1)Extent of current Communist power in Poland, i.e. Nomenklatura; 2)Treatment of those who formerly sought asylum, upon return to Poland [POL2611]

1) As the attached articles illustrate, the status of the Nomenklatura, the list of positions staffed with the approval of the Communists under the previous regime, and thus the power of the former ruling Communist Party is unclear at the present time. Two articles in particular perhaps illustrate the current trend, however. One article in The New York Times of 1 October 1989 points out that the work of government censors has been substantially reduced and a former journalist for Solidarity publications has been appointed as the official spokesperson for the government. Also, it has been announced that the police force most closely identified with Communist oppression, the ZOMO, will be disbanded by the Interior Ministry, according to a report which appeared in The Globe and Mail on 30 September 1989.

2) The Department of External Affairs has informed us of changes to the Polish passport and visa regulations which took effect in January 1989. The department states that there are no longer any restrictions nor controls on the duration of stay outside the country. In addition, there is, apparently, no longer a penalty for illegal departure or for a long stay abroad. A spokesperson for the Ottawa Branch of the Canadian Polish Congress adds, however, that the issuance of passports can be an arbitrary process in Poland. Consequently, a person who stayed longer than the amount of time requested on their application for the exit card, or exit visa (if obtained previous to the institution to the new passport laws), may encounter difficulties in obtaining future travel documents from local authorities.

During a meeting between IRBDC Research Officers and Renata Wielgosz, an External Affairs official just returned from Poland, it was mentioned that political activists may be subject to harassment by local officials but these officials act without the knowledge nor the approval of the central authorities.

For your information a copy of the External Affairs telex regarding recent changes to the Polish passport regulations is attached.