Lech Walesa's Notes on the Roundtable Talks
Lech Walesa, leader of Poland's Solidarity Movement and outspoken critic of the communist party and state, a shipyard worker in the city of Gdansk, and later president of Poland following the collapse of Communism (1990-1995), wrote this note prior to the Roundtable Talks that eventually took place in February to April 1989. During the historic Roundtable Talks, Polish communist leaders met with their opponents to discuss numerous issues, including the legalization of the trade union federation Solidarity, economic reforms, workers' rights, and free elections. In this note, Walesa asked pointed questions about the procedures for the upcoming meeting, and he also clearly proposed his agenda for the talks, revealing the topics that he and many Poles viewed as important for the development of a more democratic state.
Lech Walesa, "[Note] Regarding Further Procedure of Talks," 1988, trans. Jan Chowaniec, Cold War International History Project, Virtual Archive, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).
The organization of the "Roundtable" talks has not been, as yet, precisely defined. Preliminary arrangements are needed very quickly. In particular, I am expecting a response to the following questions:
- How large a team is going to participate in the general debates of the Roundtable?
- What persons and representatives of what organizations have been invited or are going to be invited?
- What is the preliminary estimate of the duration of the Roundtable (what is meant here is the time estimate of the "first session," ending with decisions)?
- How large are the working groups going to be? From my part I am already proposing to define the agenda for the working groups, namely, (in brackets I give the names of my plenipotentiaries for the particular teams)
- Union pluralism (T. Mazowiecki)
- Economic questions (A. Wielowieyski)
- Social pluralism (K. Szaniawski)
- Political reform (B. Geremek)
- Law and the judicial system (J. Olszewski)
- Agriculture and agricultural union (A. Stelmachowski)
- Mining questions (A. Pietrzyk).
Following these preliminary explanations it will be possible to set the date of the first meeting. [signed by Lech Walesa]