President Roosevelt to the British Prime Minister (Churchill)1

691. There is quoted herewith following for your information Stalin’s2 reply to my message in regard to the Polish situation, my No. 684.3 I am not replying to Stalin, but we may discuss the matter at the meeting:4

“1 January 1945. I have received your message of December 31.

I am extremely sorry that I did not succeed in convincing you of the correctness of the position of the Soviet Government on the Polish question. Nevertheless, I hope that events will convince you that the Polish National Committee5 has all the time rendered and is continuing to render the Allies, in particular the Ked Army, important assistance in the fight against Hitlerite Germany whereas the émigré Government in London is bringing disorganization into this struggle and thus is aiding the Germans.

Of course, your suggestion to postpone for a month the recognition of the Provisional Government of Poland by the Soviet Union is perfectly understandable to me. But there is one circumstance which makes me powerless to fulfill your wish. The fact is that on December 27 the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR to an appropriate request of the Poles has already informed them that it intends to recognize the Provisional Government of Poland as soon [Page 111]as it is formed.6 This circumstance makes me powerless to fulfill your wish.

Permit me to congratulate you on the New Year and to wish you health and success.”

I have not told Stalin that my message to him was shown to you.

  1. Copy of telegram obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N.Y.
  2. Marshal Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin, Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union.
  3. Telegram 684 transmitted to Prime Minister Churchill the text of President Roosevelt’s telegram 153 to Marshal Stalin, dated December 30, 1944, Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iii, p. 1444.
  4. President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and Marshal Stalin, with their advisers, met in conference at Yalta in the Crimea, February 4–11, 1945. For documentation regarding the conference, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945.
  5. By a decree dated July 21, 1944, of the Communist-dominated legislative body in Soviet-liberated Poland, the Polish National Council (Krajowa Rada Narodowa, also sometimes rendered as the National Council of the Homeland), a Polish Committee of National Liberation was formed. Shortly afterwards, this Committee was established in Lublin and became known as the “Lublin Committee”. For an account of the establishment of this Committee, see telegram 2736, July 24, 1944. from Moscow, Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iii, p. 1425.
  6. On December 31, 1944, the Polish National Council decreed the transformation of the “Lublin Committee” into the Provisional Polish Government. On January 5, 1945, the Soviet Union announced its recognition of the Polish Provisional Government, thereby becoming the first government to extend such recognition.