The Acting Secretary of State (Grew) to the President


Memorandum for the President

Subject: Polish-Soviet Difference

The Polish Ambassador called at the Department on January 22 to deliver the attached note containing his Government’s proposals for the solution of the Polish-Soviet difference. He asked that the proposals be sent to you immediately. The proposals do not appear to offer any real basis for an approach to the Soviet Government. They may be outlined as follows:

1. While the Polish Government would prefer to defer territorial settlements until the end of the war, it apparently is willing to discuss this question with the Soviet Government now provided it involves [Page 228] compensation in the North and West for territories lost in the East. The extent of this compensation is not indicated.

2. The Polish Government desires to conclude an alliance with the Soviet Government guaranteeing the security of both states within the framework of the International Security Organization.

3. It will not recognize any unilateral solutions and it demands the right to regulate its own internal life.

4. If the Soviet Government does not agree to negotiate with the Polish Government, the latter suggests that an inter-Allied military commission be created to control in Poland the local administration (those loyal to London) apparently until free elections are held.

5. The hope is expressed that the United States Government will not take any decisions concerning Poland without the consent of the Polish Government and will not recognize the Lublin Government.

Joseph C. Grew,

Acting Secretary

The Polish Ambassador (Ciechanowski) to the Secretary of State

most urgent

The Polish Ambassador has today received instructions from his Government immediately to communicate to the Secretary of State the following memorandum from the Polish Government:

“Foreseeing that matters concerning Poland will be discussed at the forthcoming meeting of the Heads of the Governments of the three great Powers, and having full confidence in the intentions of the President of the United States of ensuring the Polish State real independence and the guarantee of its rights,—the Polish Government would like to take this opportunity to express the following views:

“I—The Polish Government shares the attitude taken by the Governments of the United States and Great Britain that territorial questions should be settled only after the termination of hostilities. The Polish Government is ready to reach an amicable settlement of the Polish-Soviet controversy which has arisen as a result of the claims of the USSR to the eastern territories of the Polish Republic and will accept any one of the methods foreseen by international law for the just and fair solution of the controversy with the participation of both parties concerned. Moreover, the Polish Government is decided to conclude with the USSR an alliance guaranteeing the security of both states and closely to collaborate with the USSR in the framework of a general international organization of security and of the economic organization of the States of Central-Eastern Europe.

“Under no circumstances will the Polish Government recognize unilateral solutions, mindful of the fact that Poland, belonging as she does to the family of United Nations in the common struggle for [Page 229] freedom of the world, has made enormous sacrifices of her most precious values and has lost practically one-fifth of her population fallen in battle, murdered in penal camps, in Ghettos or deceased in prisons, in exile or in labor camps.

“The Polish Government is convinced that the simultaneous establishment and guaranteeing of the over-all territorial status of the Polish State, the solution of the controversy with the USSR, the grant to Poland of territories to which she has rightful claim situated to the North and the West of her frontiers, the insurance of her real independence and full right to organize her internal life in accordance with the will of the Polish Nation untrammeled by any foreign intervention,—is a vital matter not only for Poland, but for the whole of Europe.

“II.—Should the Soviet Government, notwithstanding the insistent efforts of the Polish Government, refuse to enter into a voluntary understanding, the Polish Government, desirous of insuring internal peace and freedom to its country, suggests that a Military Inter-Allied Commission should be created under whose control the local administration of Poland could perform its functions until it will be possible for the legal Polish Government to take over authority.

“Such a Commission should have at its disposal military contingents of the States represented on it. The statutes of the Commission and the principles upon which the local administration would be based should be established in detail in agreement with the Polish Government. The Polish Government additionally stresses that the authorities of the Polish Republic, abolished by the German occupying authorities in violation of the stipulations of the IV-th Hague Convention of 1907,1 in effect continued to function underground and should constitute the foundation of the administration of the country.

“After the return to Poland of her Supreme State Authorities as well as of her citizens who are at present outside her frontiers due to war events, elections will be held on the basis of a universal, secret, equal, direct and proportional electoral law, giving to all political parties full freedom of electoral action, and to all citizens equal and free right of expressing their will.

“The Polish Government will retain its authority until the convocation of the Parliament (Sejm) on the above mentioned principles and the creation in Poland of a new legal government.

“III.—The Polish Government trusts that the United States Government will not take part in any decisions concerning the Allied Polish State taken without the participation and consent of the Polish Government.

“The Polish Government is convinced that at the meeting of the three great Powers the United States Government will express its decision of not recognizing in Poland accomplished facts and particularly of not recognizing a ‘puppet government’. The recognition of such a ‘government’ in Poland would be equivalent to the cancellation of the recognition of an independent Poland, for the maintenance of which the present war started.”

  1. For the text of this convention regarding the laws and customs of war on land, signed at The Hague October 18, 1907, see Department of State Treaty Series No. 539, or 36 Stat. 2277.