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370 Document No. 68: Report to the HSWP CC Politburo by the Hungarian Ambassador to Warsaw September 18, 1981 The day after Hungarian leader János Kádár signed a letter to the Polish Central Committee (Document No. 66), Hungary’s ambassador to Warsaw delivered it to Kania. His lengthy report on the ensuing conversation is highly revealing of Kania’s attitude toward the crisis and how to resolve it. The ambassador’s description reveals a much more decisive and resourceful character than the irresolute and inept figure Moscow was increasingly disposed to see. Kania’s argument is straightforward : Poland’s problems arise from widespread social discontent that affects millions of Poles, not just a few counter-revolutionaries. To put down such a broadbased opposition would inevitably require force against the general population to an unprecedented degree. That in turn would trigger the introduction of outside military forces in order to augment Poland’s inadequate resources, which would “set back the development of socialism by decades. ” Kania clearly comes across as a loyal communist who fundamentally opposes Solidarity and is committed to pursuing the “physical annihilation” of “the enemy, ” yet is restrained by an awareness of the precariousness of the situation and by an aversion to causing major bloodshed. Report to the Politburo On September 18 in the morning, Stanisław Kania, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party, received me at my request. Following the instructions from home, I handed over a letter in the presence of comrade István Pataki, associate of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Central Committee of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party, addressed to the CC of the PUWP, written by comrade János Kádár on behalf of the HSWP CC. As a verbal addition, I referred to the circumstances leading to the creation of the aforementioned document, namely those factors in the process of events in Poland, which rendered the letter timely. I referred emphatically to the changing mood of public feeling in Hungary, to the fact that though our standpoint remained the same, the situation had considerably changed again. I confirmed that we invariably support the efforts taken by the PUWP to promote socialist development, furthermore that we welcome the decisions taken by the PUWP Politburo, but that we regard the turning of words into deeds and consistent work as the most important tasks today. Having read the letter, comrade Kania explained in his answer that correspondence was the usual way to maintain relations between our parties. He thought it natural that the letter signed by J. Kádár reflected great concern which had, in fact, solid ground after the congress of Solidarity in Gdańsk. The statements, 371 appeals and decisions made there, were definitely not casual ones in the development of Solidarity. Extremist elements have acquired decisive influence in the organization, in its policy and program. It became clear for the leadership of the PUWP that to negotiate an agreement with this faction of Solidarity was out of the question. The solution could be either a radical change in their attitude—that is, they would have to take up trade union functions—or the disablement of their activities. Although leaders of the party have no illusions, we must take into consideration that it is not merely counter-revolutionary forces which we are facing, but also the millions of the Polish working-class, for it is in this sphere where Solidarity is active. It includes hundreds of thousands of party members as well. Solidarity did not grow from counter-revolutionary efforts but from large-scale and nationwide social discontent. Here comrade Kania referred to J. Kádár’s wording , namely that “we could do more harm to ourselves than the enemy.” The leadership of the PUWP analyzed the situation and came to the following standpoint: regarding basic principles they were determined not to back down. In their opinion the central question in the existing situation was: “who will defeat whom[?]” The most important question to be answered by the Party was: how and by what means could they find a solution? This was also the topic of the session of the Politburo on September 15 and of the subsequent two-day voivodeship meeting of First Secretaries. Awareness that these processes must be put to an end and that counter-revolutionary aspirations must be stopped is getting stronger in the whole of the Party. They see it as a positive sign...

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