Roosevelt Papers

The Polish Ambassador (Ciechanowski) to the Acting Secretary of State (Stettinius)

top secret

The Polish Ambassador has received today a telegram from Premier Mikolajczyk dated London, October 26th, instructing him immediately to communicate to the President the following personal appeal of Premier Mikolajczyk. Premier Mikolajczyk would greatly appreciate it if he could receive at the President’s earliest convenience the reply and decisions of the President in view of the great urgency of the situation.

Text of Premier Mikolajczyk’s telegram to the President reads as follows:

Mr. President: From Ambassador Harriman you undoubtedly know the pressure being exercised on the Polish Government definitely to accept already at present and without any reservations the so-called Curzon Line as the basis of the future frontier between Poland and Soviet Russia. In all my political activities I have proved how fully I realize the necessity of Polish-Soviet understanding and how sincerely I desire to achieve it, not only in the interest of my own country, but also in that of the common cause of the United Nations and of future peace.

I am no less convinced, however, that the Polish nation would feel itself terribly deceived and wronged if, as the response to all its sacrifices, to its indomitable attitude, and its uninterrupted part in the fight in the course of this war it were faced as a result with the loss of nearly one-half of its territory on which are situated great centers of its national and cultural life and considerable economic values. The Polish Government cannot give its agreement to such a solution, [Page 208] as it realizes that it would thereby lose the confidence and following of its nation to such an extent that this would close its way to the exploration of possibilities of reaching understanding with the Government of the USSR in other fields. It would in fact deprive the activities of the Polish Government of practical value.

In the course of the Moscow conversations I have applied all my best efforts to convince Marshal Stalin and Premier Churchill of the importance of the above considerations. In particular I stressed that it would constitute a great conciliatory and amicable gesture on the part of Russia towards Poland,—a gesture which would be regarded as such by the Polish people and make it easier for the Polish nation to reconcile itself with the other already so great territorial sacrifices demanded of it, if the City of Lwów and the East Galician oilfields were left with Poland in accordance with the so-called Line “B”. This line would not infringe on the principle of the Curzon Line, as the latter did not formally extend through East Galicia.

However, my endeavors in this direction have hitherto remained unsuccessful. I cannot, in the face of my great responsibility, regard these endeavors as exhausted as long as you, Mr. President, have not expressed your stand in this matter. I retain in vivid and grateful memory your assurances given me in the course of our conversations of June, last, in Washington, pertaining particularly to Lwów and the adjacent territories. The memory of these assurances has not been dispelled even by Mr. Molotov’s onesided version about your attitude in Teheran, which he gave me during the last conversations in Moscow. I have no doubt that in your attitude, Mr. President, purely objective arguments have played the most important part. It is known that for the last six hundred years Lwów has been a Polish city no less than Cracow and Warsaw, and one of the sources of Polish civilization. On the other hand, the production of the East Galician oil fields, so important to the economic system of Poland, constitutes barely one per cent of the oil production of the USSR.

I fully realize how deeply absorbed you are in your duties at this time and in the course of the next days. I believe, however, that in the face of the great importance of the decisions facing the Polish Government, which will bear on the entire future of the Polish Nation, and in a great measure on world relations as a whole, you will not refuse, Mr. President, my fervent prayer once more to throw the weight of your decisive influence and authority on the scales of events.

I am firmly convinced that if you, Mr. President, will consider it possible immediately to address a personal message to Marshal Stalin, pointing out that it is of consequence to you that the Polish question should be settled in such a way that the City of Lwów and the oil field basin of East Galicia should be left in Poland,—such a demarche, as foreseen by you, would have chances of being effective.

By removing from the way the chief and basic difference of opinions in the present negotiations between the Polish and the Soviet Governments,—such a demarche would render possible the achievement of an over-all Polish-Soviet understanding and would bring to you, Mr. President, not only a new title to the warm gratitude of the Polish people, but likewise an agelong merit of having solved one of the capital difficulties on the way of collaboration of the United Nations and of the future peace of Europe and the world.

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I place in your hands, Mr. President, this matter with the greatest confidence and I shall await your decision. Signed: Mikolajczyk.