel Kukliński was a very brave man. The say from our previous meetings.
operation to bring him and his family to the West—the Jaruzelski restated the government's commitment to planning and the action itself-made for an edgy week or broad national consensus. It did not have to follow this so in the embassy, and no doubt it was an excruciatingly policy—it had reserves of power that had not been used. anxious time for the Kuklińskis themselves. The “Some people” accused it of being weak for negotiating operation's success reflected much credit on the with Solidarity "with the strike pistol aimed at us," but it Kuklińskis for their courage and on the professionalism of intended to continue seeking agreement. However, the those involved on the US side. My role was minimal—to crisis facing the state could not continue indefinitely. support the people who were doing the work. I hope I
Not everything Solidarity did suited him, he said, but looked calmer than I felt. If it had all gone wrong, if the there were forces in the union that could be worked with. colonel had been caught before he could get away, or if Marginal, radical elements were moving way from the the extraction operation had been discovered while it was mainstream. Solidarity realized it was not enough just to in progress, things would have been messy. fight the authorities. It was essential to reach a settlement I am not sure it would have made all that much on the enterprise self-management law, otherwise all the difference if we had tipped off the Solidarity leadership other agreements would be useless.
about the regime's planning for a strike against them on On our bilateral relations Jaruzelski said the West the basis of the information Kukliński provided. They Europeans were waiting for a positive US lead on
would not have been much surprised to learn the generals economic aid, and he asked for a positive approach from were thinking nasty things about them. I believe they us in advance of the EC summit which was to be held assumed that to be the case from very early on. What they shortly. He stressed the importance of our agricultural would have wanted to know—as I would have—was the deliveries within the Commodity Credit Corporation date of martial law, and Kukliński did not give us that so framework, and said he wanted to send the minister of far as I know. agriculture to the US to discuss technology, fertilizers,
I say “so far as I know" because I did not see all of his pesticides and related matters. We had their list of
reporting. The CIA provided me with summaries from requirements in industrial and semi-finished goods, spare time to time. I remember the material as largely parts, and raw materials. Vice Premier Zbigniew Madej's technical-organizational in nature. It must have been of visit to Washington in December would be a good
great use to our military analysts, but what I saw lacked occasion to pursue these topics.
broader political scope, and I lost sight somewhat of the If this was all an act, the general did it well—worth an colonel's reporting in the press of more urgent business in Oscar nomination. It sounded much the same in tone and the months before martial law.
"NEW SOURCES AND FINDINGS ON COLD WAR INTERNATIONAL HISTORY”
The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, in association with the Cold War International History Project and the National Security Archive, will hold a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute on “New Sources and Findings on Cold War International History from 12 July-6 August 1999. This four-week program, intended primarily for university and college professors teaching courses on the history of U.S. foreign policy, diplomatic history, and international affairs/ relations during the Cold War period, will offer an opportunity to study and assess emerging new sources and perspectives on the history of the Cold War, particularly those from the former communist bloc, and their potential for use in teaching.
Since faculty will be derived primarily from area studies specialists familiar with archival and other sources from the former Soviet Union, China, and other East-bloc countries, the summer institute will provide a forum for a dialogue between these specialists on the “other side” of Cold War history and participants who have researched, written, and taught from an American perspective, working primarily from U.S. and other Englishlanguage sources. The Director of the Institute is James R. Millar, Director of GWU's Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (IERES); principal faculty include James G. Hershberg (George Washington University), former Director of the Cold War International History Project and author of “James B. Conant: Harvard to Hiroshima and the Making of the Nuclear Age”; Vladislav M. Zubok (National Security Archive), co-author of "Inside the Kremlin's Cold War: From Stalin to Khrushchev"; and Chen Jian (Southern Illinois University), author of "China's Road to the Korean War: The Making of the Sino-American Confrontation.”
Sections will cover new findings and interpretations on important Cold War history topics ranging from the conflict's origins to its ending, including major crises, regional flare-ups, alliances, and the nuclear arms race. Sessions will also be devoted to issues in teaching Cold War history, including the use of new technologies such as the internet as well as multimedia sources such as documentaries. Assigned readings for discussion will include important recent publications, including both secondary accounts and primary sources, as well as recently declassified documents from both Eastern and Western archives. Participants will also have an opportunity to tap Cold War history resources in the Washington, D.C., area, such as the National Archives, government agencies, research organizations, etc.
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Colonel Kuklinski and the Polish Crisis, 1980-81
By Mark Kramer
Irom the early 1970s until November 1981, Col. known that at least four others, including two high-ranking Ryszard Kuklinski was a crucial intelligence source Polish military intelligence officers, Col. Jerzy Szuminski
for the United States. Having become profoundly and Col. Wladyslaw Ostaszewicz; a military adviser to disillusioned with Communism and the Soviet Union's Jaruzelski, Gen. Leon Dubicki; and a Polish military heavy-handed presence in Poland, Kuklinski began
liaison in West Germany, Col. Antoni Tykocinski, were all supplying the United States with highly sensitive
supplying information to the United States—but no one information about Soviet-bloc military planning and
was more crucial than Kuklinski.? His voluminous weapons developments. Altogether, he smuggled out dispatches and transfers of documents allowed the CIA to photographs and transcribed copies of more than 30,000 keep close track of the martial law planning, the status of pages of classified Soviet and Warsaw Pact documents,
Polish army, and the dynamics of Soviet-Polish including war plans, military maps, mobilization schedules, relations in 1980-81. allied command procedures, summaries of exercises,
During the crisis, Kuklinski transmitted daily reports technical data on weapons, blueprints of command
and operated with relatively few hindrances (albeit at great bunkers, electronic warfare manuals, military targeting risk) until September 1981, when the Polish internal affairs guidelines, and allied nuclear doctrine. To ensure that his minister, Gen. Czeslaw Kiszczak, was informed that motives would not be questioned, Kuklinski refused to take Solidarity had learned many of the details of the planning
, any payment for his work. For roughly a decade, his for martial law, including the codename of the opening efforts gave the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) an phase of the operation. That codename, "Wiosna" unparalleled look inside the Warsaw Pact.
(Spring), denoted the part of the operation that involved Kuklinski was in an especially important position mass arrests of Solidarity activists and dissident when a prolonged crisis swept over Poland in 1980-81. intellectuals all around the country. (The codename was Not only was he an aide to the Polish national defense promptly changed to “Wrzos,” meaning "Heather.”) minister (and later prime minister and Communist Party Because the codename had been a very tightly-held leader), Army-Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski; he also was one secret only a small number of people from the General of a handful of senior officers on the Polish General Staff Staff and the Internal Affairs Ministry were permitted to who helped draw up plans for the imposition of martial know it-Kiszczak immediately realized that a serious leak law. The Polish General Staff's formal role in planning
had occurred. He launched an investigation into the the military aspects of martial law began on 22 October matter, which naturally focused on Kuklinski among others. 1980, when Jaruzelski ordered the chief of the General Kuklinski managed to evade detection for another several Staff, Gen. Florian Siwicki, to set up an elite planning unit. weeks, but he had to exercise greater caution and to scale This unit, which worked closely with a martial law
back the frequency of his reports. planning staff at the Polish Internal Affairs Ministry,
By the beginning of November, the finger of consisted predominantly of general officers, including all suspicion increasingly pointed at him. On 2 November, of Siwicki's deputies. Kuklinski, as the head of the
the Soviet Committee on State Security (KGB) warned General Planning Department and deputy head of the the Polish authorities that the U.S. government had Operations Directorate of the Polish General Staff, was a obtained the full plans for martial law. It is not known key member of the martial law planning unit from the very
how the KGB learned of this matter—whether it was start. Among other tasks, he served as a liaison with through signals intelligence, a mole within the CIA, a Marshal Viktor Kulikov, the Commander-in-Chief of the leak from another NATO intelligence service, or some Warsaw Pact's Joint Armed Forces, and with other high
other means—but the disclosure clearly came as a great ranking Soviet military officers from the Pact's Joint jolt to Jaruzelski and Siwicki. A much more intensive Command. Kuklinski also was frequently responsible for investigation began, which was bound to focus on drafting operational plans, helping to design exercises, and Kuklinski. He and another deputy chief of the General compiling notes of secret meetings and discussions. These Staff's Operations Directorate, Col. Franciszek Puchala, functions proved invaluable when he sought to transmit were the only ones who had had regular access to the detailed information to the United States.
full plans for martial law. Moreover, one of the Until November 1981, when Kuklinski was forced to speeches that Kuklinski had prepared for Siwicki, which escape from Poland to avert arrest, his reports were
Siwicki later amended by deleting a sentence about the indispensable for the CIA's efforts to monitor the Polish possible use of deadly force, had been transferred by crisis. Kuklinski was not the only senior Polish military Kuklinski to the United States before the offending officer who was working for the CIA at the time—it is sentence had been removed. The discovery of the
non-Communist government came to power in Warsaw), but the guilty verdict remained in effect for another five years. In May 1990, the Polish justice minister, Aleksander Bentkowski, who for many years had served under Communist governments, rejected an appeal of Kuklinski's conviction. Even though the founding leader of Solidarity, Lech Walesa, was elected president of Poland in December 1990, he, too, refused to exonerate Kuklinski of the charges.
Not until March 1995 did the Polish Supreme Court finally annul the prison sentence and send the case back for review. In passing down its verdict, the Court excoriated the District Court's "blatant violations of legal procedures," and left no doubt about one of the factors that influenced the decision to annul the sentence:
One must take into account the widely-known fact that the sovereignty of Poland was severely diminished (during the Communist era] and that there was an imminent threat of an invasion by the Soviet Union and other contiguous member-states of the Warsaw Pact. One also must take into account the fact that R. Kuklinski was fully informed then about the situation and, through his desperate actions, tried to head off the impending threat of invasion by conveying this information to the leaders of states that are strong enough to alter the world's fate.... The security of the (Polish) state unquestionably takes precedence over the disclosure of a secret, especially if the disclosure is intended to serve a higher cause."
original draft, with the sentence still in it, would be a telltale sign that Kuklinski was the source.
Facing imminent arrest in early November, Kuklinski finally decided he had no alternative but to escape as soon as possible. The precise way he and his family were spirited out of Poland has never been disclosed—one of the chief participants in the exfiltration described it as a “real cloak-and-dagger affair”—but it is clear that the operation was a great success.? Kuklinski, his wife, and his two sons left Poland on 7 November 1981 and by the 8th were safely in West Germany. On 11 November, the colonel was flown on a military aircraft to the United States, where he has lived ever since. At least two attempts are thought to have been made by Soviet-bloc agents against Kuklinski's life after he left Poland. What has troubled him far more, however, are the tragic deaths of his two sons, both of whom were killed in 1994 in mysterious circumstances.' To this day, Kuklinski is extremely reluctant to disclose his place of residence.
A few hints of Kuklinski's role in 1980-81 surfaced in the West in the early to mid-1980s (most notably when a Polish government press spokesman, Jerzy Urban, suddenly mentioned at a news conference that the U.S. government had known in advance about the martial law operation and had failed to warn Solidarity), but it was not until April 1987 that Kuklinski's name and exploits became publicly known. In a remarkable, 53-page interview that appeared in the Paris-based monthly journal Kultura, Kuklinski provided a fascinating account of what he had witnessed in 1980-81." This interview remains a vital source for anyone interested in the Polish crisis.
Despite the wide-ranging nature of the Kultura interview, Kuklinski refrained at that time from disclosing that he had been working for the CIA since the early 1970s, not just in 1980 and 1981. Details about his earlier work first came to light in September 1992, when a reporter for The Washington Post, Benjamin Weiser, published the first of two important articles on Kuklinski, based on some 50 hours of interviews with the colonel as well as many hours of interviews with some of Kuklinski's former colleagues, including Kiszczak and Jaruzelski." The two articles make a valuable supplement to the Kultura interview. (Weiser, who later left the Post to join The New York Times, has been working on a book about Kuklinski.) Further documents and information about Kuklinski's career and legal case, including interviews with him, have been published in Poland in three recent Polish-language books, and a fourth collection of newly released documents is due out soon.13
Back in Poland, nothing was said in public about Kuklinski for many years. In May 1984, after a secret court-martial in absentia, the Warsaw Military District Court sentenced Kuklinski to death on charges of high treason and stripped him of his citizenship and military rank. In March 1990, the District Court commuted his death sentence to a prison term of 25 years (under an amnesty bill adopted in December 1989, shortly after a
Col. Kuklinski's actions, the Court added, “were in the interest of [Polish) sovereignty and independence."
Over the next two years, while the final review of Kuklinski's case was under way, some former Communist officials, especially Jaruzelski, led a bitter campaign to
a prevent the colonel from being fully exonerated. (Ironically, in 1996 Jaruzelski himself, the chief overseer of martial law, was absolved by the Polish parliament of all charges brought against him in the early 1990s for his role in 1980-81.15) Despite Jaruzelski's recalcitrance, Kuklinski cleared his final legal hurdle in September 1997, when, with the grudging approval of Walesa's successor, Aleksander Kwasniewski (a former high-ranking Polish Communist official), the Chief Military Procurator of the Warsaw Military District revoked the charges against Kuklinski, allowing him to return home as a free man. All his rights of citizenship and his military rank were restored. The basis for the Military Procurator's decision was that Kuklinski “acted out of a higher necessity” (w stanie wyzszej koniecznosci), and that his “cooperation with the American intelligence service" was "intended to benefit the nation."
Even after the Military Procurator's decision, Jaruzelski and his supporters kept up a rearguard action against Kuklinski. Their efforts were not enough, however, to deter Kuklinski from making an emotional visit back to Poland in April and May 1998. In Krakow, he
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