860c.01/7–945: Telegram

No. 507
The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant ) to the Acting Secretary of State
secret

6900. FonOff official directly concerned Polish affairs gave us following information this afternoon.

Re establishment Brit Emb, Warsaw. Hankey has postponed date departure for Warsaw until July 12 and may not leave until July 15. … Brit are now negotiating in Moscow for direct air service UK to Warsaw, but Hankey may have to go via Brit plane to Berlin and via Russian plane from Berlin to Warsaw.

Re status Polish troops in UK and western Europe. Brit War Office has issued circular to all Brit Commanders of Polish detachments directing them to assure Poles in units under their command that no Pole will be returned to Poland against his will. (Sent to Dept as 6900 rptd to Paris for Lane as 447) Brit hope to abolish Polish Ministry of Defence in immediate future. They have already introduced Brit Liaison Mission into Polish General Staff and in time hope also to reduce General Staff and to limit its functions to purely administrative matters.

Re Brit control Polish assets in UK. We were shown a copy of the agreement which Brit Treasury concluded with former Polish Govt in London whereby it obtained control of its assets. Agreement is in form of power of attorney and assignment of assets. It assigns Polish assets listed in an annex to Brit Govt for six months and conveys full power of attorney to Brit Govt acting through interim Treasury committee to utilize or dispose of assets. Since document is of a private character copy could not be made available to Emb, but if further information re contents is desired FonOff probably would be willing to allow us re-examine it.

Re first Brit contacts with members Polish Commission to secure property of Polish State. Two members of Commission to secure property of Polish State, Drożniak and Kołodziejski, arrived in London July 7. Officials of FonOff had informal meeting with them this morning. They found that Poles expected to take over all assets former London Polish Govt immediately and without reservations. They were told that Brit could not deal officially with them until FonOff had received an official communication from Polish Govt setting out their terms of reference and powers to negotiate. [Page 741] Brit stressed desirability of Poles sending fully accredited Amb to London as soon as possible and informed Polish reps that telegram had been sent to Brit Emb Moscow for transmission to Polish Amb pointing out that it would be impossible for Brit Govt to undertake formal conversations with Polish reps in London unless foregoing conditions were met. Brit also pointed out to Polish reps and in telegram that question of surrendering to [sic] Polish assets in UK would have to be linked with repayment of advances to former Polish Govt in London and that surrender of assets could not be made unconditionally, since some agreement would have to be reached for protecting pensioners and for meeting other continuing obligations of former Polish Govt. Brit also suggested to Polish reps that, after they were formally accredited, negotiations should be undertaken between Polish reps and interim Treasury Committee.

Winant