Mr. Edward Gierek, the First Secretary of the Polish United Workers' party, has just been?
1970 SV PAN FROM Pithead TO Gierek greeted by mining officials (3 shots)
SV INT Gierek greeting miners
SV Miners listen to speaker at meeting (2 shots)
1971 SV PAN Gierek touring shipyard at Gdansk (2 shots)
Czechoslovakia 1972 GV Warsaw Pact meeting Ministers around table
SV Zhivkov and Todorov of Bulgaria
CU Brezhnev PAN TO Kosygin
CU Gierek ZOOM OUT TO Jaroszewicz
SV Ministers seated around table
Poland SV Gierek enters polling station, shakes hands, he and wife vote (2 shots)
TGV Parliament sitting (2 shots)
SV Gierek seated (right) Parliament voting
France. SV EXT Elysee Palace
SV ZOOM Gierek speaking and talking to Pompidou (2 shots)
Poland. SV Wehner and Gierek take seats in conference room
SV & CU Gierek and Wehner talking (4 shots)
U.S.A. 1974. GV Gierek and wife on balcony with Ford at White House as crowds look on (3 shots)
Poland. 1975 SV Auschwitz camp
SV Gierek and Giscard at wreathlaying and touring camp (3 shots)
GIEREK WITH POLISH MINERS (1970): VISITING GDANSK SHIPYARDS (1971): AT WARSAW PACT MEETING, PRAGUE: VOTING IN ELECTION AND SITTING IN PARLIAMENT: VISITING POMPIDOU IN PARIS: RECEIVING WEHNER OF WEST GERMANY (ALL 1972): VISITING WASHINGTON (1974): WITH GISCARD AT AUSCHWITZ (1975).
Initials BB/2100 JH/JB/BB/2140
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Background: Mr. Edward Gierek, the First Secretary of the Polish United Workers' party, has just been given a renewed vote of confidence from his party congress. It comes five years after he took over the office from Mr. Wladyslaw Gomulka, at a time of serious economic unrest in Poland.
Mr. Gierek took office on December 20th, 1970, after three northern cities is Poland had erupted into rioting, touched off by the announcement of price increases. He immediately promised action to improve the lot of workers with low pay and large families, and imposed a price freeze. The picture he painted in his opening speech to the party congress last week, of stable prices, increased production, rising real wages and higher investment indicated that he had largely carried out his promises though he warned the congress that some price rises were now inevitable, and that expansion in future would be slower
Now 62, Mr. Gierek is rooted in one of Poland's major heavy industries, coal mining. He is the son of a miner who was killed in a pit accident, and himself went to work in the mines at the age of 13. Most of his youth was spent working in France, from which he was expelled for organising strikes, and then in Belgium, where he served in the Resistance during the Second World War. He returned home to Poland in 1948, and studied to become a mining engineer in Silesia. He became Party Secretary for Katowice, in the heart of Poland's coalmining region, and built up a reputations an efficient administrator. Though a stauch and lifelong Communist, he has been described as a "technocrat" rather than a party idealist.
Internationally, Mr. Gierek has always regarded friendship with the Soviet Union as the linchpin of Polish policy. Poland play her full part in the Warsaw Pact and the trading organisation, Comecon. Mr. Gierek confirmed this in his address to last week's congress; but he also said "We shall also utilise the possibilities of expanding commodity exchange, as well as industrial, scientific and technical cooperation with capitalist states".
Poland has been trading extensively with the West as part of Mr. Gierek's policy of improving living standards for the people but this has left with the largest hard currency deficit in Eastern Europe. The need for exports to pay some of her debts is one of the reasons why Mr. Gierek made it clear that further improvements would come about more slowly.
Mr. Gierek has travelled abroad fairly widely during his first term of office. His first official visit was to France, where he was received by President Pompidou. After spending so many years there, he speaks fluent French. Last year, he went to Washington; and this year he has received both President Giscard D'Estaing and President Ford in Warsaw. Most of the negotiations for the agreement restoring normal relations with West Germany after the war took place before Mr. Gierek came to power; but difficulties arose over carrying it out, particularly with regard to the return of people of German origin living in Poland. Mr. Gierek helped to iron these out in talks with the West German Chancellor, Herr Schmidt, while they were both attending the Helsinki summit this summer.
There are plenty of difficulties ahead for Poland, particularly in the economic field. But the Polish people have a leader in whom they appear to have confidence, who is very much in command of the situation in home and foreign affairs, and who has shown his readiness to tackle problems on a practical basis.
SYNOPSIS: Just five years ago, Mr. Edward Gierek was elected First Secretary of the Polish United Workers' Party the most powerful political figure in Poland. He was fiftyseven, and had spent nearly all his life in the coalfields. A miner's son, he started work in the pits in France at the age of thirteen; moved to Belgium and finally back to Silesia. There he became a party worker and organiser at Katowice, in the heart of Poland's mining area, and eventually its leading representative.
Mr. Gierek came to power as a result of the food riots in the northern shipyard towns in December 1970. After hearing the people's grievances, he promised to hold prices steady.
During these five years, Poland has remained a firm ally of the Soviet Union. It has played its part in the Warsaw Pact here holding a summit meeting in Prague and in Comecon.But Mr. Gierek has also encouraged trade with the west when it would help raise Poland's living standards.
With the full support of the electorate, he has now been able to claim that much of what he promised has come about. His latest speech to the party congress told of stable prices, increased production, higher real wages, rising investment. But at the same time, he gave warning that prices would now have to rise and expansion slow down. Exports must come before consumption because Poland has run up big debts in its trade with the west. Nonetheless, he looked forward to that trade continuing.
France was the first country Mr. Gierek visited after taking his present office. President Pompidou welcomed back as an honoured guest the man that France had expelled nearly thirty years among the miners. After the years he spent there, Mr. Gierek speaks fluent French.
At the time Herr Wehner, Parliamentary Chairman of the West German Social Democrats, visited Warsaw, feelings between Poland and West Germany were not good. They improved when Bonn finally ratified the treaty normalising relations between them; but problems remained over emigration of Germans from Poland until Mr. Gierek and Herr Schmidt, the West German Chancellor sorted them out at the Helsinki summit this year.
October 1974: and Mr. Gierek, with his wife, paid his first visit to the United States. He described t as "another reaffirmation of international detente", which by then was very much in the air with President Ford's forthcoming meeting with Mr. Brezhnev at Vladivostok. Once again, Mr. Gierek was in search of trade agreements and technical cooperation.
Poland has never forgotten the horrors of Auschwitz concentration camp; and Mr. Gierek took President Giscard D'Estaing there this year. They shared a moment of sentiment, for both had served in the wartime resistance. But more often Mr. Gierek looks forward to the stern realities of governing Poland today.