The Polish Deputy Minister of
Foreign Affairs (Modzelewski) to the Secretary of State
Excellency, Upon the instruction of my Government I have the honour to inform you, Excellency, that the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity feel very much disturbed by the news that have reached them from the Polish Second Army Corps, now in Italy under the command of General Anders. Upon the information received it is obvious that the way the problems of repatriating Polish officers and men are dealt with by the Polish command, is against the interests and desires of the Polish Government and the Polish People who are anxiously waiting for their countrymen to come back home in the shortest possible time. It also seems that action taken in these matters by General Anders is contrary to the policy of the Allied Powers who assured the Polish Government that in executing the repatriation no pressure will be brought to bear upon men and officers concerned.
Here are a few items of information that have lately reached the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity:
On the 16th inst. in all units of the Polish Army Corps in Italy an order of General Anders was read according to which all those who wished to go home were to report individually to their commanding officers. On the same day in the 10th Batallion of Military Engineers, stationed at Capua, six men reported their desire to be sent back to Poland. On the next day they all were arrested and sent away to unknown destination. At the same time there were arrested seventeen [Page 1133]other men who expressed their desire to return to their home country. Similar incidents happened also in the 13th Regiment of Heavy Artillery and in many other units of the Corps. For fear of being arrested, many soldiers desert their units. The prevailing opinion among the soldiers is that the majority of them wish to be repatriated, and that the break down and winding up of the Corps is to be expected any day. Meanwhile the command are busy making mass arrests among the men.
Lest the situation within the 2nd Army Corps in Italy should become more acute, and in order to prepare an orderly repatriation undisturbed by irresponsible elements, the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity venture to request the United States Government:
- that steps be taken by the Allied Powers to prevent the recurrence of such incidents, and
- that the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity be enabled to take control of Polish forces at present under Allied Command and thus to terminate the present duality of command over Polish Armies in foreign territory, such duality being incompatible with the existence of a National Government enjoying international recognition.1
I avail myself [etc.]
- No indication has been found that this note was answered at the Conference.↩