Roosevelt Papers: Telegram

Prime Minister Churchill to President Roosevelt 1

top secret

Prime Minister to President Roosevelt Personal and Top Secret Number 801.

Many thanks for your number 631.2

Para 1. On our last day at Moscow Mik3 saw Bierut who admitted his difficulties.4 Fifty of his men had been shot in the last month. Many Poles took to the woods rather than join his forces. Approaching winter conditions behind the front could be very hard as the Russian army moved forward using all transport. He insisted however that if Mik were premier he must have 75% of the cabinet. Mik proposed that each of the five Polish parties should be represented, he naming four out of the five of their best men whom he would pick from personalities not obnoxious to Stalin.

Para 2. Later at my request Stalin saw Mik and had one and one-quarter hours, very friendly talk. Stalin promised to help him and Mik promised to form and conduct a government thoroughly friendly to the Russians. He explained his plan but Stalin made it clear that the Lublin Poles must have the majority.

Para 3. After the Kremlin dinner we put it bluntly to Stalin that unless Mik had 50/50 plus himself the western world would not be convinced that the transaction was bona fide and would not believe that an independent Polish government had been set up. Stalin at first replied he would be content with 50/50 but rapidly corrected himself to a worse figure. Meanwhile Eden took the same line with Molotov who seemed more comprehending. I do not think the composition of the government will prove an insuperable obstacle if all else is settled. Mik had previously explained to me that there might be one announcement to save the prestige of the Lublin government and a different arrangement among the Poles behind the scenes.

Para 4. Apart from the above Mik is going to urge upon his London colleagues the Curzon line including Lwów for the Russians. I am hopeful that even in the next fortnight we may get a settlement. If so I will cable you the exact form so that you can say whether you want it published or delayed.

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  1. Sent by the United States Military Attaché, London, via Army channels. For other excerpts from this telegram, see ante, pp. 10, 159160, and post, pp. 328, 400.
  2. Not found.
  3. Stanislaw Mikolajczyk.
  4. It appears that this conversation between Mikolajczyk and Beirut took place on October 17, that Mikolajczyk informed Churchill and Eden of the substance of the conversation on October 18, and that Churchill and Eden left Moscow on October 19 (House of Representatives Report 2684, pt. 4, above cited, pp. 113, 114, 137, 145).