860C.01/2–345: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State 1

secret
us urgent

Niact Poles 11. From Schoenfeld.

Polish Foreign Office has sent me by hand, with the request that it be urgently telegraphed, following letter dated February 3, 1945 for the President from Prime Minister Arciszewski:

“Mr. President.

At this time the fate of many nations rests in your hands and in the hands of Prime Minister Churchill. The whole world expects that these important discussions in which you and the Prime Minister of Great Britain are taking part will result in the creation of foundations for a future peace, a peace which should bring to nations the freedom of conscience and speech and secure for them freedom from fear and want. I trust that these essential freedoms will also be granted to our nation which has been fighting unflinchingly for their realization at the side of the great American and British democracies.

In particular I trust you will not permit any decisions to be taken which might jeopardize the legitimate rights of Poland or her independence and that you will not recognize any faits accomplis with regard to Poland. If peace in Europe is to be durable it must be based on principles of justice, on respect of law, on good neighbourly relations as well as honesty in international life.

While I am writing these words, the lives of many thousands of Poland’s best sons are in danger. The so-called provisional government [Page 951]of Lublin has openly declared its intention to try as traitors all soldiers of the Polish home army and members of the Polish underground movement. Mass arrests and deportations have already taken place. You are well aware that they have fought the Germans gallantly and regardless of sacrifice throughout the five years of occupation. You assisted them yourself with your aid and in the memorable days of the Warsaw rising the American and British Governments recognized the home army as part of the regular Polish forces fighting alongside the United Nations. Today the lives of these soldiers are in danger because they recognize the independent, legal Polish Government and because they firmly insist on their rights as men and citizens. Therefore I beg of you to urge upon the Soviet Government whose armies are at present in occupation of the territory of Poland to give proof that they genuinely desire understanding with Poland and to prevent the execution of the criminal plans of the Lublin men.

Please accept, Mr. President, the assurance of my highest consideration.

(Signed). Tomasz Arciszewski.”
Winant
  1. This telegram is endorsed “Text sent to President through Map Room Feb. 3”. The telegram from Grew to the President, dated February 4, embodying the text of Arciszewski’s letter, is among the Roosevelt Papers; and a chit with it reads as follows:

    “6 February:

    Shown to Mr. Hiss who took it to show to Doc Matthews. Returned and said that no action was necessary that they were working on Polish problem then, and that perhaps later acknowledgment might be in order.

    R[obert] W B[ogue]”

    Roosevelt acknowledged Arciszewski’s message by a telegram of February 15, 1945, in which he stated: “You may be assured that Poland’s problems received most careful and sympathetic consideration at our recent Conference. I hope we may all work together harmoniously to find the correct solution in due time.” (Roosevelt Papers.)