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New Kuklinski Documents on Martial Law in Poland Released


Related: More documents from CWIHP on Ryszard Kukliński

Related: Ryszard Kukliński Collection in the CWIHP Digital Archive

The Central Intelligence Agency today released 82 documents relating to one of the most significant espionage cases of the Cold War, the case of Polish Army Col. Ryszard Kuklinski. Kuklinski, a senior officer on the Polish General Staff and aide to Polish prime minister and communist party chief (and later president) Wojciech Jaruzelski, had volunteered his services to the United States Army during a sailing trip to northern Germany in 1972. For over nine years, Kuklinski provided the CIA with more than 40,000 pages of documents regarding the innermost secrets of the Warsaw Pact, "the secrets of the kitchen" (Jaruzelski), including war plans--intelligence that was deemed of "truly great strategic significance" by Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser. Much of the documentation photographed by Kuklinski at great personal risk (with the door to his office unlocked) was passed to the CIA through clandestine exchanges during boat trips, some 63 moving car exchanges and also through dead drops.

During the 1980-81 Polish Crisis he continued to provide information on Warsaw Pact planning, internal Polish developments and Soviet pressures. From the initial outbreak of labor unrest and the rise of the independent trade union "Solidarnosc" (Solidarity) to the declaration of Martial Law on 12/13 December 1981 Kuklinski provided period reporting and commentary on the chaotic progression of events. His reporting focused on the refinement of the plans for introducing martial law (with which, much to his frustration he was tasked), internal debates within the party and military leadership, and the constant pressure from Moscow on the Polish communist regime to contain and destroy the labor union.

The documents released today (see links below) include a 1977 document outlining governmental tasks in the event of a threat to national security; 18 reports by Kuklinski on information and impressions gained from his close contacts on the Polish General Staff and from contact with Soviet officers; 42 reports relaying Martial Law planning documents, 16 reports based on Kuklinski information disseminated after the declaration of Martial law on 13 December 1981, as well as one 1983 report prepared by Kuklinski after his (and his family's) extraction to the United States.

Further study will be required to assess the significance of these newly released materials. They add to Kuklinski materials released earlier and reprinted (in part) in CWIHP Bulletin No. 11, and to CWIHP Special Working Paper No. 1: Soviet Deliberations During the Polish Crisis, 1980-1981, which provides other crucial internal Soviet documents on the Martial Law Crisis.

Additional Warsaw Pact materials will soon be published on the CWIHP website.

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