The Ambassador to the Polish Government in Exile (Biddle) to the Secretary of State
[Received April 27—6:20 p.m.]
Polish Series 41. Reference my 34, April 24, 6 p.m. Raczynski states in confidence that on April 21, 1942 he replied to note of April 17 from Foreign Secretary Eden. Raczynski has not given me the text but states its main points are:
- Polish Government maintains that proposed Anglo-Russian Agreement if concluded will prove detrimental to war effort of the United Nations. Polish Government’s reservations are based on fundamental premises of a moral nature which, it holds, are of utmost importance to United Nations and which have recently been confirmed to representatives of Polish Government by responsible leaders of American policy. Moreover, Polish Government feels principles of Atlantic Charter can not be reconciled with sacrifice of smaller states to interests of a powerful neighbor; the British Government intended to safeguard these assurances in any agreement which might be concluded with Russia;
- No territorial provisions detrimental to interests of Germany are included in contemplated agreement. On the contrary agreement follows along the line of German-Soviet Agreement of 1939 and might thus possibly become a basis for German-Russian coalescence in the future. Agreement would not commit Russian Government in relation to Germany in that expansion of Russian possessions is to be brought about not at expense of Germany but of third parties. The Russian Government would thus retain a valuable trump card in relation to any German Government, even the present one;
- Regarding question of vital Polish interests, Polish Government re-emphasizes importance it attaches to maintenance of Lithuania’s independence and to retention of Bukovina within the central European area where it belongs. These two conditions are essential to insure independent existence and development of a confederative system in this area;
- Polish Government considers Britain has an inherent right to take an active part in a future general European settlement and does not particularly need Russia’s approval;
- There follows an analysis of the existing legal situation between Britain and Poland in regard to Lithuania wherein is set forth the Polish interpretation. As regards Bukovina, the point is emphasized that Russian sovereignty over Bukovina would render vastly more difficult the formation of a central European federation with the participation of Rumania and Hungary;
- Polish Government takes note of renewed confirmation of British Government’s guarantee that in any case it does not propose to conclude any agreement affecting or compromising the territorial status of Poland;
- Polish Government’s attitude regarding the purport of the proposed Anglo-Russian Agreement, as far as it is known to Polish Government, is one of principle. Since the agreement is of fundamental importance to Polish interests its conclusion would find the strongest echo among the Poles in Poland and abroad. Polish opinion would expect an authoritative interpretation both of the contents and significance of the agreement and it would be impossible for Polish Government to refuse to satisfy this expectation of the nation.
Commenting on the foregoing and in his yesterday’s conference with Mr. Churchill, Sir Stafford Cripps and other British authorities, Raczynski said the following: (1) that while Mr. Churchill stated his desire for an early agreement, Raczynski gained the impression that he was being pushed by Cripps and others who shared Cripps’ insistence for the agreement; that he spoke like a man forced by circumstances and by pressure of his associates, to act contrary to his principles; that he was loath to deviate therefrom; (2) the Polish Government was now carefully weighing, in light of its potential consequences, the question of lodging a vigorous protest, in addition to declaring to the Polish people an interpretation of the contents and significance of the agreement (as mentioned paragraph g above) in event the contemplated agreement were concluded. This action, he said would probably serve to rally the Poles to Sikorski. At the same time however it would undoubtedly antagonize the Russians and risk placing a severe strain on Anglo-Polish relations. He was well aware of the delicacy of the situation and realized that this question called for the most thoughtful consideration.