740.0011 European War 1939/19850

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

The Polish Ambassador12 called to see me this afternoon13 in order to present to me the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Count Edward Raczyński.

The Foreign Minister handed me a letter which he had addressed to the President, together with many enclosures thereto,14 and likewise a summary of the matters which he desired to take up with the President when the President received him and the Ambassador.

A copy of the letter to the President is attached herewith.

I told the Minister that I would be very happy to transmit these communications to the President in order that he might have them before receiving the Foreign Minister and the Ambassador.

The entire conversation was taken up by the reading of these various communications to me by the Foreign Minister; The comments which the Foreign Minister made as he read these documents added nothing to the contents thereof, which are fully self-explanatory.

At the conclusion of the conversation Count Raczyński expressed the belief that the policy being pursued by Great Britain of attempting to make concessions at this period to the Soviet Union is unwise. He stated that the British were utterly unable to understand Soviet psychology. He said that if the British now agreed to guarantee to the Soviet Union, when peace was made, the restoration of its 1941 [Page 107] frontiers, it would only pave the way for further and more far-reaching demands on the part of the Soviet Union later. He insists that the incorporation of Lithuania into the Soviet Union would be a vital blow to the reconstitution of Poland.

I made no comment with regard to these statements, but merely said that after he and the Ambassador had had an opportunity of submitting their requests to the President, I should be glad to have a further opportunity of talking with them.

S[umner] W[elles]
  1. Jan Ciechanowski.
  2. The conversation took place on the afternoon of February 18.
  3. None printed. The letter to the President, dated January 30, 1942, was actually signed by Prime Minister Sikorski, and introduced Count Raczynski. The enclosures included an extended estimate of the military situation on the eastern front, intelligence reports from Germany, and an exchange of notes between the Soviet and Polish Governments regarding an interview with Count Edward Raczynski, published in the London Sunday Times, which contained expressions of opinions not fully shared by the Soviet Government.