Bohlen Collection

Bohlen Minutes
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Subjects: Poland

Declaration on Liberated Areas

The meeting was opened by Mr. Molotov announcing that we had come together to discuss formulas with regard to Poland. Mr. Eden interrupted to say that he had just had a strong cable from the War Cabinet indicating that the earlier basis of discussion had not been satisfactory. He must, therefore, frankly say if we cannot get something like his text of three days ago there seems no chance of the British Government approving a formula. (The text of Mr. Eden’s earlier formula is attached)1 He thereupon handed the attached draft of a “revised formula” to Mr. Molotov.2 There was some lively discussion as to whether this was in fact a new formula to which Mr. Molotov objected, or whether it should be considered merely a modification of the American formula to which amendments could be added. This latter viewpoint was finally accepted, Mr. Eden explaining that the first two sentences were merely a reiteration of what the Prime Minister had said in the afternoon.

After a lengthy but amicable discussion, the following text was agreed to by all three:

“A new situation has been created by the complete liberation of Poland by the Red Army. This calls for the establishment of a provisional Polish government more broadly based than was possible before the recent liberation of western Poland. The provisional government now functioning in Poland should be reorganized on a broader democratic basis with the inclusion of democratic leaders from Poland itself and from those living abroad. This new government will then be called the ‘Polish Provisional Government of National Unity.’ Mr. Molotov, Mr. Harriman, and Sir Archibald Clark Kerr, are authorized to consult in the first instance in Moscow with members of the present provisional government and with other democratic leaders from within Poland and from abroad with a view to the reorganization of the present government along the above lines. This ‘Polish Provisional Government of National Unity’ would be pledged to the holding of free and unfettered elections as soon as practicable on the basis of universal suffrage and secret ballot. In these elections all democratic and anti-Nazi parties would have the right to take part and to put forth candidates.

“When a ‘Polish Provisional Government of National Unity’ has been properly formed in conformity with the above, the three governments will then accord it recognition.”

[Page 868]

The one important point on which considerable discussion failed to produce agreement was with respect to the addition of a further sentence along the following lines:

“The ambassadors of the three powers in Warsaw, following such recognition, would be charged with the responsibility of observing and reporting to their respective governments on the carrying out of the pledge in regard to free and unfettered elections.”

Mr. Stettinius and Mr. Eden emphasized the importance of the inclusion of some such sentence if recognition is to be transferred from the London Government because of its effect on public opinion in their respective countries. Mr. Molotov insisted that this was a point that could be discussed with the Poles by the commission of three in Moscow but could not be included without such discussion as it would offend their sensibilities. Mr. Stettinius then proposed a variation of that sentence, reading as following:

“The three governments recognizing their responsibility as a result of the present agreement for the future right of the Polish people freely to choose the government and institutions under which they are to live, will receive reports on this subject from their ambassadors in Warsaw.”

Mr. Molotov had the same objections to this sentence. It was left that the question would be put up to the Big Three Meeting this afternoon.

The second point discussed concerned Mr. Molotov’s proposed addition to the draft declaration on liberated areas. He proposed that the following clause be added at the conclusion of the third from last paragraph:

“And in this connection support should be given to the political leaders of these countries who took an active part in the struggle against the German invaders.”

Mr. Stettinius stated that he could not accept this addition and that it did not appear pertinent to the declaration. He said that it appeared like too much interference in the affairs of these countries and involved taking decisions on who had collaborated with the enemy, which should be left to the peoples of these countries themselves. Mr. Eden expressed full concurrence with those views. It was agreed likewise to refer this to the next session of the Big Three.

  1. Post, pp. 869870.
  2. Post, pp. 870871.