Primary Sources

Report from the Working Conference of Opposition Leaders


This report, from September 1, 1988, details the meeting of a diverse coalition of Polish opposition members, consisting of trade unionists, academics, journalists and representatives of the Solidarity movement. They agreed that their major priorities were for talks with the government regarding the status of unions, pluralism, and economic and political reforms. They agreed to the establishment of topical planning groups, and to address the issue of "youth and generational differences" within the opposition. Their plans would later culminate in the Polish Round Table Talks of February 1989.


Andrzej Stelmachowski. "Report on a Working Conference [of Opposition Leaders]," September 1, 1988, Andrzej Stelmachowski Papers, trans. Jan Chowaniec, Cold War International History Project, Virtual Archive, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).

Primary Source—Excerpt

A report from a working conference.

At a meeting held on 1 September 1988, chaired by Prof. Andrzej Stelmachowski, there was a discussion on preparations to a possible "Roundtable." ...

Differences of opinion among the participants concerned mostly the degree of to which emphasis should be placed on the [legal] registration of "Solidarity" as opposed to the preparation of broader topics of possible future talks. Attention was drawn to the danger of too wide a range of topics, which might water down the cause of "Solidarity." In this connection it has been agreed that it is necessary to prepare a detailed schedule of negotiations, in which the question of "Solidarity" would be awarded the first place.

Another matter discussed was the status of social participants in the "Roundtable" discussions. It has been acknowledged that it has to be precisely defined.

As a result of the discussion it has been agreed:

1. The point of departure for the preparations for the talks is a document submitted by L. Walesa on 25 August 1988, in which three major areas for talks have been formulated: unions, pluralism of associations, and economic and political reforms;

2. The date for the meeting of the so-called Group of 60 was set for 9 October 1988 in Gdansk....

3. The formation of topical groups, which were to prepare papers for the Gdansk meeting, as well as for future talks conducted by L. Walesa. The following groups have been set up:

  • a group for trade union matters;
  • a group for economic questions....
  • a group for pluralism of associations....

It has been agreed that further topical groups should be established, which would cooperate with a group of "Solidarity" advisors. Among other things, the question of youth and generational differences should be brought up....

How to Cite this Source

Andrzej Stelmachowski, "Report from the Working Conference of Opposition Leaders," Making the History of 1989, Item #79, (accessed December 04 2021, 9:15 am).