U.S. Reaction to a New Prime Minister in Poland
In early June 1989, Poland held its first semi-free elections since the inception of Communist Party rule in the post-World War II era. The elections resulted in a solid defeat of Communism and a sound victory for the Solidarity opposition. Following the election, at the advice of Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, president Wojciech Jaruzelski, a Communist Party leader and president of Poland at the time, appointed Tadeusz Mazowiecki to the position of prime minister. Mazowiecki, a well-known journalist and Solidarity activist, became the first non-Communist prime minister in all of Eastern Europe since the 1940s. These telegrams from August 24, 1989, the day on which Mazowiecki was chosen for this position, between the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw and the U.S. secretary of state, exhibit the elation that American government officials felt about this historic moment in Eastern European history. In Poland (and in the region as a whole), Communism was being dismantled piece by piece.
U.S. Embassy Warsaw to U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Secretary of State to U.S. Embassy Warsaw, "Request for Instructions," 24 August 1989, Cold War International History Project, Documents and Papers, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).