Minutes of Meeting of the PZRR CC Secretariat after Elections
In early June 1989, Poland held its first semi-free elections since the inception of Communism following the Second World War. In the first round of these elections, Poles exhibited strong anti-Communist and pro-Solidarity sentiments, surprising both sides. Immediately after the first round of these elections, the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR, i.e., Communist Party) met to discuss the disappointing and concerning results. These meeting minutes point to how the Communist leadership in Poland planned to respond to this election both publicly and privately. This document indicates that, to everyone's surprise, Communist leaders were willing to accept the results, recognized that Poles were ready for a change, and noted the weaknesses of the party.
"Minutes No. 64 from an expanded meeting of the PZPR CC Secretariat of held on June 5, 1989," trans. Jan Chowaniec, Cold War International History Project, Documents and Papers, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).
...Com. Cz. Kiszczak - ... Election results have exceeded the opposition's expectations. They are shocked, don't know how to behave. Elections to the Senate are a total disaster for us.
...Com. A. Kwasniewski emphasized that a matter extremely important after announcing the election results is to prevent spontaneous demonstrations, which neither side might be able to control....
...Com. L. Miller expressed anxiety over the condition of the party. Part of it didn't support their own candidates.... Also our trade unions and social organizations didn't support us.....
Com. J. Urban -...Election results prove that the party in its present form has outlived itself. It needs an innovative political, ideological and organizational concept, otherwise there will be disintegration.
...Com. Z. Michalek - The election result is a crisis of confidence in us....
...Com. I. Sekula - The election results prove that the society wants changes. The party has started the process of changes, but is conducting them very slowly, not radically. We have not fulfilled expectations; that is why "S" has won.
... Com S. Ciosek - I don't understand the reasons for the defeat. The party has to pay for it, it didn't follow us. It's a bitter lesson. Those responsible will have to bear the consequences. ... Guilt is on our side. We trusted the Church, and they have turned out to be Jesuits. We overestimated our possibilities and have turned out to be deprived of the base. We have to keep in mind that very soon various claims and pressures will be rising like an avalanche - e.g. against the mass media. Radical changes must take place in the party.
Com. M.F. Rakowski - We had a false assessment of the situation. ... What has happened in Poland is going to have tremendous impact outside (USSR, Hungary, other countries). This may lead to upheavals in the whole camp, this must be driven to social awareness.
...Com. W. Jaruzelski [leader of Poland and PZPR] suggested to adopt the following findings:
-on June 6th hold a Politburo meeting, and in the afternoon a conference with the first secretaries of the Voivodship Committees and division heads of the CC, jointly with the Politburo,
-urgently seek talks with the opposition leadership, including a meeting of the Prime Minister with [Lech] Walesa,
-urgently hold a meeting of the Commission on an Understanding of the "round table,"
-hold talks with the Church (modo privato), possibly a meeting with Primate [Jozef] Glemp,
-set the date for the XIII plenum in consultation with the first secretaries of the Voivodship Committees,
-submit for decision by the Politburo and consultations with the first secretaries of the Voivodship Committees the matters of visits to Belgium and England and president Mitterand in Poland,
-send out to all party members a letter of the Politburo (submit the draft to the first secretaries of the Voivodship Committees)....