restricted access Document No. 51: Transcript of PUWP CC Politburo Meeting during Break in CC Session, June 10, 1981
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299 Document No. 51: Transcript of PUWP CC Politburo Meeting during Break in CC Session June 10, 1981 This brief Politburo session takes place during a break in a larger Central Committee meeting, at which hard-liners were attempting to remove both Kania and Jaruzelski on the strength of the recent CPSU CC letter (see the previous document). Addressing the Politburo, Kania places himself at the disposal of his colleagues in a gesture aimed at preserving leadership unity—and no doubt his own position. At the time, the so-called horizontalist movement had gained strength and appeared to be in a position to split the party. The discussion that ensued is notable for its candor. In the end, most of the members circled together and rejected Moscow’s apparent designs, forcing the Kremlin to recognize that the hard-liners had lost this round. This record shows that Kania and Jaruzelski were hardly the passive and ineffectual leaders the Kremlin seemed to believe. In fact they were capable of highly effective political action under extreme pressure, holding off Soviet and hard-line challenges for months while trying to broker a viable compromise with the opposition. […] Cde. Stanisław Kania: Steering the country out of crisis requires unity in the leadership. Today the division in our leadership is a fact. I am aware of my responsibility . The matter concerns me and therefore I am at your disposal without waiting for the vote results. Cde. Henryk Jabłoński: I think that we should think about and take a position on the motion tabled by Comrade Najdowski and Comrade Rybicki. Cde. Stanisław Kania: I do not believe today is precisely the moment to explain oneself in detail. Cde. Tadeusz Grabski: Comrade Kania, this function cannot be performed without the trust of the allies. I thought that you were going to convene a session of the Politburo yesterday. Without the changes in personnel everything will proceed for the worst. You do not have the confidence of the allies, and without it you will not be able to do anything. This is a fundamental matter. We are all submitting to elections. Cde. Wojciech Jaruzelski: In the situation that has developed, I submit my resignation as a member of the PB. Cde. Mieczysław Moczar: I also submit my resignation as a member of the PB. Cde. Mieczysław Jagielski: I submit my resignation as a member of the PB, especially since I had a certain incident in my life.26 I also submit my resignation as vice premier. 26  Jagielski may be referring to a recent heart attack. 300 Cde. Stefan Olszowski: Let us think coolly, without emotions. I harbor a bad opinion regarding the statements of both Comrade Grabski and Comrade Barcikowski . The Soviet Union decides Poland’s fate, but the party’s fate is decided by the nation. We must lead the party towards the congress; this is our great responsibility . We will either proceed together or we will fall apart a month before the congress. Cde. Andrzej Żabiński: The effectiveness of our actions, mine included, has constantly fallen short. I have always defended the position of the Politburo without, however, being certain whether it is susceptible to change or not. For example, even regarding the matter of releasing the members of the CIP. We did as much as we could in the Bureau. The CWPP [Communist Workers’ Party of Poland] letter alarmed me very much. I am of the opinion that in order to lead we should have the support of the party base and of the allies. I see that the latter’s support is also close to becoming exhausted. I will submit to a vote. Today’s CC plenum was prepared somewhat loosely, for which we will bear responsibility. Before the Politburo all documents should be approved. Comrade Kania, constant concessions have caused distrust in the party apparatus and among the party aktiv. Cde. Henryk Jabłoński: We are responsible for the country’s fate and nobody will exempt us from it. This same CC plenum pushed us towards settling accounts . This is how it was at the central level and in the voivodeships. Today we must not give up so easily. In the party and in the country, people are very worried that it will come to a head. Individual resignations from the Politburo now will be interpreted as a protest against the letter of the CPSU. It is another matter if we evaluate ourselves as...