Primary Sources

Minutes of a Meeting of the Presidium of Citizens' Parliamentary Club


In early June 1989, Poland held its first semi-free elections since the inception of Communist Party rule in the post-World War II era. Poles indicated strongly their anti-Communist and pro-Solidarity sentiments, as evidenced by the solid defeat of Communism in this election. A few weeks after this historic election, the new pro-Solidarity parliamentary leaders formed the Citizens' Parliamentary Club, led by Solidarity activist Bronisław Geremek. These minutes of a meeting held on August 16, 1989, point to the types of discussions that took place and tensions that evolved among this group of leaders, eventually leading to the development of two factions, one conservative and one liberal. As this document so clearly shows, the process of creating a new form of governing in a time of turmoil and uncertainty was ongoing and difficult.


Citizens' Parliamentary Club, "Minutes of a Meeting of the Presidium of the Citizens' Parliamentary Club," August 1989, trans. Jan Chowaniec, Archives of the Bureau of Senate Information and Documentation, Cold War International History Project, Documents and Papers, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).

Primary Source—Excerpt

...K. Kozlowski: The PUWP [Polish United Workers' Party, i.e., Communist Party] wants to do everything to eliminate Lech Walesa [Solidarity leader and later president of Poland].

...B. Geremek: Is it possible that they will appoint Walesa?

E. Wende: Orzechowski has very clear plans regarding two ministries.

A. Stelmachowski: With bargaining there will be more!

L. Walesa: Generally we are reporting that a new coalition has been set up. It will select the most suitable candidate for prime minister. For the time being we don't say who that will be.

E. Wende: He is referring to information from the PUWP circles, we should not exaggerate, there are warnings.

J. Kaczynski: The question of two ministries has been stated clearly in talks. With the preservation of the president's prerogatives, this needs to be stated once again. The compromise has to be reached on their side.

...L. Walesa: We have learned that there is always someone above the authorities and above the law.

A. Michnik: How do you perceive the position of the PUWP?

L. Walesa: We need to create a new coalition, which will stand up to the PUWP. How to form a government to secure both freedom and be tolerant.

B. Geremek: The main thing is that the PUWP doesn't form the government.

L. Walesa: ...... and doesn't impose it!

...L. Walesa: It's not me who wants to be prime minister. I have my three candidates. If this proposition doesn't break down, I will be asking you to form the government.

B. Geremek: Does anyone have any comments?

A. Michnik: I think that if you listen to their argument, it means that you are going into their paws. Krolewski and Malinowski were stubbornly sticking to this coalition, which means they were doing it with Jaruzelski's approval. We need to form a government with the masters, not with the lackeys.

...A. Michnik: You are not going to make a real government with the ZSL and the SD [political parties that had been allied with the PUWP]. The PUWP can be broken down.

B. Geremek: The present phase—with the assistance of the ZSL and SD—is an attempt to break down PUWP's monopoly.

How to Cite this Source

Citizens' Parliamentary Club, "Minutes of a Meeting of the Presidium of Citizens' Parliamentary Club." Making the History of 1989, #404.