restricted access Document No. 44: Transcript of CPSU CC Politburo Meeting, April 16, 1981
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265 Document No. 44: Transcript of CPSU CC Politburo Meeting April 16, 1981 After the extremely tense meeting at Brest (see Document No. 43), where the strain on Jaruzelski in particular was strongly in evidence, the Soviets decided to lighten their approach somewhat. At this Politburo discussion, Brezhnev advocates maintaining pressure but not pushing the Poles to a point where they “build up their nervousness ” and “lose heart.” Evincing some frustration at the difficulty in finding a solution to the crisis, Brezhnev appears to gently chide the Commission on Poland for not yet producing a set of promised proposals. In calling for a strategic look at the issue, he implicitly acknowledges the possibility that resolving the situation will be a long-term proposition. […] 2. On the discussion between Cde. L. I. Brezhnev and PUWP CC First Secretary Cde. S. Kania (by telephone). Brezhnev: Yesterday I talked on the telephone with Kania. The notes of the discussion have been distributed, and the comrades apparently have familiarized themselves with them. Therefore, I will be brief. From the conversation with Kania it is apparent that after the session of the Sejm our friends were somewhat encouraged. They gained more confidence in themselves. That by itself is not bad. But it is impossible not to see that conditions remain as before—extremely complex—and the present lull is clearly short-term. It was in this spirit, as you saw, that I spoke with Kania. In general, it is very important for us now to maintain the proper tone in our relations with our friends. On the one hand, there is no need to aggravate them unnecessarily, nor to build up their nervousness so that they lose heart. But on the other hand, we should exercise constant pressure in a tactful manner to turn their attention to the errors and the weaknesses in their policies, and to advise them in a comradely way as to what they should do. Comrades Andropov and Ustinov held an extremely useful meeting with Kania and Jaruzelski. We should clearly continue this practice until the severity of the crisis subsides. Perhaps we should think about holding a similar confidential meeting in the near future, this time with the participation of Cdes. Suslov and Rusakov. Our Commission, I know, is meeting constantly and discussing what needs to be done. They have promised soon to convey certain impressions and proposals. Along with this very important work, we should also continue to prepare a broader, so to speak, strategic analysis, which will allow us to step back from 266 events and evaluate a more long-term perspective on the development of events in and around Poland. And lastly, I wanted to ask the opinion of the comrades as to whether we should inform our closest friends of the discussion that has taken place. They are all very uneasy about the situation in Poland and it will be important for them to know about the actions we are taking. If there are no objections, we will do so. Andropov: The discussion was very pithy. Chernenko: This discussion conveyed clear and precise orders to the comrades from the PUWP leadership, and in addition Leonid Ilyich responded approvingly concerning certain of their measures. That is very good. Ustinov: The Polish friends received comprehensive instructions. Tikhonov: Now it is very important that they put these instructions into practice . Brezhnev: I think that we clearly should inform the leaders of the fraternal parties about our conversation with the Polish leaders. The members of the Politburo support this proposal. The decision is adopted: 1. To approve the telephone discussion by CPSU CC General Secretary Cde. Brezhnev with PUWP CC First Secretary Cde. S. Kania. 2. To consider it expedient to inform the leaders of the fraternal parties of the socialist countries about the content of the discussion with regard to the exchange of opinions that occurred at the CPSU CC Politburo session. 3. To instruct the CC Department to prepare an informational text on this question. [Source: RGANI, Fond 89, Opis 42, Delo 41. Translated by Malcolm Byrne for the National Security Archive.] ...