Democratic Poland Turns 24

We’re celebrating, and so should you!  Find out why by reading this release from our Polish Consulate in Chicago.  Visit the original page at:  http://www.chicago.mfa.gov.pl/en/

Europe’s reaction to Round Table talks and 1989 election: MFA declassifies dispatches of Polish embassies

253 encoded dispatches from Cologne, Paris, London and Rome – a unique record of relations with European partners during political transition – have now been made available on the MFA’s website to mark the anniversary of the 4 June 1989 parliamentary election.

Drawn up by heads of the four key embassies of the Polish People’s Republic, the materials document Europe’s reaction to changes that took place in Poland in 1989. “Europe was a little concerned about the rapid pace of transformation and the possibility of destabilization. So the West would send us signals: changes are desirable and keep going, but stay within the bounds of law and don’t rush,” Professor Andrzej Paczkowski underscored, commenting on the MFA materials.

Apart from Polish embassies’ dispatches, the collection includes excerpts from reports by diplomatic missions in the Federal Republic of Germany and the UK, as well as a transcript of General Wojciech Jaruzelski’s conversation with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher from 10 June 1989. “These documents are extremely valuable. We are not talking here about a later reconstruction but an authentic record of how Poland was seen at a crucial moment in its history,” says Małgorzata Mroczkowska, Deputy Director of the MFA Bureau of Archives and Information Management.

The international public opinion showed great interest for what was happening in Poland at that time. For European politicians and opinion makers, Polish diplomatic posts were an untypical source of information about the Round Table and its aftermath.

“4 June was perceived as the first step towards implementing the [Round Table] agreement. The election took place and the Polish United Workers’ Party accepted its outcome. It all proved to be working well. But changes were still seen as part of the ongoing deep economic and political reform,” Professor Paczkowski notes. According to the scholar, the declassified diplomatic correspondence demonstrates that the sea change in the discourse about Poland came only after 24 August 1989, when Tadeusz Mazowiecki formed Poland’s first non-communist government.

The materials also clearly show great efforts made by Polish diplomats to bring home Poland’s economic situation to the West. Rather than focusing solely on political issues, the ambassadors were also convincing Europe to grant Poland loans and invest in our country.

The collection of 253 dispatches is yet another interesting source of information about Polish history and the history of diplomacy. In 2008, a comparable set of data was made available by the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences, which published correspondence between the Polish People’s Republic embassy in Washington and the MFA head office.

To access the declassified dispatches, follow this link:

http://www.msz.gov.pl/pl/ministerstwo/historia/zbioryon-line/polski__okragly_stol__z_perspektywy_kolonii__londynu__paryza_i_rzymu

(polish version)

 

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