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234 Document No. 38: Transcript of CPSU CC Politburo Meeting March 26, 1981 Poland’s worsening economic condition was a constant source of worry for the Kremlin. Previous crises in Poland in 1956 and 1970 also had their source in economic troubles. The situation was particularly intractable because the socialist camp was already stretched thin and found itself severely limited in its ability to bail Poland out (see, for example, Document No. 17). The only other evident solution was to acquiesce to aid from the West, which would inevitably increase Poland’s dependence on the capitalist world—a conclusion supported by analyses prepared in the West. Included in the discussion below is some useful basic economic data. […] 5. On the results of negotiations with the delegation of the Polish People’s Republic . Chernenko: Cdes. Baibakov, Garbuzov, Arkhipov and Alkhimov held negotiations with the deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of the PPR, Cde. Jaruzelski . The Polish side made a request for deliveries of raw materials for light industry, for an additional delivery of oil, metal, cellulose and other goods. There is a proposal to give approval to the PPR for an additional delivery in 1981 of chrome ore, sheet rock, asbestos and other materials, as well as a certain quantity of cotton and barley. Arkhipov: We give Poland a limited amount of raw materials because we simply cannot give any more. In particular, we are unable for now to give a positive answer regarding the processing of Soviet raw materials in Poland. Regarding the condition of agricultural affairs in Poland, Cde. Jaruzelski reported that the plan for 1981 is 20 percent lower than for 1980. Things are especially bad for the Poles with respect to coal. But coal, as is well-known, is an export item in Poland and is a source of hard currency. Instead of the 180 million tons anticipated in the plan, they will extract 170 million tons under good conditions . Meat production will decrease by 25 percent, sugar by one-and-a-half times. Instead of 1.5 million tons they will produce 950,000 tons, maximum. There is a question now about rationing the supply of bread and flour in Poland . As far as the financial situation, Poland’s credit liability, mainly to the capitalist countries, is 23 billion dollars. Of this, 9 billion was received under state guarantees. The remaining credits the Poles obtained from private banks. There are 400 such banks. Currently, our Polish friends are facing the fact of having to purchase various products from abroad in the amount of approximately 9.5 billion dollars. All of this will be taken care of through credits. Exports amount to 235 8.5 billion dollars total. In every way possible, the Western countries are putting off a decision on the question of allocating credit to Poland. Currently, they have to pay 1.5 billion dollars. This is mostly interest on credit. They are asking us for 700 million dollars. Of course, we cannot find that kind of sum. We are currently supplying Poland with oil, gas, iron ore, and so on without any delay. During the discussion, our Polish friends asked whether they should declare a moratorium on credits or join the International Monetary Fund and request additional credits from the Western countries. Of course, either case would be a concession to the Western countries. It will have no economic effect. The Poles are not unanimous in their opinion on these questions. They are asking us in addition to give them cotton and synthetic fibers. We decided to proceed with a certain increase in deliveries of cotton and synthetic fibers. Gromyko: The Polish comrades stressed the acuteness of the issue of imports because they cannot pay off these goods. But one should note that they do not attach great importance to raw materials deliveries from the Soviet Union, which is characteristic of them. They regard this matter as somehow trivial. But in reality , you know, it so happens that their cotton comes entirely from us, the ore is all from us, the oil is also ours. Arkhipov: We supply Poland with 13 million tons of oil at 90 rubles per ton. If one considers that the world price per ton is 170 rubles, then we receive from the Poles 80 rubles less per ton. We could sell all that oil for hard currency and the earnings would be colossal. Cdes. Andropov, Ustinov, Kirilenko and Grishin also spoke on this question. The resolution is...


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