Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Poland)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych) is the Polish government department tasked with maintaining Poland's international relations and coordinating its participation in international and regional supra-national political organisations such as the European Union and United Nations. It is considered to be one of the most important offices of state. The head of the ministry is a full secretary of state and thus holds a place in the Council of Ministers.

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The current seat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, located on Szucha Avenue
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During the inter-war period the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was housed in the rococo Brühl Palace in central Warsaw
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The MSZ's new extension, Articom office building at 21 Szucha Avenue, which in 2011 displayed a large-scale version of Poland's then-presidency of the Council of the European Union.
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Polish Governmental and Diplomatic Plaque.png
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Logo msz RP.png

Remit and responsibilities of the ministry

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible primarily for maintaining good, friendly relations between the Polish Republic and other states. In doing so it is required to act primarily as a representative of the Polish people. To this end all Polish diplomatic missions around the world are subordinate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ambassadors, whilst receiving their credentials from the President of Poland, are employees of the foreign ministry and are recommended to the President for their posts by the minister of foreign affairs.

The ministry is considered to be one of Poland's most important, with the minister of foreign affairs ranking amongst the most influential people in Polish politics. This position is typically reserved for seasoned, professional politicians, and is thought to require a great deal of tact and intellect.

History

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was first established, with Leon Wasilewski as its secretary, under the authority of the Regency Council when Poland regained (albeit in name only) its independence from the occupying German forces in the First World War. However, the ministry began to fulfil its ascribed duties truly only after the fall of the Regency Council, adoption of the Treaty of Versailles and the rise to power of Józef Piłsudski. The ministry was then, until 1939, located in central Warsaw, with its seat in the Brühl Palace on Piłsudski Square. During the Second World War, the ministry was evacuated, along with the rest of the Polish government, first to France and then onwards to London, where it formed part of the Polish government in exile. During this period Count Edward Raczyński, a man who was later to become President of the government in exile, was the minister responsible. After 1945, when most countries began to afford diplomatic regocnition to the new communist government in Warsaw, at the expense of the government in exile, the authorities of the new People's Republic of Poland refounded the ministry and appointed, as its first minister, Edward Osóbka-Morawski.

Since 1989 and the establishment of the Third Republic, the ministry and its staff have been located in a complex of buildings on Aleje Szucha in central Warsaw, not far displaced from the Chancellery of the Prime Minister.

The current Minister of Foreign Affairs is Witold Waszczykowski, a diplomat educated at the University of Lodz and Oregon who was previously the Polish Ambassador to Iran and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Structure

Regional affairs departments

The departments for regional affairs exist to monitor the internal situation and politics of the countries within the area of any one specific department's competence. They coordinate development of bilateral relations, initiate the related undertakings and prepare evaluations. These departments oversee the issue of Poland’s participation in the structures of multilateral cooperation with any relevant partner states, as well as handling interregional cooperation. They are responsible for the substantive activity of relevant Polish diplomatic missions abroad.

Currently the Following regional affairs departments exist:

  • Department for Africa and the Middle East
  • Department of America
  • Department for Asia and the Pacific
  • Department for Proceedings Before the International Protection of Human Rights bodies of
  • Department of Public and Cultural Diplomacy
  • Department of Economics of the European Union
  • Department of the Committee for European Affairs
  • Department of Consular Affairs
  • Department of the United Nations and Human Rights
  • Department of Security Policy
  • Department European Policy
  • Department of European Union Law
  • Department of Law - The Treaty
  • Department of Foreign Policy Strategy
  • Department Eastern
  • Department of Economics
  • Department of Development Cooperation
  • Department of Polonia and Poles Abroad
  • Operations Center
  • The Secretariat of the Minister
  • Office of Administration
  • Office of Archives and Information Management
  • Office of the Director -General
  • Office of the Director of the Political
  • Office of Finance
  • Office of Information Technology and Telecommunications
  • Office for Infrastructure
  • Office of Human Resources and Audit
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Office
  • Personal Affairs Office
  • Inspectorate Foreign Sluzby
  • Diplomatic Protocol

Ministers of Foreign Affairs (since 1989)

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Herb Polski.svg
Witold Waszczykowski Sejm 2015.jpg
Witold Waszczykowski Sejm 2015.jpg

Political Party:   PO   PiS   SLD   UW   SdRP   Independent

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Krzysztof Skubiszewski 2005.jpg
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Andrzej Olechowski candidate 2010.jpg
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20060825 Wladyslaw Bartoszewski by Kubik.jpg
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Grzegorz Schetyna (cropped).jpg
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Witold Waszczykowski Sejm 2015.jpg

Previous officeholders

Kingdom of Poland (1916–18)

  • Wojciech Rostworowski (26 November 1917 – 27 February 1918) (Director of the Department of Political Affairs)
  • Janusz Radziwiłł (4 April 1918 – 23 October 1918) (Director of the Department of State)
  • Stanisław Głąbiński (23 October 1918 – 4 November 1918) (Minister for Outside Affairs)

Second Polish Republic

Polish government-in-exile

The Polish government-in-exile had a wide international recognition until 1945, and limited to just few countries until the 1970s

  • August Zaleski (30 September 1939 – 25 July 1941)
  • Edward Raczyński (22 August 1941 – 14 July 1943)
  • Tadeusz Romer (14 July 1943 – 24 November 1944)
  • Adam Tarnowski (29 November 1944 – 10 February 1949)
  • Mieczysław Sokołowski (7 April 1949 – 8 December 1953)
  • Aleksander Zawisza (8 August 1955 – 11 June 1970)
  • Jerzy Gawenda (20 July 1970 – 14 July 1972)
  • Jan Starzewski (18 July 1972 – 15 December 1973)
  • Bronisław Hełczyński (17 January 1974 – 15 July 1976)
  • Zygmunt Zawadowski (5 August 1976 – 1 September 1979)
  • Kazimierz Sabbat (1 September 1979 – 7 April 1986)
  • Zygmunt Szkopiak (1986 – 20 December 1990)

Republic of Poland / People's Republic of Poland

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