Primary Sources

A speech by Mr. Józef Czyrek at a founding meeting of the Polish Club of International Relations

Description

On May 11, 1988, Józef Czyrek, a member of the Polish Politburo, inaugurated the Polish Club of International Relations, an organization unprecedented in that it included both members of the government and of opposition organizations. Meant to coincide with the announcement of dramatic economic reforms by the Sejm (historically the lower half of parliament in Poland, during the Socialist period the sole legislative body), the speech acknowledged the ongoing economic and political crisis in Poland, the need for political pluralism, and the need for cooperation with countries outside of the Soviet sphere. The speech obliquely acknowledged the influence that many Polish opposition leaders had achieved abroad. Although the Club did not go on to any significant political achievements, its founding is important because it points to an attempt by the government to foster civil society in Poland.

Source

Józef Czyrek, "Speech at the Founding Meeting of the Polish Club of International Relations," speech, Poland, May 11 1988, Cold War International History Project, Virtual Archive, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).

Primary Source—Excerpt

1. Together with our host, Professor Aleksander Gieysztor, we have envisioned the founding of a Polish Club of International Relations. . . I am convinced that outstanding representatives of different circles and orientations will join in the activities of the Club, which we want to base on the recognition of pluralism and understanding....

3. This assumes a wide representation of points of view and opinions, lively and unrestrained discourse on all questions of Polish foreign policy, relations in Europe and the world, aiming at a consensus through dialogue....

4. Proposals to create this kind of social body have been suggested by different circles for some time…Recent developments not only do not undermine such a need, quite to the contrary—they fully emphasize its importance....

6. In various discussions, including those held within our party, the idea of building some kind of pro-reform coalition or anti-crisis pact is being put forward. There is no doubt that Poland needs this kind of coalition very badly....

7. There is a broad understanding of the correctness of the alliance with the USSR and other socialist states.... There is also broad support for the unambiguously peaceful purposes of our foreign policy, and particularly [for] active participation in building joint security in Europe and constructively shaping East-West relations, including the need for positive developments in relations with Western countries. We fully appreciate the significance of international law, including human rights....

9. It is our conviction [that] the Club, in addition to its other purposes, should also serve in shaping political culture. It should act on its principles and at the same time make a significant contribution in the deepening of society. We think that this understanding will gain support, because one cannot build a national understanding without political culture.

How to Cite this Source

Józef Czyrek, "A speech by Mr. Józef Czyrek at a founding meeting of the Polish Club of International Relations," Making the History of 1989, Item #78, http://chnm.gmu.edu/1989/items/show/78 (accessed September 20 2014, 6:04 pm).

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