restricted access Document No. 35: Transcript of CPSU CC Politburo Meeting, March 12, 1981
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221 Document No. 35: Transcript of CPSU CC Politburo Meeting March 12, 1981 Three months after the climactic December 5 Warsaw Pact leadership meeting in Moscow, it had become clear that Kania was not following through on his pledge to eliminate the threat to communist rule in Poland. Of all the alliance leaders, the GDR’s Erich Honecker was perhaps the most upset about the lack of action, as indicated in this brief description of a conversation he had with Leonid Brezhnev. The Soviet leader commiserates with Honecker but points to the positive development of having Jaruzelski in charge of the government—an assessment he would eventually revise entirely. […] 5. On Cde. L. I. Brezhnev’s discussion with Cde. E. Honecker. Brezhnev: The discussion with Cde. Honecker has been circulated and you have had the chance to read it through. The discussion was brief but it carried no small significance for Cde. Honecker. I greeted Cde. Honecker and thanked him for his participation at the congress.21 In addition, I was interested in how Cde. Honecker thought the congress was going and how the delegates were speaking. He answered that the congress delegates were speaking with great enthusiasm and were talking not only about successes but about difficulties and deficiencies as well. In addition, during the discussion Cde. Honecker sounded out his unease about the situation in Poland. I said to him that the situation in Poland makes us uneasy, too. In spite of this, I noted that Cde. Honecker had a meeting with Cde. Kania which, of course, was useful. All of us, apparently, are united on the need to get the Polish comrades to implement the most constructive measures for putting things in order in the country and imposing strict stability. Currently Cde. Jaruzelski stands at the head of the government, a good, intelligent comrade with substantial authority. I told Cde. Honecker also to press Cde. Kania at their meeting to have the Polish comrades carry out more decisive measures in connection with bringing order to the country. Cde. Honecker thanked me for the discussion and enthusiastically invited me to come to the congress22 at the head of the CPSU delegation . I thanked him for the invitation and said that the Politburo would adopt an appropriate decision about who would lead the delegation. 21  The CPSU Party Congress of February 23 – March 4, 1981, which Honecker was attending when he had this conversation with Brezhnev. 22 The SED X Party Congress, which began on April 11, 1981. 222 Gromyko: Poland, of course, worries all of them, Cde. Honecker above all, and that is entirely understandable. It seems to me that Honecker is raising all questions before Kania rather persistently, just as Cde. Husák posed all these questions very firmly. Rusakov: If one is to speak about Leonid Ilyich’s discussions, one can see that all the comrades essentially raised the question of Poland. Of course, the situation in Poland worries everyone. I think that the Polish comrades also feel that concern. They should have responded to that concern by taking more decisive measures. However, after the well-known gathering of leaders of the fraternal countries23 the Polish friends never realized the need to implement a number of cardinal measures for bringing order to the country. Cdes. Chernenko, Gorbachev and Grishin also spoke about this matter. The decision is adopted: To approve the discussion held by Cde. L. I. Brezhnev with Cde. E. Honecker. [Source: RGANI, Fond 89, Opis 42, Delo 37. Translated by Malcolm Byrne for the National Security Archive.] 23 See Document No. 22. ...