A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 4: Gen. Jan Drzewiecki's Critique of the
Statute of the Unified Command, November 3, 1956
One of the more sensational documents to come to light after the Cold War, this cri- tique of the Statute of the Unified Command shows how far the Poles, in this instance, were willing and able to go to question the very foundations of the Warsaw Treaty just over a year after it was established. In the fall of 1956, Jan Drzewiecki was in charge of operational planning for the Polish army when a committee was formed in the Defense Ministry concerned with the reform of military relations between Poland and the Soviet Union. This was a controversial issue because the defense minister, Konstanty Rokos- sowski, was a Soviet citizen. Drzewiecki was asked to prepare a memo analyzing the statute. Objecting to the arbitrary powers allotted to the Soviets, he argues that the rights and prerogatives of the Soviet-dominated command are incompatible with the sover- eignty of independent states, which were members of the Warsaw Treaty. He also extends his criticism to other, previous agreements imposed by the Soviet Union, which were not subject to ratification by the Polish parliament or even made available for the infor- mation of the Foreign Ministry.
REMARKS AND PROPOSALS REGARDING THE DOCUMENT:
"Statute of the Unified Command of the Armed Forces
of Member-States of the Warsaw Treaty"
I. GENERAL REMARKS
The document in its present form grants the Supreme Commander of the Unified Armed Forces certain rights and obligations, which contradict the idea of the independence and sovereignty of member-states of the Warsaw Treaty.Particularly:
a. the document does not specifically determine the manner of subordination and responsibilities of the Supreme Commander; moreover, his subordination to the Political Consultative Committee is described very loosely;
b. from the above one can infer the supranational character of the Supreme Commander and his staff, which may also be concluded from their rights and responsibilities;
c. the competences of the Supreme Commander regarding combat training are contradictory to "the idea of" maintaining the national character of the army, and are the basis for introducing in all armies compulsory regulations governing the routine and order of military life;

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A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991
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