860C.01/11–2544: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State


Poles 125. From Schoenfeld.

I saw Mikolajczyk this morning. He told me he had resigned as Premier (my 124 November 241) because he felt a Polish-Soviet agreement was a necessity at this time, whereas the three major political parties other than his own felt that the question of frontiers should be left until the end of the war.

He realized the attack he would have been subjected to if the Government had made the concessions desired by the Soviets but he [Page 211] reasoned that without an agreement, Poland would risk not only the loss of its eastern territories but probably also real compensation in the West. Once the war was over, he believed British and American public opinion would not support radical compensation for Poland in the West. Moreover, without an agreement, Poland was sure to be subjected to severe efforts at communization. The Lublin Committee was already largely Communist and those elements which were not Communist were being rapidly eliminated. If members of the London Government could return to Poland soon, they might succeed in preventing the country’s communization. He could agree with those who doubted Soviet intentions, but if there was the slightest chance of success, he thought they should at least try. Furthermore, without an agreement and in view of Soviet advances from the north and the southeast, the Polish Government was faced with the prospect of increasing difficulty in maintaining its communications with and supplying the underground organization of Poland.

[If] He could have had more time, he would also have wished to gather up and preserve the “capital of energy” that Poland still disposes of abroad. If the parties could have united on a policy this would have been a source of strength in withstanding efforts to produce a Communist Poland. But divided they were necessarily ineffective. Furthermore, there were several hundred thousand Poles in western Europe and perhaps even a million in Germany. A surprising number had already been found in prison camps in recently captured German territory. He would have liked to recruit them for military service both in the interest of the war effort and of their own rehabilitation and to use them as a nucleus to build up Poland anew. But the Supreme Allied Command felt it was too late to train them for the war effort and would permit only the numbers necessary to replace losses in existing Polish military units. Without unity among the parties and without greater support from the Allies, he could not hope to bring about this conservation of Polish energies.

In all the circumstances, he had felt obliged to resign.

Mikolajczyk referred to his recent conversation with Harriman and said he was grateful for the President’s willingness to intervene with Stalin regarding Lwów and the oil areas in Galicia, but he had not felt he could take advantage of it since he could not in any case secure his own government’s support for the general boundary settlement proposed by the Soviet Government.

Mikolajczyk said that perhaps he was wrong in this estimate of the future and “the others” right, but this was his honest conviction and in the circumstances he had not felt he could stay on as Prime Minister.

As for his immediate plans, Mikolajczyk said he did not know what he would do. I asked him whether, in case Kwapiński failed to form [Page 212] a government, he would perhaps undertake to do so. He said he would not.

He spoke throughout with quiet simplicity and, though somewhat more subdued than usual, retained all his normal calm and self-possession. Only as I took leave of him and told him how sorry I was that he had given over, did he show any emotion. He expressed deep appreciation of the understanding that had always been shown him from the American side and asked me to express his appreciation and great admiration to the President.

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