Line "G". Reaction of OECD countries to economic transformations in Poland through the lens of civil intelligence service in the 80s.

Mirosław Sikora

Poland's drift towards the free market (despite ongoing engagement in Comecon), which began in the first half of the 1980s, did not go unnoticed in Western countries. Their interest in economic transformation of Poland was also related to the growing Polish efforts to join International Monetary Fund and World Bank, as well as to regain the Most Favored Nation clause in trade with the USA, and finally to relax western restrictions on the sale of licenses and dual-use goods.

Department I of the Ministry of the Interior (intelligence), using its foreign assets, collected, processed and disseminated information on the image of Poland reflected by foreign governmental institutions and international entities involved in regulation of global economic relations. The task of the intelligence was moreover to warn domestic authorities about important decisions of governments and multinationals, that could slow down or endanger Polish efforts towards the economic and scientific integration with OECD area. In order to execute that mission the intelligence established informal contacts to influential representatives of business milieus and officials in Brussels, London, Washington and other countries.

The author's research method bases on the analysis of documents created by the civil intelligence service of the Polish People's Republic within the scope defined by the so-called "G" line, which was a code name for economic information (finance, trade, natural resources) obtained by intelligence officers in non-socialist countries and processed by the intelligence HQ in Warsaw. Those documents are going to be juxtaposed with expertise produced by economist prior and after 1990.

The point of paper is to shed more light on and try to answer such questions as: what economic trajectories did the government of the PPR strive to follow (and shape) by means of intelligence in the first place? What types of actors (states, companies, organizations, think-tanks) have found themselves in the scope of Polish intelligence’s  activity? Furthermore: did the western (usually positive) reception of pro-market reforms in the PPR acted as feedback mechanism, and in the result had an impact on the acceleration of those reforms in Poland? Finally: to what extent and with regard to which problems did the intelligence turned out to be a useful tool in international economic game played by Polish government in the eve of strategic shift in the Europe in the turn of the 80s and 90s.

Tina Andersen