Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs (Henderson)

The Polish Ambassador came in to see me today at noon at his request. He handed me the attached memorandum, No. 3 “On the Urgency of the British and American Reaction to U.S.S.R. Territorial Demands”84 and asked that it be given to the Secretary so that it may be placed in the dossier with the two memoranda which he had sent to the Secretary on March 22.

The Ambassador said that a telegram had arrived at the Embassy just before his departure and was being decoded. It would appear from this telegram that the Soviet Government was increasing the use of terror in order to force the Poles in the Soviet Union to take out Soviet citizenship. Another telegram was being decoded from General Sikorski. In the decoded sections of this telegram General Sikorski took the position that the situation regarding Poland and the Soviet Union was likely to become hopeless unless the President personally would intervene with Stalin. The Ambassador said that the instructions to him in that telegram may render it necessary for him to ask within the next few days to call upon the President again.

The Ambassador asked whether the Secretary had been able as yet [Page 363] to take up this matter with the President. I told him that I thought that an opportunity for the discussion of this problem between the Secretary and the President had not arisen. I was not, however, quite certain. The Ambassador stressed the urgency of this matter and said that it was important that if any effective action was to be taken by the American Government, such action should be taken at the earliest possible moment. The Ambassador said that he was almost in a desperate position here since the propaganda was more and more to the effect that the American and British Governments had already agreed at least in principle to the cession of Eastern Poland to the Soviet Union. It was his understanding that when Mr. Eden recently made a talk to a number of Congressmen, one of the Congressmen asked him what kind of answer could be given to his Polish-American constituents who were insisting that the United States should not approve the annexation of Eastern Poland by the Soviet Union. Mr. Eden was said to have replied that “it might be pointed out that Poland will of course receive territorial compensation”.

The Ambassador said that the American people are being misled with regard to what is going on in the Soviet Union. It was reported to him in confidence for instance that Senator Thomas of Utah, who is an extremely intelligent Senator and who has had much interest in foreign affairs, had recently remarked that he had begun to believe that the Soviet Government must be made up of fine and liberal men; that the Soviet Government had been able to make a generous and humanitarian gesture which the American Government had thus far not made—that is, it had granted Soviet citizenship to the refugees who had sought protection from the Nazis in Soviet territory.

L[oy] W. H[enderson]
  1. Not printed; this memorandum was essentially a further exposition of the Polish position set forth in the memorandum of March 22, p. 354, and advocated “an energetic intervention in Moscow on the part of Great Britain and the United States, backed by a firmly worded and unequivocal restatement of their non-recognition policies and the reaffirmation of the principles of the Atlantic Charter and United Nations Declaration,—even if it is not fully effective.” (760C.61/1014)