Briefing Book Paper
Suggested United States Policy Regarding Poland
Our policy regarding Poland, as defined at Yalta,2 has for its chief objectives the establishment by the Polish people of a truly democratic government of their own choice, the rapid reintegration of Poland into international life as a United Nation, and its early reconstruction accompanied by the reestablishment of mutually beneficial relations between the United States and Poland. The termination on June 22, 1945 of the activities of the Polish Commission at Moscow by the achievement of agreement between the three Polish groups for the creation of the new Provisional Polish Government of National Unity leaves for immediate consideration the following questions:
- Establishment of our representation in Poland and transfer of Polish representation here to the new Polish Government;
- Holding of free and unfettered elections in Poland to provide a popular basis for the new Government;
- Participation of Poland in reparation, war crime, relief and other similar activities of the United Nations;
- Determination of the definitive Polish boundaries;
- Transfer of population incidental to territorial transfers or wartime displacements; and
- Physical and moral reconstruction of Poland.
While treating Poland scrupulously as an independent state and supporting those elements in the new Government which oppose its becoming a Soviet satellite, it appears necessary to sponsor “Big Three” arrangements for the supervision of the elections and the [Page 715] determination of the boundaries. Unsupervised elections might give free hand to the growth of Soviet influence and the boundary question involves important ex-enemy territory whose disposition might effect [affect] future peace. … We should facilitate insofar as our aid is requested the transfer of minority groups but we should not permit the forced repatriation of Poles now in the West or the uncontrolled deportation by unilateral Polish action of the 8–10,000,000 Germans formerly domiciled in the areas claimed by the Soviet-sponsored Polish Government.
We should support participation by Poland with other United Nations similarly concerned in postwar international activities such as reparations, war crimes, and relief and rehabilitation, but in no circumstances as a Soviet satellite. Our relief work in Poland should be generous and carried out preferably by the American Red Cross. While this Government may not want to oppose a political configuration in Eastern Europe which gives the Soviet Union a predominant influence in Poland, neither would it desire to see Poland become in fact a Soviet satellite and have American influence there completely eliminated. In assisting through credits and otherwise in the physical reconstruction of Polish economy, we should insist on the acceptance by Poland of a policy of equal opportunity for us in trade, investments and access to sources of information. The large population of Polish extraction in the United States will undoubtedly seek to make an internal American political issue of Polish affairs if free relations between the two countries are seriously impeded.
[Washington,] June 29, 1945.
Suggested United States Policy Regarding Poland
It is hoped that the progress recently made by the Polish Commission in Moscow in achieving agreement among the three Polish groups for the formation of the new Polish Provisional Government of National Unity will result in the establishment of a truly democratic and acceptable Polish Government at Warsaw. However, reports from our Ambassador at Moscow3 indicate there is little fundamental change in the attitude of the Soviet authorities and the Bierut Government on Polish matters. It would thus appear necessary that we maintain our vigilance and continue to pursue a firm and active Policy regarding Poland.
While establishing diplomatic relations with Warsaw as soon as practicable, we should insist on the fulfillment at the earliest possible moment of the pledge, foreseen at Yalta, for the holding of free and unfettered elections in Poland. Soviet military and police formations [Page 716] beyond those necessary to protect lines of communications between Russia and the occupied-German areas should be withdrawn in order not to be an intimidating factor in the elections. The prestige and democratic functioning of any government at Warsaw meeting our requirements will adversely be affected by the continuing presence in Poland of large Soviet forces. These elections should likewise be supervised by representatives of the Three Great Powers, otherwise, the presence of Soviet officials and troops in Poland would result in supervision by the Soviet Government alone and in possible undue and undesirable Soviet influence on the outcome of the elections.
We should support actively those elements in the new Government which oppose Poland’s becoming a Soviet satellite. Such support should not become open interference in internal Polish affairs but it should be effective enough to enable the democratic Polish leaders to carry out the pledge we have made to the Polish nation. Their task and our task will be greatly simplified if we can use this to foster the maintenance of freedom of expression, freedom of the press and information and personal liberty in reconstructed Poland. The free exchange of information between Poland and the Western World, accompanied by a wide interchange of visitors which is impossible at the present time, should be among our chief objectives, since contact between Poland and the Western World will be reestablished thereby. It is chiefly through support of Mikołajczyk and his fellow democratic ministers in the new government that we can hope to end the present “blackout” in Poland.
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- For other sections of this paper, see documents Nos. 510 and 521.↩
- See vol. ii, document No. 1417, section vi .↩
- W. Averell Harriman.↩
- The reference may be to either the German-Soviet Treaty of Non-Aggression, signed at Moscow, August 23, 1939, with its secret additional protocol, or the German-Soviet Boundary and Friendship Treaty, signed at Moscow, September 28, 1939, with its supplementary protocols, notes, and joint declaration. For texts, see Department of State, Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918–1945 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1949– ), series D, vol. vii, pp. 245–247, and vol. viii, pp. 164–169.↩