Roosevelt Papers

Marshal Stalin to President Roosevelt 1


I have received your message on Polish matters3 on December 20.

personal and secret

As regards Mr. Stettinius’ statement of December 18, I would prefer to express myself about this during our personal meeting. In any case the events in Poland have considerably moved ahead than it is reflected in the said statement.

A number of facts which took place during the time after the last visit of Mikolajczyk to Moscow and, in particular the radio-communications with Mikolajczyk’s government intercepted by us from arrested in Poland terrorists—underground agents of the Polish émigré government—with all palpability proves that the negotiations of Mr. Mikolajczyk with the Polish National Committee served as a screen for those elements who conducted from behind Mikolajczyk’s back criminal terrorist work against Soviet officers and soldiers on the territory of Poland. We cannot reconcile with such a situation when terrorists instigated by Polish emigrants kill in Poland soldiers and officers of the Red Army, lead a criminal fight against Soviet troops which are liberating Poland, and directly aid our enemies, whose allies they in fact are. The substitution of Mikolajczyk by Arzyshevsky [ Arciszewski ] and, in general, transpositions of ministers in the Polish émigré government have made the situation even worse and have created a precipice between Poland and the émigré government.

Meanwhile the Polish National Committee has made serious achievements in the strengthening of the Polish state and the apparatus of governmental power on the territory of Poland, in the expansion [Page 222] and strengthening of the Polish army, in carrying into practice of a number of important governmental measures and, in the first place, of the agrarian reform in favor of the peasants. All this has lead to consolidation of democratic powers of Poland and to powerful strengthening of authority of the National Committee among the wide masses in Poland and among wide social Polish circles abroad.

It seems to me that now we should be interested in the support of the Polish National Committee and all those who want and are capable to work together with it and that is especially important for the Allies and for the solution of our common task—the speeding of the defeat of Hitlerite Germany. For the Soviet Union, which is bearing the whole burden for the liberation of Poland from German occupationists, the question of relations with Poland under present conditions is the task of daily close and friendly relations with a power which has been established by the Polish people on its own soil and which has already grown strong and has its own army which together with the Red Army is fighting against the Germans.

I have to say frankly that if the Polish Committee of National Liberation will transform itself into a Provisional Polish Government then, in view of the above-said, the Soviet Government will not have any serious ground for postponement of the question of its recognition. It is necessary to bear in mind that in the strengthening of a pro-Allied and democratic Poland the Soviet Union is interested more than any other power not only because the Soviet Union is bearing the main brunt of the battle for liberation of Poland but also because Poland is a border state with the Soviet Union and the problem of Poland is inseparable from the problem of security of the Soviet Union. To this we have to add that the successes of the Red Army in Poland in the fight against the Germans are to a great degree dependent on the presence of peaceful and trustworthy rear in Poland, and the Polish National Committee fully takes into account this circumstance while the émigré government and its underground agents by their terroristic actions are creating a threat of civil war in the rear of the Red Army and counteract the success of the latter. On the other hand, under the conditions which exist in Poland at the present time there are no reasons for the continuation of the policy of support of the émigré government, which has lost all confidence of the Polish population in the country and besides creates a threat of civil war in the rear of the Red Army, violating thus our common interests of a successful fight against the Germans. I think that it would be natural, just and profitable for our common cause if the governments of the Allied countries as the first step have agreed on an immediate exchange of representatives with the Polish National Committee so that after a certain time it would be recognized as the lawful government of Poland after the transformation of the National Committee into a provisional [Page 223] government of Poland. Otherwise I am afraid that the confidence of the Polish People in the Allied powers may weaken. I think that we cannot allow the Polish people to say that we are sacrificing the interests of Poland in favor of the interests of a handful of Polish emigrants in London.

  1. Presumably transmitted by the Soviet Embassy, Washington.
  2. Appears on the original.
  3. No. 136, December 16, 1944, ante, pp. 217218.
  4. Roosevelt’s No. 681 to Churchill, dated December 29, 1944, quoted the text of this message, with the request, “I should like your comments before making a reply.” Churchill’s No. 864, dated December 30, 1944, included the following statement: “Your Number 681 enclosing Stalin’s reply about Poland shows how serious will be the difficulties we shall have to face. I have consulted the Foreign Secretary and the Cabinet about it and their clear view is that we shall continue to press Stalin not to recognise the Lublin Committee as the government of Poland and tell him plainly that we shall not do so. The matter should be reserved for the coming conference.” (Roosevelt Papers.)