740.00119 (Potsdam)/5–2446

No. 483
Briefing Book Paper
top secret

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.

. . . . . . .

The New Polish Provisional Government of National Unity
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Sixteen out of the twenty-one members of the new Polish Provisional Government of National Unity were already in the Warsaw Provisional Government or were closely associated with that Soviet-sponsored group before the reorganization. The three Polish groups which met in Moscow under the aegis of the Polish Commission set up at Yalta agreed that seven persons not connected with the Warsaw Provisional Government were to be in the new Government. However, three of these persons because of health or for other reasons refused to take portfolios in the new Government. The following [Page 717] are the names of the four non-Warsaw Poles who have accepted posts in the new Government:

Stanisław Mikołajczyk, Vice-Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform. He has been the leader of the Peasant Party, the largest party in Poland, since 1937. He was Prime Minister of the Polish Government-in-exile from July 1943, after the death of General Sikorski, until November 1944 when he resigned because the majority of his Government would not accept the proposals for the reestablishment of relations between the Government-in-exile and the U. S. S. R. worked out by Mikołajczyk and Marshal Stalin in October 1944. Mikołajczyk is considered to be a truly democratic Polish leader and is reputed to have a large following in Poland. He is the principal candidate the American and British Governments put forward under the Yalta agreement as a member of the new Government.
Jan Stańczyk, Minister of Labor and Social Welfare. Stańczyk has been for many years a prominent leader in Polish labor circles and in the Polish Socialist Party. He is well known in both American and British labor circles.
Władysław Kiernik, Minister of Public Administration. Unlike Mikołajczyk and Stańczyk, who have resided abroad since the partition of Poland by the U. S. S. R. and Germany in 1939, Kiernik, who is a prominent leader in the Peasant Party, remained in Poland. He is reputed to be well respected by democratic elements and is a close associate of Witos and Mikołajczyk.
Czesław Wycech, Minister of Education. He is also a member of the Peasant Party. Little is known about Wycech outside of Poland although Mikołajczyk is reported to have confidence in him.

Mr. Mieczyslaw Thugutt, a member of the Peasant Party in London and who was offered the Ministry of Posts and Telegraphs, is reported to have refused to accept the portfolio.

Mr. Kołodziejski, a non-party man who was former Librarian of the Polish Parliament and who is reported to be a strong figure behind the scenes in Poland, refused to join the Government for personal reasons.

Mr. Zuławski, a prominent leader from the Socialist Party in Poland refused to join the Government because of his age and poor health.

The other sixteen members of the new Polish Government for the most part must be considered as persons who may be Poles at heart but who realize that their political strength comes from Moscow and not from the Polish people. Some of them are reliably reported to have been active Comintern agents for many years, and therefore it is to be expected that they will follow closely directives from Moscow.

By way of background, it will be recalled that the Soviet-sponsored Warsaw Provisional Government which was recognized by the Soviet [Page 718] Union on January 1, 1945 was the successor to other Soviet-sponsored Polish committees. The steps leading up to the formation of the Warsaw Provisional Government may be outlined as follows:

In March 1943 there was formed in Moscow from the many thousands of Poles who had been deported to the Soviet Union in 1939 after the RibbentropMolotov Pact4 a small committee known as the Union of Polish Patriots. This group, which was led by Wanda Wasilewska, a Soviet citizen of Polish origin who is married to Alexander Korneichuk, an Ukrainian playwright, one-time Soviet Vice Commissar for Foreign Affairs and now an official of the Ukrainian Government, held itself out as representing true democratic Poles. Shortly after the Red Army had liberated eastern Poland in 1944, there was established at Lublin, Poland, a group known as the Polish Committee of National Liberation. This Committee which was headed by Osóbka-Morawski, the present Premier of the new Government[,] absorbed the Union of Polish Patriots.

A short time thereafter a new organization was created known as the Polish National Council headed by Boleslaw Bierut, the President of the new Polish Government. This organization, which allegedly was set up along parliamentary lines, claimed to be truly representative of the majority of the Polish people and the source from which the Polish Committee of National Liberation obtained its authority and power. The combined Polish National Council and the Polish Committee of National Liberation formed the organization from which was set up the Provisional Government of Poland, which was accorded recognition by Stalin on January 1, 1945.

The Polish National Council, in which Polish sovereignty is said to reside, still exists and is part of the new governmental apparatus of Poland. Mr. Bierut, who is reliably reported to have been a Comintern agent for over twenty years, is still President of the National Council and thereby Provisional President of the Polish State.

In the newly reorganized governmental setup, three non-Lublin Poles have been added to the Presidium of the National Council which formerly was made up of five members including Bierut, Marshal Rola-Żymierski and Kowalski. The three new members who occupy positions of future parliamentary importance are Mr. Szwalbe, a left wing Socialist; Mr. Witos, long-time head of the Peasant Party and close associate of Mikołajczyk; and Mr. Grabski, a close collaborator of Mikołajczyk, from London who has no definite [Page 719] party affiliations. Bierut stated recently in Moscow that as soon as the new Government is formed the National Council, which formerly had 140 members, would be enlarged considerably by the inclusion of Polish democratic leaders not directly affiliated with the Soviet-sponsored Warsaw Government. So far as is known, this action has not yet been taken.

It will be seen from the above that in actual fact the composition of the new Polish Provisional Government of National Unity is made up, for the most part, of the same group which formed the Soviet-sponsored Warsaw Government. While there has been too little time yet to predict with accuracy whether the new Government will act in a more democratic way than the former Soviet-sponsored Government, there are indications from many of the statements made by Bierut and his associates that the new Government will endeavor to carry on the same program as heretofore. For instance, Mr. Gomulka, one of the Vice-Premiers and Secretary General of the Polish Communist Party, indicated at a press conference in Moscow last month that the new Government would endeavor to establish a one-party system purporting to represent all political parties. Under this system there would be presented to the electors, in the usual Soviet manner, a single list of candidates hi the promised “free and unfettered elections” called for by the Yalta decision.

Therefore, while the formation of the new Government is a definite and positive step forward, it is by no means certain that the Polish people will be given an opportunity to pick a government of their own choice and that Poland shall in fact be free and independent. We should, nevertheless, continue to use our full influence in order to assist the Polish people to establish a free and democratic government as we interpret that term. This may prove a difficult task and it is not beyond the realm of probability that we may face another Polish crisis in the not too distant future.

A list of the new Polish Provisional Government as recently reported from Warsaw is attached.

The Polish Government of National Unity
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[Page 720]
Edward B. Osóbka-Morawski Premier
Władysław Gomułka Vice-Premier
Stanisław Mikołajczvk Vice-Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform
Wincenty Rzymowski Minister of Foreign Affairs
Marshal Michal Rola-Żymierski. Minister of National Defense
Władysław Kiernik Minister of Public Administration
Stanislaw Radkiewicz Minister of Public Security
Konstanty Dabrowski Minister of Finance
Hilary Minc Minister of Industry
Jan Rabanowski Minister of Communications
Prof. Michał Kaczorowski Minister of Reconstruction
Jan Stańczyk Minister of Labor and Social Welfare
Czesław Wycech Minister of Education
Henryk Swiatkowski Minister of Justice
Władysław Kowalski Minister of Culture and Art
Stefan Matuszewski Minister of Public Information
Dr. Franciszek Litwin Minister of Public Health
Mieczysław Thugutt Minister of Posts and Telegraph
Jerzy Sztachelski Minister of Supplies and Trade
Dr. Stefan Jedrychowski Minister of Foreign Trade
Stanisław Tkaczow Minister of Forestry
  1. For other sections of this paper, see documents Nos. 510 and 521.
  2. See vol. ii, document No. 1417, section vi .
  3. W. Averell Harriman.
  4. 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.