The George Washington University
Gelman Library, Suite 701
2130 H Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
|April 5, 2001||
For more information contact:
Gregory F. Domber: 202 / 994-7076
PRESS RELEASE “Solidarity's Coming Victory: Big or Too Big?”
NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE RELEASES DOCUMENTS ON
POLAND'S REVOLUTION AS SEEN FROM THE U.S. EMBASSY
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Twelve years ago today in Warsaw members of Poland’s communist government, officials of the Catholic Church, and representatives of the Solidarity trade union signed the Round Table Agreements, a landmark power-sharing agreement that set the stage for Poland’s first free elections since World War II. To mark the anniversary, the National Security Archive is publishing on the web a new electronic briefing book, “Solidarity’s Coming Victory: Big or Too Big?,” featuring recently declassified Department of State documents detailing the U.S. embassy’s amazingly accurate, mid-April predictions for Solidarity’s June electoral victory, as well as documenting for the first time U.S. Ambassador John R. Davis, Jr.’s secret meetings with both Solidarity and Communist officials during the tensest days of the revolution.
The documents include secret and confidential cable traffic between the Secretary of State in Washington and the U.S. embassy in Warsaw from January through September 1989 covering Poland’s extraordinary revolution: the Round Table negotiations from February 6 to April 5, Solidarity’s overwhelming victory in free elections held June 4 and 18, an ensuing presidential crisis over the future of General Wojciech Jaruzelski’s political life, President George Bush’s July visit to Warsaw, and Lech Walesa’s successful maneuvering in August to create the first non-Communist government in Eastern Europe in nearly 50 years. According to Greg Domber, research assistant for the Archive’s Openness in Russia and Eastern Europe Project who compiled and edited the briefing book, “These new materials are an indispensable window into American policy-makers’ minds as they reacted to, shaped, and sought to control the pace of revolution as it swept across Eastern Europe.”
Documents of particular interest include:
Ambassador Davis’ prophetic analysis, penned shortly after the Round Table agreements were signed, predicting the Communist party would meet “total defeat and great embarrassment” at the hands of Solidarity in the June elections.
A U.S. embassy cable written shortly before the first round of free elections, demonstrating the embassy’s growing anxiety over an all-out Solidarity victory, anxiety that would eventually lead the U.S. to work to restrain Solidarity’s push for political control in Poland.
Ambassador Davis’s accounts of: a meeting with high-ranking Solidarity officials during which the ambassador scribbled notes on the back of an embassy matchbook on how to elect Jaruzelski president without loosing face, and a secret meeting with Interior Minister and Politburo Member Czeslaw Kiszczak at the height of the crisis over Solidarity’s bid to create their own government.
Go to the Documents