Poland, Bridge for the Abyss? An Interpretation of Developments in Post-War Poland

By Richard Hiscocks | Go to book overview

IX. THE 'OCTOBER DAYS' AND GOMUŁKA'S PROGRAMME

THE Soviet leaders stayed in Warsaw for less than twentyfour hours, from early morning on the 19th of October until early the following day. Apart from a brief official communiqué, the only documentary evidence of what went on during their discussions with the Polish delegates was the account given in the October number of Nowe Drogi of the proceedings at the Eighth Plenum of the Central Committee. This included statements by several of the Polish leaders containing references to the negotiations. They made clear the frank and heated nature of the conversations and at the same time explained official reticence on the subject. For a main aim of the Poles was to hold the Communist Party together, and neither side wished to do anything which would unnecessarily damage Soviet-Polish relations.

The two most revealing statements were made at the meeting of the Central Committee on the 20th of October by Aleksander Zawadzki, the Polish Head of State, and by Ochab himself. Zawadzki referred to the deep disquiet of the Soviet leaders concerning developments in Poland and especially concerning the development of various forms of anti-Soviet propaganda and the failure of the Poles to react or to react sufficiently against it. He went on to say that the Soviet delegation had drawn attention to the lack of adequate contacts and sources of information which had recently characterized Soviet-Polish relations:

The Comrades were interested also in our plans regarding the new composition of the Party leadership which would result from the Eighth Plenum of the Party Central Committee. They pointed out that the proposed composition of the Party leadership was already known everywhere and that, in spite of the relations which bind us to our Soviet comrades, we had not informed them about it.

The discussions, Zawadzki added, had been partisan, had involved

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