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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 93: Report on the Committee of Ministers
of Defense Meeting in Moscow, December 1–4, 1981

At this meeting of the Committee of Defense Ministers in Moscow, the main topic is not Poland but the Reagan administration's proposal for a zero option on medium- range missiles in Europe. Soviet Marshal Dmitrii Ustinov declares that the correlat- ion of forces is not in the Warsaw Pact's favor—except in the area of nuclear weapons; therefore the U.S. proposal is unacceptable. On the third day of the session, Poland is discussed. Polish Defense Minister Florian Siwicki asks the group to approve a draft communiqué regarding a declaration of martial law he has brought with him, refer- ring to the need for measures to ensure the security of the entire socialist community. The Polish argument adds that a strong statement is needed to help counter potential claims by the West that a crackdown was neither necessary nor supported by Poland's allies. But the underlying aim was to come up with a justification for the Polish people for instituting martial law. The discussion was contentious and the draft underwent several modifications. In the end, the desired communiqué was never issued.

"…"

Between December 1–4, 1981, the 14th meeting of the Committee of Ministers of Defense of the Warsaw Pact member-states took place in Moscow under the chairmanship of Marshal D"mitri" Ustinov, minister of defense of the Soviet Union. The participants at the meetings included all the members of the defense ministers committee, except Army General W"ojciech" Jaruzelski, defense minister of the Polish People's Republic. The Polish People's Army (PPA) delegation was headed by Col. Gen. F"lorian" Siwicki, chief of General Staff and deputy national defense minister of the PPR. Each point of the agenda was discussed in the following order.

1. Analysis of the state and developmental tendencies of the armed forces of the aggressive NATO bloc.

The head of the Chief Directorate of Information and deputy chief of the USSR General Staff, Army General P.I. Ivashutin, in his introductory speech, thoroughly analyzed the current state of the international military and political situation. It was consistent with the appraisal made at the 26th CPSU Congress as well as the congress of fraternal socialist states.

PPA Chief of Staff Col. Gen. Siwicki said in his speech, among other things, that the complex socio-economic situation in the country might produce, in the near future, serious disturbances in arms and military procurement for the PPA as well as for the armies of the alliance. He then spoke about the significance of the state of the army's political morale. He noted that as a result of the situation in the country, fundamental changes were introduced in party and political work. More time had been spent on it. The quality of party and youth meetings had improved, including the intensity of

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