840.50 UNRRA/6–3045: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to the Secretary of State

2360. ReDeptel 1437, June 27, 8 p.m.88 In view of lack of accurate information in Moscow concerning use of food or other essential supplies by Soviets in Poland and Czechoslovakia, reply to Dept’s 1178, May 30, 5 p.m. was delayed pending discussion of subject with Poles who were expected to arrive shortly in Moscow.

Reports reaching Embassy from various outside observers who were in these areas during Red Army offensive agreed that Soviet troops in large measure lived off the country and carried only limited food supplies with their armies. Drain on local food reserves during this period was therefore probably heavy. When Soviet troops moved into Germany, size of Soviet forces in Poland was considerably reduced, but indications are that considerable garrison force still remains quartered principally in smaller towns and villages. High official of Warsaw Govt has informed me that Soviet forces in Poland no longer requisition local food supplies in large quantities and depend largely on supplies sent from Soviet Union. Other Polish sources not heretofore associated with Warsaw Govt report that Soviet forces in Poland are still drawing heavily on local food reserves particularly grain and cattle when available. Embassy has no data whatsoever on size of such requisitions and does not feel in a position to make an estimate.

No information is available here concerning requisitions of supplies in Czechoslovakia beyond reports that during offensive operations in that country as well Soviet forces were dependent largely on local food supplies.

In contrast to supplies utilized by Soviet forces in Poland considerable publicity has been given to relief shipments to Poland from Soviet Union. These were destined chiefly for relief of civilian population of Warsaw and consisted of substantial shipments of grain and smaller shipments of sugar, tea, soap and medical supplies. Gifts of 1000 [Page 989] trucks have been made to cities of Warsaw and Lodz and Soviet cotton is being supplied to meet requirements of Lodz textile industry.

There have been no reports of shipments of food or relief supplies to Czechoslovakia from the Soviet Union.

I feel that the information available here regarding Russian use of food supplies in these countries is inadequate to permit a decision on withholding UNRRA’s supplies and would recommend that a decision be postponed until our Missions at Warsaw and Prague have had an opportunity to investigate the situation and report.

  1. Not printed; it requested a report “regarding food or other essential supplies being taken by Soviets from Poland and Zecho or used by Soviet military forces there; also on shipments of relief supplies, if any, to those countries from areas under USSR control. Info even if incomplete needed earliest possible moment for discussions preceding UNRRA council meeting.” (840.50–UNRRA/5–3045)