92. Memorandum From the Officer in Charge of Polish, Baltic, and Czechoslovak Affairs (Trivers) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Beam)1
Washington, October 15, 1956.
- Current Developments of Importance in Poland
The following is a brief summary of the most significant current developments in Poland:
- The Poznan Trials—Of the three trials initiated in connection with the Poznan uprising, two have been completed and the third will apparently end in the next few days. Sentences so far have been mild, and there are rumors that further trials already announced for the near future will be abandoned or postponed. The Belgian and British lawyers who attended the trials as observers have issued statements praising the freedom of the trials themselves but criticizing many aspects of Polish “justice.”
- Reply to Election Observer Invitation—The Polish Government has declined the invitation to send observers to witness the US elections but in an extremely conciliatory fashion. It has, at the same time, urged exchanges in other fields (such as parliamentary delegations) and the initiation of talks on mutual problems, such as blocked Polish assets in the US and restrictions on inheritances due to Polish citizens.2
- Preparations for December Elections—Discussions have been going on in the Sejm concerning the revision of the Polish electoral law prior to the elections in December. Revisions and perhaps an entirely new electoral law are to be expected and a certain choice among candidates may be given the electorate, but our Embassy in Warsaw does not anticipate the population will be given the opportunity to vote against the regime nor does it think a real opposition within the Sejm will be allowed.
- Regime Personnel Changes—Hilary Minc has resigned from the Politburo and as First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers.3 He is known to have been seriously ill for a long time, but the Polish [Page 252] domestic coverage of the event conveys the impression that his “dismissal” was necessary for the process of democratization. Minc and Berman4 (who resigned before him) were the two most prominent Jews in the Polish hierarchy. Four Deputy Ministers in the Ministry for Machine Industry have also been dropped, apparently as a repercussion of Poznan. Rumors concerning the future of former Party Secretary Gomulka have reached a new crescendo; all indications point to the likelihood of his being given a position of importance in the regime.
- Source: Department of State, Poland Desk Files: Lot 60 D 55, General Political Affairs. Secret. Drafted by Sutterlin (EUR/EE).↩
- Also invited were the Governments of the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Rumania. The Polish response to the September 21 U.S. invitation was unofficially translated and sent to the Department of State as an enclosure to despatch 144 from Warsaw, October 9. (Ibid., Central Files, 511.483/10–956) Telegram 406 from Warsaw, October 9, was a paraphrase of the October 8 Polish note. (Ibid., 511.603/10–956)↩
- Minc did so on October 9.↩
- See footnote 3, Document 63.↩