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afraid that the Polish events could have any influence in in Prague for the CPCz's 16th Congress in April 1981 our country.” In the long-term view, however, Soviet (Document No. 4), and the second, of slightly unclear Premier Nicolav Tikhonov demonstrated greater foresight, origin, is located in a folder marked “Poland” in the yet when he interrupted Husák with the observation that this un-archived materials of Gustáv Husák (Document No. 6). situation could still change. So
The record of the meeting between Husák and János
Kádár in November 1980 nicely reflects the Hungarian Selected Documents
position (Document No. 1). Although it does contain As we have discussed, there are considerable gaps in sharp criticism of the Polish leadership, Kádár also the preserved (and now accessible) documents in the attempted to keep a certain distance-neither directly Czech archives regarding the Polish developments of interfere in the Polish developments nor participate in 1980-1981. For example, no record has survived of the economic assistance. In contrast, the interpretation given debates on the Polish situation in the leading CPCz bodies. in the fall of 1981 by Günther Sieber, the head of the SED It is therefore difficult to choose the one or two most CC International Relations Department, is characteristic of important documents that would reflect this perspective in the East German leadership's approach, which apparently its entirety. In any case, most of the preceding text
felt most threatened by the developments in Poland devoted to the reconstruction of the CPCz leadership's (Document No. 5). It is a systematic, comprehensive position on the Polish developments and the Solidarity analysis comprising well thought-out, enterprising phenomenon has been drawn from a range of documents. approaches to the problem. The opinions of Czechoslovak representatives have been captured by two presentations delivered by Gustáv Husák
ABBREVIATIONS in Moscow in December 1980 and May 1981, and in a CC CPCz letter to the Polish communist party from June 1981.
Archiv Ministerva vnitra (Archive of the Most appropriate for publication seems to be the
Minister of the Interior) record of the Warsaw meeting in March 1981 (Document A ÚV KSC Archiv Ústredního výboru Komunistické No. 3) between Stanisław Kania and Karel Hoffmann, the
strany Ceskoslovenska (Archive of the matador of the post-invasion Czechoslovak regime.51 This
CC CPCz), Prague, Czech Republic record presents the opinions of the Czechoslovak
Bundesarchiv leadership in perhaps the most complete and most pointed
Central Committee form, while at the same time reflecting both the
Central Intelligence Agency acquiescent as well as polemical arguments of the Polish
Communist Party of Czechoslovakia leadership.
CPSU Communist Party of the Soviet Union The report of Colonel General Miroslav Blahník,
CSPA Czechoslovak People's Army Chief of the General Staff of the Czechoslovak Army, to ČSSR Československá Socialistická Republika the Minster of National Defense Martin Dzúr (Document
(Czechoslovak Socialist Republic) No. 2) sums up the plan for the common Warsaw Pact
German Democratic Republic army "exercises" on Polish territory in December 1980, or
Hungarian People's Republic
HSWP rather, that which the Soviet Army Command considered
Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party
Komitet obrony robotnikow (Workers' necessary to tell their Czechoslovak “allies.” Among other
Defense Committee) evidence, a comparison of this document with its East
KS SNB Krajská správa Sboru národní German equivalent confirms that the East Germans and
bezpecnosti (Regional Department of the the Czechoslovaks received from the Soviets only the
Corps of National Security) information and directives directly concerning them, and NVA
Nationale Volksarmee (National were not necessarily fully aware of Soviet intentions. 52 In
People's Army of East Germany) the German document there is no mention of the 31st tank PPA
Polish People's Army division of the Central Group of Soviet Forces which was
Polish People's Republic
PÚV to operate on the Olomouc-Cracow route. Part of
Predsednictvo Ústredního výboru
(Presidium of the CC) Blahník's report is a map marked with the anticipated
PUWP Polish United Workers' Party movements of “exercise” units in southern and western
Sozialistische Einheitspartei Poland.
Deutschlands (Socialist Unity Part of The Czech archives also contain a whole series of
Germany) documents which illustrate the positions and opinions of SÚA
Státní ústrední archiv (Central State other East European leaderships. Though they do not
Archive) provide any new information, they do confirm and
Vnitrostanická informace (Internal Party supplement our knowledge. This can be said particularly
Information) with regard to two documents which outline the position
VONS Výbor na obranu nespravedlive of the Soviet leadership in the spring and fall of 1981. The
stíhaných (Committee for the Defense of
the Unjustly Persecuted) first of these is a private speech given by Brezhnev while
Document No. 1 Record of a Meeting between CPCz CC General
Secretary Gustáv Husák and HSWPCC First Secretary János Kádár in Bratislava, 12 November
1980 (excerpt from Kádár)
25 November 1980.
[...] Comrade Kádár laid out the position of the HPR [Hungarian People's Republic) on the developments in Poland. A serious, dangerous situation has emerged here, one which represents a serious problem. It concerns a socialist state which is a member of the Warsaw Pact. Its geographic location places it in a zone of great importance.
(Kádár continued:) One of the sources of this crisis is the economic situation. Our Polish Comrades have themselves spoken of the excessive tempo of economic development. Lacking the necessary base they set an economic tempo which they could not maintain, a statement which also holds true with regard to the increases in wages and debt. The steep rise in wages was impossible to cover with goods, and the rapidly rising level of indebtedness was not covered either by corresponding production nor, particularly, by funds from exports. The poorly resolved agricultural issue is also a serious problem.
The second source of this crisis can be found in the mistakes of the leadership. The information (we have) received is almost unbelievable to us. A serious situation already existed in the PPR (Polish People's Republic) in 1956. Serious tremors occurred in 1970, 1976, and now once again. It is not our role to evaluate the level of their work. The present leadership says that they had drawn apart from the masses and from reality. In our opinion there also was a large degree of carelessness on the part of the leadership. I [Kádár) spoke with Comrade (Leonid I.) Brezhnev in the summer, at the end of July in the Crimea, just before the arrival of Polish party leader Comrade Edward Gierek.54 Comrade Brezhnev was disturbed by the strikes taking place in Poland. I mentioned that Poland reminded me of a drunk who staggers from side to side, but thanks to the grip of his guardian angel doesn't actually fall. It seemed to me that the Polish leaders were thinking in a similar manner. They were very careless. Comrade Gierek arrived in the Crimea and in his discussions understated the seriousness of the situation. It was noted by our Hungarian comrades, on holiday in the USSR at the time, that the Polish leadership was calmly continuing their holidays while the situation in Poland was developing along very unfavorable lines.
In conversations with our Polish comrades we [Hungarians) pointed out the need to consider that neither the West, nor the Church nor any other anti-socialist force had yet decided on a full overthrow of the socialist system, but that if they wished, there was indeed an opportunity to do so. We regard the situation in Poland as very serious; the crisis is still a long way from being over.
Comrade Kádár recently spoke of the developments in Poland during the visit of the British Foreign Secretary (Lord Carrington), whom he cautioned that the situation had not yet climaxed, and warned that it would not be in the interest of Great Britain to attempt a reversal of relations. Responding to the Foreign Secretary's question, Comrade Kádár had stated that an attempt of that sort would be a threat to the entire policy of détente. He spoke of the Polish situation during his discussions with Yugoslav representatives as well. In answer to their question about the possibility of external assistance to Poland, Kádár responded that Yugoslavia would also have to help to prevent such assistance from becoming necessary.
The situation in Poland is exceptionally important, not just for the Polish People's Republic and the socialist community, but for all European states. The Hungarian People's Republic does not have any special concerns about these developments as there have not yet been any noticeable effects of the Polish events on Hungarian political life. The HPR long ago solved the problems which have led to the Polish crisis. They do not fully understand the situation in Poland and are disturbed by various reports that workers and in some places even “free elections are implementing things which are taken for granted in the HPR.
They do not understand the approach of the Polish leadership in increasing prices in 1976. This serious action was taken without any preparations, and even the members of the Central Committee and the Government Presidium were not informed. In this situation it is obvious that Communists could not defend the implementation of the policy. The consequences of this step were not fully thought through and the whole approach was very lightly and carelessly conceived.
The opinions of the HPR were explained in detail to Comrade Demichev on his recent visit to Hungary.
Comrade Emil Wojtaszek,” who has kept the Hungarian leadership informed of the Polish situation expressed thanks for the help provided by the HPR to the Polish leadership. I [Kádár) told him that there was no need to mention solidarity, as we regard it as a given. We are also prepared to give immediate assistance. They do not have great means, but are prepared to give everything which is available. They can rush some deliveries etc. At the same time, I cautioned them that if these were ongoing deliveries within the framework of economic cooperation then it is necessary for both sides to act as partners for if the PPR does not deliver coal, honey, sulfur, etc. as agreed upon then we can not produce. Then, understandably, we cannot help you.
The HPR does not wish to interfere in the internal affairs of Poland. They [the Hungarian leaders) have, however, pointed out in conversations that as long as the leadership is not united it cannot handle the situation. To achieve unity one condition must be met: a clear, concrete platform must be developed. So long as such a platform
Document No. 2
Czechoslovak Army, Colonel General Miroslav Blahník, to Minister of National Defense Army General
Martin Dzúr, 3 December 1980
3 December 1980.
does not exist it is impossible to speak of unity among the leadership or within the party itself. Were Hungary to find itself in such a situation we would not count the number of party members. We would attempt to set forward a clear platform and then count the number of people who could support that platform. There is not much point in talking about 3 million Communists if you do not know how they will react in a particular conflict situation. It is more important to have perhaps fewer people, but know that they will act resolutely for a commonly-accepted platform.
a We have clearly told our Polish comrades that the basic condition is to clarify the situation and develop a clear, concrete platform for resolving it in a socialist manner and on a socialist basis. In this manner a basis can be built for effective solidarity and assistance from the states of the socialist community.
In a conversation with Comrade Brezhnev three days before Comrade Gierek stepped down, I [János Kádár) stated that the situation was so unclear that from the outside it was impossible to reasonably suggest an appropriate solution. As long as positive forces act reasonably then the HPR will support them in full. However, in the midst of a critical situation the Polish leadership let a man fall whom the Hungarian party believed to be a reliable and strong worker. In such a
a situation it is difficult from the outside to take a firm position. The basic assumption is that the Polish leadership must develop a clear platform.
It is necessary to ask where these developments may lead. During the meeting between representatives of these [Hungarian and Polish] Ministries of the Interior, the Polish representative informed the meeting that the Politburo had long since decided that there was no longer anywhere to retreat to, and that it was thus necessary to take things firmly in hand and, if necessary, use administrative restrictions. This is indeed the correct position and was discussed at an internal meeting. They should, however, say so openly, including in the Central Committee. In that forum it needs to be firmly said that things can progress only within definite limits. At the present time it seems that there is complete confusion in Poland. Many people reject contemporary politics, yet many Poles support socialism. There are many wholesome forces who are aware of how serious and dangerous a situation has been created. [...]
Marshal of the Soviet Union N. V. OGARKOV, Chief of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces, with the participation of General Colonel ABOLINS, Vice-Chief of the General Staff and General Colonel TIERESHCHENKO, First Vice-Chief of Staff of the Soviet Armed Forces, provided clarification of the planned exercise. Present were General Colonel (Horst] ŠTECHBART,56 Commander of the NVA (National People's Army) Land Forces of the GDR, and Armed Forces General [Tadreusz) CHUPALOVSKI,57 First ViceChief of the General Staff of the PPA (Polish People's Army). The plans assume carrying out two exercises. The first is a divisional tactical exercise independently carried out on each division's home territory and on the territory of the Polish People's Republic (PPR) over a period of 5-6 days. The second is a command and control field exercise with communication equipment and partly-deployed forces on PPR territory. 4 to 5 divisions of the Soviet Army (of the Baltic, Belarussian and Carpathian Military District and the 31st tank division of the Central Group of Soviet Forces) will take part in both exercises. From the other armies: one division from the NVA of the GDR, four divisions of the PPA and two tank divisions of the CSPA [Czechoslovak People's Army).
Divisional tactical exercises will be carried out in two phases. The first phase will be carried out independently on each division's home territory over two to three days (see map). Following the completion of the divisional tactical exercises, both tank divisions of the CSPA shall gather together near the border with the Polish People's Republic
An order from the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces will set the date and time for crossing the state border into the territory of the PPR (the 1st tank division along one axis the 9th tank division along two axes- -see map (not printed]).
The issuing of this order from the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces initiates the second phase of the tactical exercise. The CSPA in coordination with one division of the PPA (the 11th tank division) will operate in the Zagan exercise area, where both exercises will take place, under the control of the CSPA and in coordination with the Wrocław Military Circle's operational group.
Following the realization of the tactical exercise the CSPA and PPA divisions will move to the allotted places on the territory of the PPR (see map (not printed]).
Following a short rest (1 day), the second exercise will begin-a command and control field exercise with
(Source: Státní ústřední archiv (SÚA), A ÚV KSC, PÚV 155/1980, 25 November 1980; translated by Oldňch Tůma.]
communication equipment and partly-deployed forces.
More detailed preparations for the second exercise will likely take place between 8 and the 10 of December 1980.
In conclusion Marshal Ogarkov noted that at the present time the exercise is merely prepared. Its execution, including the timing of the exercise, will be decided by the political leadership. This allied action will probably be announced in accordance with the Helsinki Final Act, though with less than the 21 days notice specified.
Respected Comrade, I am also including at this time a draft information bulletin for the CPC2 CC General Secretary and President of the ČSSR and, provided that you have no objections to its content, I would like to ask you to sign it.
[Ed. note: Map not printed]
(Source: Investigation Commission of the House of Representatives of the Czech Republic (copy in the possession of the author); translated by Oldňch Tůma.)
Document No. 3 Information regarding the meeting between Karel Hoffmann, President of the Central Unions' Council and Member of the CPCz CC Presidium, and Stanisław Kania, PUWP CC First Secretary, Warsaw, 17 March
the PPR would have on both the internal and international level (without repressing the specificity of the unions or restricting their activity), and also mentioned the possibility of the unions publishing a daily newspaper, without which branch union activities are considerably restricted. This is particularly important now that Solidarity has been granted permission to put out its own publications.
At the end of his presentation Comrade Hoffmann mentioned that we regard as great mistakes of the ČSSR crisis period the fact that we did not call things and phenomena by their real names, that we did not speak specifically about the messengers of right-wing, antisocialist expressions and tendencies, that we did not isolate enemy forces and, on the other hand, that we did not organize and unite the healthy forces, and that we permitted moral and political terror and the harrassment of honest comrades. We were thus unable by means of our own internal forces to forestall the counterrevolutionaries. This experience is also generally applicable.
Comrade Hoffmann expressed once again the support and solidarity of the Czechoslovak Communists and wished the PUWP full success.
During Comrade Hoffmann's remarks one could notice Comrade Kania nervously shifting in his seat, his facial expressions betraying his disagreement and dissatisfaction.
Following Comrade Hoffmann's presentation, Comrade Kania gave the floor to Comrade Grabski, who very briefly and concretely spoke about the current problems, the efforts of the Party, and the question of the unions in the PPR and their international contacts.
Then Comrade Kania spoke. His first reaction was to state that the events in Poland could not be evaluated through Czechoslovak eyes, as the crisis in the CSSR had a completely different character.
According to Comrade Kania, in comparison with that of the ČSSR in 1968/69, the Polish situation is worse in only two ways—in the ČSSR there had only began one crisis, whereas in Poland there had been a number of what could be termed mass crises, and further, “in Czechoslovakia the economic situation had been good and in Poland it was bad."
He further stressed that the CPCz CC and the Presidium had adopted opportunistic slogans, whereas the PUWP had not, that here the CC and the Presidium were united and properly oriented; the PUWP had the media firmly under control; the Polish army and security services held firm, whereas in the ČSSR these institutions had fragmented; Czechoslovakia had been helped by the allied armies, while in the PPR we were solving the crisis on our own and we are succeeding in mobilizing the people. We have many allies—we are supported by youth, independent unions, other political parties etc. As proof of the improving situation he pointed out the reduced visibility of Solidarity symbols.
17 March 1981.
Comrade Hoffmann then pointed out that our Party and the public are also increasingly disturbed by the fact that the PUWP has not managed to achieve that which was discussed by Comrade Husák and Comrade Kanias and approved by the CC (i.e.—"we shall take the initiative into our own hands,” “we are developing an offensive and we shall suppress the antisocialist forces,” “the attitude of party members who have joined Solidarity has not changed," etc.).
Comrade Hoffmann continued with his breakdown of the Czechoslovak experience in the fifties and sixties, and particularly of the crisis years to demonstrate the generally applicable preconditions by which one can determine when, and whether, unions can support the Party. He stated that union members in the ČSSR and functionaries in the branch unions do not understand why Solidarity is supported and preferred when it so sharply stands up to the Party. Nor do they understand why there is no support for the class unions (branch unions), which are the only ones actively supporting the Party and fighting for its policies. He emphasized the importance of unity and effective action that a renewal of the class unions' national body in
b) This kind of stance from the party leadership would quicken the differentiation process in society as well as hasten the departure from Solidarity of honest, disorientated workers, with an inclination to the class unions (of their 5 million members, nearly 2 million are party members). If however, the party leadership continues in its present indecisive, defensive course of action there is a real danger that the anti-socialist forces will succeed in weakening the unions and other progressive organizations, break up their structure and fully control social life, and the socialist character of the country will come under threat.
c) All of this leads to the conclusion that the leadership of the PUWP under Comrade Kania does not provide the guarantees of resolute action against the counterrevolution and in defense of socialism. The present course of the party leadership threatens the foundation and primary pillar of a socialist society in the PPR. (In private conversations the members of the PUWP -high functionaries of the class unions—term the present PUWP leadership the Dubček leadership.)
(Source: SÚA, A ÚV KSC, PÚV 164/1981, 19 March 1981; translated by Oldnch Tůma.
Comrade Kania openly stated that there is no danger that Marxism-Leninism or Russian (classes) will disappear from the universities, as in the agreement signed these aspects are to be decided upon by Faculty Councils (he did not, of course, mention that these Councils are, at the majority of universities, under the influence of Solidarity).
Comrade Kania also reacted rather irately to the comments regarding the unions. He stated that he was trying to get Solidarity to become a union organization, that the branch unions needed a dynamic program and that it was impossible to rush the creation of their central body. He objected to the idea that the unions should have their own daily paper, as they obviously already have Glos prace. Comrade Hoffmann stepped forward and asked Comrade Szyszka directly whether the unions really run Glos prace or not, and was answered that it had been taken from them and did not serve the class unions at all. Comrade Kania reacted sharply to this and stated that this did not matter as Glos prace was run by a department of the PUWP CC, and thus he did not see any reason why the branch unions should have a daily of their own.
Comrade Kania's presentation as outlined here, along with further comments made, testify to the fact that he has been idealizing the situation and made statements which are in total conflict with reality.
From Comrade Kania's remarks and arguments it is obvious that:
a) he fears Solidarity, and that the party leadership takes account in its actions of how Solidarity will react,
b) the PUWP leadership is taking into consideration its Western creditors (and has stated openly that we must understand that they are dependent on credit),
c) there is no real presumption that the present leadership has set out on a resolute course of putting into practice the statements made by Comrade Kania during his conversations with our Soviet Comrades, his discussions with Comrade Husák, his presentations in the CC, in the Congress Commission and so on.
On the basis of the present situation in the PPR, the continuing tendency towards unfavorable development, the verified opinions of a broad Party gathering in the class unions (i.e. the Communists, who are the participants in the daily struggle for Party policy and the defense of socialism and who are being placed under higher and higher psychological pressure) and the conversation with Comrade Kania, it is possible to draw the following conclusions:
a) In both the Party and society of the PPR there are strong forces, which have, even outside of the Party, an organizational foundation (class unions, anti-fascist fighters' organizations). These forces, in the case of active, comprehensive, resolute action by the Party leadership, and gradually by the Party as a whole, are capable of ensuring the socialist evolution of the PPR during the process of bitter political struggle and essential intervention against anti-socialist forces. They need only an urging to the struggle and purposeful leadership of the
Document No. 4 Speech of CPSU General Secretary Leonid Iliyich Brezhnev before the CPCz CC Presidium in Prague, 9
April 1981 (excerpt)
9 April 1981.
Now to the matter which is disturbing us all first and foremost—about the situation in Poland.
I will not speak here about the facts of the situation in that country, you know them as well as we do. The situation is—it can be said without exaggeration—critical. This concerns both politics and the economy. However the latter is the result of the former incorrect policies that have also brought the economy to the verge of collapse. The extent to which the actions of the opposition, that is “Solidarity," and the counterrevolutionaries and enemies of socialism who inspire it, are active and well-thought out in terms of organization and propaganda, is the extent to which the actions of the PUWP leadership and Polish government are indecisive and powerless.
You know, comrades, that on March 4, after our congress ended, we met with representatives of the Polish leadership and once again we told them directly that the situation is becoming dangerous. We recommended quite emphatically that they finally take decisive action against counterrevolution.
After that I had several more talks with Comrade Kania by telephone during which I presented the same ideas, I pointed out the new facts arising from