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446 Document No. 81: Transcript of CPSU CC Politburo Meeting December 10, 1981 This crucial record, from just three days before the declaration of martial law, begins with the surprising comment by Brezhnev that the topic of Poland was not even on the Politburo’s agenda. Another interesting point about this document is that the substance of discussion at first is entirely about Poland’s economic needs, which were a critical issue underlying the entire crisis. Eventually, however, the talk turns to the political dimensions of the crisis and how the Soviet Union should respond. Moscow’s frustration with Jaruzelski’s vacillations remains high, even as the Polish leader appears to be on the verge of ordering the crackdown. Certainly their faith in his fortitude is as low as it has ever been. Here again, the question comes up as to whether the Soviets should resort to armed force. Perhaps nowhere in the available record is the answer more clearly given—by no less important figures than Suslov, Gromyko and Ustinov, among others—that under no circumstances are Soviet troops to be introduced. This seemingly unequivocal stance would have shocked most observers , particularly in the United States, where the unshakable assumption was that Moscow would never allow control of Poland to slip through their grasp. Unless and until the full record of Soviet leadership meetings becomes available, doubts will persist as to whether this was in fact the final Soviet position or a reflection of a desire not to face the ultimate decision as long as there was any hope of an alternative solution. […] I. On the question of the situation in Poland Brezhnev: This question does not appear on our agenda. But I think this session of the Politburo must begin with this question since we sent Cdes. Baibakov and Kulikov on a special mission to Poland to discuss urgent and pressing questions with the Polish comrades. On December 8, Cde. Kulikov provided information on the discussions he held in Warsaw, and yesterday, December 9, Cde. Baibakov reported from Warsaw that he held discussions with Cde. Jaruzelski. From these and subsequent discussions, it was apparent to Cde. Baibakov that the Polish comrades hope to receive additional raw and other materials during the first quarter of next year from the USSR and other socialist countries roughly in the amount of $1.5 billion. […] And now let us listen to Cde. Baibakov. Baibakov: Following the instructions of the Politburo I left for Warsaw. I met there with all of the comrades with whom it was necessary to talk over the questions I was entrusted with. First of all, I held a discussion with Deputy Director of the Council of Ministers Cde. Obodowski. In this discussion, the Polish comrades raised the ques- 447 tion of economic aid. I reported on the Polish request in a ciphered message [to Moscow]. It must be said that the list of goods the PPR has included as aid from us consists of 350 items in the amount of 1.4 billion rubles. It includes such goods as 2 million tons of grain, 25,000 tons of meat, 625,000 tons of iron ore and many other goods. Taking into account what we intended to give Poland in 1982, the total amount of aid to the Polish People’s Republic consists of roughly 4.4 billion rubles, taking into consideration the requests made by the Polish comrades. The time is now approaching for Poland to repay its credits to the West European countries. For this, Poland requires a minimum of 2.8 million hard-currency rubles. When I heard what our Polish comrades were asking and how much all of this aid amounted to, I raised the question of bringing our mutual economic relations into balance. Along with that, I noted that Polish industry is falling short of fulfilling its plan by significant margins. The coal industry, which is a fundamental source of foreign currency, is essentially disorganized, necessary measures are not being taken, and strikes are continuing. Now that there are no strikes, coal extraction is still occurring at a very low level. Or, for example, let us say, the peasants have products; there is grain, meat products, vegetables, and so on. But they give nothing to the state and are adopting a wait-and-see attitude. In the private markets, a rather active trade is being conducted and at very elevated prices. I said directly to the Polish comrades that more decisive measures must be...


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