840.50 UNRRA/2–2845

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Deputy Director of the Office of European Affairs (Hickerson)


Mr. Menshikov came in to see me yesterday afternoon by appointment made at his request. He is one of the Deputy Directors General of UNRRA and is in charge of the Bureau of Areas.

[Page 968]

Mr. Menshikov said that he was particularly interested in obtaining any possible information in regard to the situation in Poland. He explained that UNRRA has a ship loading with supplies which is to sail in a few days for Constanţa, the supplies being destined to Poland. He said that UNRRA is having great difficulty in finding anyone in Poland with whom to communicate. He said that about two months ago they decided that as a practical matter they could not effectively communicate with the Polish Government in London in regard to the situation in Poland and that they had been endeavoring to communicate with the local authorities in Poland. He said that they had sent numerous messages but that they had received only one reply. This reply came from some official connected with the Lublin Committee and the reply urged that they expedite supplies via Constanţa.

Mr. Menshikov said that in their efforts to communicate with the local authorities in Poland he had tried the Soviet Embassy in Washington as a channel of communication but that this had resulted in no improvement in the situation and UNRRA was still almost completely in the dark in regard to the relief situation in Poland. He inquired whether there was anything beyond the Yalta communiqué28 which I could tell him about the Polish situation which might help them in their planning.

I told Mr. Menshikov that the State Department wishes to be of every possible assistance to UNRRA and that I could appreciate the difficulties of communication in respect to Poland. I told him, however, that there was very little that I could add to the Yalta Communiqué. I went on to say that he would have noted that Mr. Molotov29 and the American30 and the British Ambassadors31 were constituted as a commission to consult with the Poles from within and without Poland with a view to the reorganization of the Polish Government and the constitution of a Polish Provisional Government of National Unity. I said that it was hoped that this work would go forward rapidly and that the Provisional Government of National Unity could be constituted in a short time. I reminded Mr. Menshikov that the Soviet, United States and United Kingdom Governments will establish diplomatic relations with that government. I added that when the new Provisional Government of National Unity is established there will then be no question as to the Polish authorities with whom UNRRA should deal.32

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John Hickerson
  1. Conferences at Malta and Yalta, pp. 968, 973974.
  2. Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, Soviet People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
  3. W. Averell Harriman, American Ambassador in the Soviet Union.
  4. Sir Archibald Clark Kerr, British Ambassador in the Soviet Union.
  5. For documentation regarding the establishment of a Provisional Government of National Unity in Poland, see vol. v, pp. 110 ff.