Memoradum by the Chief of the Division of Eastern European Affairs (Durbrow) to the Chief of the Division of International Organization Affairs (Sandifer)

The Polish Ambassador95 called this morning and left the attached memorandum outlining the Polish Government’s preliminary views96 regarding the Dumbarton Oaks proposals.

The Ambassador stated that he felt it might be helpful to submit this memorandum in advance in order that you might study it and thus be in a better position to discuss details with him at a later date. He emphasized that the ideas as expressed in the memorandum were submitted on an informal basis and were of a preliminary nature and that they did not represent the final views of the Polish Government on this question.

The Ambassador states that as soon as you had had an opportunity to study the document he would be pleased to come to the Department to discuss them with you and any of your associates.97

Elbridge Durbrow

Summary of the Polish Commentary of February 5, 1945, on the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals

The Polish Government, in a memorandum of January [February] 5, 1945,98 presents its “preliminary observations” on the Dumbarton Oaks proposals, but reserves the right to present at a later date, when its official views are requested, suggestions and proposals which will “go further” than those put forward in the present document.

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In general, the Polish Government takes the position that the Dumbarton Oaks proposals are not, in every respect, an improvement on the League Covenant, and in this connection, makes specific reference to the predominance of the Great Powers under the current proposals, stating that it would “welcome any modifications of the present Dumbarton Oaks text which would improve the situation of the smaller states and assure to them a role corresponding with their rights, interests and place in the world”. To this end, the principal changes proposed in the Polish memorandum are:

Increase in the number of non-permanent seats on the Security Council to ten;
Adoption of a majority rule, including a majority of the permanent members, for council decisions (it is stated, however, that the application of the principle of unanimity would not be “unwelcome”, provided this includes the non-permanent members);
Denial of a vote to any state party to a dispute before the Security Council or to any state accused of failing to act in accordance with the provisions of the Charter;
Obligatory representation of states not members of the Security Council when matters specially affecting their interest are under consideration by the council;
Removal of all limitations on the right of the General Assembly to discuss any question referred to it by a member state or by the Security Council;
Restoration of rights and privileges of suspended members to rest with the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council;
Representation on the Military Staff Committee of member states, other than the Great Powers, whose permanent collaboration with the staff committee is deemed necessary by the Security Council.

Another group of Polish suggestions appears to stem directly from apprehensions with respect to the future security of Poland. In this connection, the Polish Government suggests the following changes in the Dumbarton Oaks proposals:

Deletion from the text of any reference to adjustment of international situations, restricting the organization’s activities to international disputes (Chapter I, paragraph 1; Chapter V, Section B, paragraph 6; Chapter VIII, Section A, paragraphs 1, 2, 5, and 7);
Inclusion in Chapter I of a reference to the aims enunciated in Article 6 of the Atlantic Charter (all nations to have the means of dwelling within their own boundaries in freedom from fear and want);
Amendment of Chapter II to include the principles of respect for territorial integrity and political independence and of non-aggrandizement and non-intervention;
Amendment of Chapter II to include respect for treaty obligations and repeated reference to this principle in connection with the admission of new members (Chapter V, Section B, paragraph 2) and pacific settlement (Chapter VIII, Section A, paragraphs 1, 3, and 4);
Express recognition in Chapter II of the right of any state to oppose unauthorized use of force against it, subject to immediate reference to the organization;
Limitation of the assistance pledged the organization in Chapter II, paragraph 5 and Chapter VIII, Section B, paragraph 5 to that compatible with political independence and economic resources;
Deletion of all provisions with respect to disarmament and the regulation of armaments (the Polish draft, however, has only deleted these provisions from Chapter V, Section B);
Investigation of disputes by the Security Council, under Chapter VIII, Section A, to be contingent upon the request of a party to the dispute, and one party to a dispute to have the express right to request the council to give effect to the resulting settlement, award or judgment if the other party fails to observe it (omission of paragraph 2, Section A, Chapter VIII in the Polish draft deletes all reference to the General Assembly in this section);
Amendment of Chapter VIII, Section B, paragraph 7 to exclude from the procedures provided in this section disputes which concern the territorial status of member states;
Deletion of the last sentence of paragraph 1, Section C, Chapter VIII, relative to the settlement of local disputes regionally.

Two other significant amendments to the Dumbarton Oaks proposals advocated by the Polish memorandum are:

Inclusion of the Economic and Social Council among the principal organs enumerated in Chapter IV.
No provision for expulsion (Chapter V, Section B, paragraph 3: Section C, paragraph 2).

  1. Jan Ciechanowski.
  2. Attached memorandum not printed; see annex for summary of the Polish commentary.

    For agreement at the Yalta Conference regarding the reorganization of the Polish Government, see section VI of the report of the Conference, February 12, 1945, Conferences at Malta and Yalta, p. 973; see also protocol of proceedings of the Conference (section VII, Poland), released to the press on March 24, 1947, ibid., p. 980.

    The Soviet Union announced recognition of the Lublin Committee as the provisional government of Poland on January 5, 1945; for President Roosevelt’s attitude on this anticipated action, see telegram 153, December 30, 1944, to Marshal Stalin, ibid., p. 224.

  3. In a memorandum of March 27 to the Acting Chief of the Division of Eastern European Affairs (Thompson) Mr. Sandifer stated:

    “The announcement of the results of the Yalta Conference was made before there had been an opportunity to discuss with the Polish Ambassador the memorandum accompanying Mr. Durbrow’s attached memorandum of February 5.

    “In view of the present status of the Polish Government in London in relation to the San Francisco Conference, it would hardly be worthwhile to discuss the memorandum with the Ambassador now. I am sorry not to have returned it sooner.” (500.CC/2–545)

  4. Not printed.