860C.01/1–2745: Telegram

The Chargé to the Polish Government in Exile (Schoenfeld) to the Secretary of State

Poles23 8. The following telegram has been sent to Paris 36, January 26, 7 p.m. For Bohlen24 for appropriate disposition.

I give below memorandum drawn up by Mr. Mikolajczyk25 giving his personal views on the possible solution of the Polish problem. He has provided the British with a similar memorandum.

Memorandum begins: The meeting of the heads of the Governments of the Three Great Powers will take place in exceptional circumstances when many a problem can be solved in a more permanent way than at any time before.

As to the question of Poland almost its entire territory has already been freed from German occupation and those territories which ought to be included in Poland may soon also be liberated.

Poland, one of the first victims of Nazi aggression, Poland, a nation which never surrendered to the Germans, never produced a Quisling, and takes, both in the homeland and abroad, from the very beginning of the war an active part in the common struggle side by side with the Allies; this Poland should in principle not emerge from the war with its territory diminished. It should rise as a true sovereign independent and democratic state.

Meanwhile the Polish nation and its soldiers fighting on various fronts have grounds for apprehension as to the frontiers of the future Poland as well as its genuine independence.

The threat to Poland’s territories results from the claims of the Soviet Union to the eastern province of Poland.

The threat to Poland’s independence results from the establishment on Polish soil of a “provisional government” representing solely and exclusively the authority of one trifling group, namely, of the Communists.

[Page 116]

The Teheran Conference foreclosed in large measure the question of Poland’s eastern frontiers.26 On the results of the coming meeting will depend the solution of both problems: its frontiers and its independence. The attitude of the Polish people in the homeland, as expressed in their messages to London, can be summed up as follows:

There exists among the Poles a unanimous desire to regulate Polish-Soviet relations and to arrive at a friendly and good neighborly cooperation.
At the same time there exists the fear that Poland will be forced into Communism and there is a lack of faith in the keeping of international agreements.
Poles pin their hopes for the upholding of their independence and freedom on Great Britain and the US and in this connection they put forward the necessity of a guarantee by all the Three Great Powers of a complete settlement of all Polish problems particularly of Poland’s frontiers and independence.
Taking into account the realities of the present situation, the following views on the territorial issue are advanced:
Frontier changes should embrace simultaneously all frontiers.
The delineation of the eastern frontiers should be effected by a compromise not by a unilateral dictation. In the settlement between Poland and Lithuania, Belo-Russia and the Ukraine, statistical data based on the census of the population and Poland’s economic interests should be taken into account. According to the Council of National Unity in Poland,27 the new frontier line in the east which should be delineated with the consent of the Allies should be more favorable to Poland than the so-called Curzon Line.27a
The territorial compromise in the east should be arrived at only in conjunction with the guaranteeing to Poland of the restitution of Danzig, East Prussia and of those lands in the west which were torn away from Poland and Germanized in the course of Poland’s history.


In seeking a solution of the Polish question two main problems come to the fore: The future frontiers of the Polish Republic and the independence, sovereignty and freedom of the Polish nation.

[Page 117]

Both these questions are closely intertwined and correlated because:

The question of the independence of a nation must include the territory in which that nation has to live.
The Polish nation would be unable to accept a compromise which would leave out the question of what territories will be allocated to the Poles in the west and in the north.
World public opinion would remain uneasy if it were only decided to take away from Poland 48% of Polish prewar territory for the benefit of Russia.
If Poland is to lose territory it must not lose the Polish population living in it. That population must know beforehand what its fate is going to be, and the right of repatriation and assistance in the resettlement of these people must be guaranteed to them.
A plan for the eviction of the Germans as well as for the transfer of Poles in Russia possessing Polish citizenship, of Poles inhabiting eastern Poland and of Poles in Germany must be prepared in advance. This plan must be coupled with a plan of credits and economic investments for the reconstruction of Poland with a plan involving both foreign and internal credits. These plans cannot be prepared and completed without the delineation of the future frontiers of the Republic of Poland.

The problem of Poland’s frontiers.

In view of the Soviet claims to Poland’s eastern lands and the determination of the Soviet Government to keep these lands a frontier compromise which the Poland nation might be able to accept under the strain of necessity and one which the majority of Polish political leaders probably could accept no responsibility for submitting to the Polish Parliament for ratification, ought to be based on the so-called Curzon Line prolonged in Eastern Galicia along the so-called Line (B)28 with certain modifications in the north such as would leave within Poland Bielowieza forest and Grodno. In the southern sector, Line (B) should be straightened out from Jaryszow to the Carpathians allocating Kalusz to Poland in view of its great importance to an agricultural country.

In the west and north Poland’s new frontier should include East Prussia, Danzig, the region of Opole (Oppeln), the region of Gruenberg on the left bank of the Oder and, northward, the whole right [Page 118]bank of the Oder including its estuary with the town and harbor of Stettin and the two islands Usedom and Wollen.

With the inclusion of Königsberg and the River Niemen in the Soviet Union, Poland’s economic and communications system requires in order to utilize fully the access to the sea—the control of the Rivers Vistula and Oder. If these conditions were not fulfilled the broad belt of seacoast would not be of greater value to Poland in view of the lack of a more important port and of a navigable river flowing into the Baltic, considering particularly the fact that the whole system of land communications of this territory runs rather from west to east than from south to the north.

The above mentioned solution would benefit both Poland and Czechoslovakia. The two countries would thereby be more closely linked economically and would obtain facilities for trading with overseas countries eliminating the transit through German territory.

This solution offers also great advantages from the point of view of security against any threat of a new German aggression, as on the territories thus cut off from Germany are certain industries which are working for the military machine of the Reich, including plants of synthetic oil.

Problems of Poland’s independence and the right of self-determination of the Polish nation.

The present memorandum leaves out problems relating to the security and independence of Poland which result from international agreements and alliances. It is assumed that the exchange of views in writing between the Polish Government headed by Premier Mikolajczyk and the points agreed on during his negotiations with the British and US Governments remain in force and that a Polish-Soviet agreement, including an alliance between the two countries—if concluded—will solve the problems of exchange of populations, security, et cetera.

Herein only questions of the government and of the administration of Poland are presented with the view of seeking such solutions as would secure for Poland—in the transition period—a government truly representing all democratic forces of the country, a government enjoying the confidence of the Polish people and capable of assuming the onerous task of normalization of conditions inside Poland, of initiating her reconstruction, of carrying out evictions and resettlements on a very large scale, in short a government which would remain in office until the convocation of the first postwar parliament and which would enable the people to cast their votes freely in an honest general election.

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There are the following alternatives:

(1) The simplest solution would be the return of the Polish President to Poland where he would appoint a new government.

(2) The second alternative would be an agreement on a person in Poland in whose favor the President should resign his office. This new legal president would then appoint a new government.

(3) The third solution—outside the scope of legal procedure—would be for the representatives of the Council of National Unity and of the National Council of the Homeland (Lublin Committee) to assemble in the presence of the representatives of the Three Great Powers with the object of choosing a new government to be created in Poland.

(4) Still another way out—also outside of legal procedure—would be to create in Poland a “presidential council” which should be composed of the most widely known leaders and representatives of political life, the churches and science.

This council would summon a conference of the representatives of the following bodies:

Ministers of the Polish Government who lived and acted in Poland throughout the war.
The Council of National Unity in Poland.
The Lublin “provisional government”.
The National Council of the Homeland (Lublin).
The political parties of Poland.

This conference should take place in the presence of the representatives of the Three Great Powers. Afterwards, the “presidential council” would determine the number and names of the parties to be represented in the new government, the proportion in which they should be represented, and the Prime Minister Designate who would form the new cabinet to be nominated by the “presidential council”.

(5) It could also be that the “presidential council” would summon a conference of the representatives of the political parties only (again in the presence of the representatives of the Three Great Allied Powers) and, that at this conference the person of the Prime Minister Designate, the proportion of party representatives in the government and other details should be determined.

In assessing impartially the respective influence of the various political movements they should be listed in the following order:

The most numerous party is the Peasant Party.
National Party.
Socialist Party.
Christian Labor Party.

The Polish Communist Party which is now called the Polish Workers Party, before the war never represented more than one or one-half percent of the people. The National Radical Party (1) represented only a very small percentage of the intelligentsia, particularly [Page 120]in Warsaw but on account of its anti-Democratic program it is not to be taken into consideration and—like the Pilsudskist Party29 —it was never represented on the authorities of the underground state. The so-called Democratic Party has no great influence although its representative sits on the Council of National Unity in Poland.

The Government of Mr. Mikolajczyk proposed in their memorandum that each of the five main parties should have an even 20% of seats in the cabinet to be formed in Warsaw.

It should be stressed that it is the principal condition that the parties in question and their legitimate authorities must themselves choose their representatives, for until now the Lublin Committee has been speaking for all the parties, putting up entirely unknown people who had no right to represent these parties. All the parties have their legitimate authorities either in the underground or in exile and their representatives must be determined in agreement with those party authorities. Also the complete freedom of organizing themselves and the right of unmolested assembly must be secured for these parties.

The Polish nation would most certainly lose its independence if the Lublin “provisional government” were left in office, for this would mean the rule of a trifling Communist group over huge majority of the nation even if it were sanctioned by sham elections which under such circumstances—as we know from experience in totalitarian countries—give a 100% vote for the ruling group.

Therefore it is decisive for the independence of Poland and for the freedom and future of the nation—to establish without further delay—a government based on all democratic political movements and to secure for this government the freedom of action, the assistance of the Allies and their confidence.

The creating in Poland of Government of National Unity capable of action and based on the will of the great majority of the nation and on its democratic political movements (which deserve so much credit for their five years of struggle against the Germans) will also create a favorable impression on the world public opinion. When the Lublin “government” will be dissolved and when such a new government will be created and enabled to act then also the parties who will be assured of freedom of action in a free country and will recall their leaders and members from abroad where they are representing the nation and Poland’s independence. End of memorandum.

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Persons that Mr. Mikolajczyk considers as possible candidates for the “presidential council” are as follows: Prince Sapieha, Archbishop of Cracow; Mgr. Lukemski, Bishop of Lomza; Professor Stanislaw Kutrzeba,30 Cracow University; Professor Franciszek Bujak,31 Lwow University; Professor Veon [apparent garble] Marchlewski, Cracow University; Professor Stefan Pienkowski, Rector of Warsaw Polytechnic; Professor Wladyslaw Szaf er, ex-Rector, Cracow University; Wincenty Witos,32 noted Peasant leader, former Prime Minister; Zygmunt Zulawski,33 Cracow; Stanislaw Wojciechowski, Warsaw (the 1926 President of Poland); Aleksander Mogilnicki; President of the Supreme Court; Professor Stanislaw Grabski, President of National Council London.34


[President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, with their advisers, met in conference at Malta, January 30–February 2, 1945, and President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and Marshal Stalin, with their advisers, met in conference at Yalta, February 4–11, 1945. For the consideration of Polish matters at these conferences, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, index entries under Poland, pages 1011 1012. For the Declaration on Poland included as item VI of the Report of the Crimea Conference (the communiqué issued by President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and Marshal Stalin on February 11, 1945, at the end of the conference and released to the press on February 12), see ibid., pages 973 974. For additional pre-Conference documentation regarding Poland, see ibid., pages 227 236.]

  1. Series designation for telegrams to and from the American Mission to the Polish Government in Exile, at London.
  2. Charles E. Bohlen, Assistant to the Secretary of State, who was then in Paris. Mr. Bohlen, who was a member of the American delegation to the Yalta Conference, was accompanying Harry L. Hopkins, Special Assistant to President Roosevelt, in pre-conference visits to London, Paris, and Rome.
  3. Stanislaw Mikolajczyk, former Prime Minister of the Polish Government in Exile, at London (resigned November 1944); exiled leader of the Peasant Party.
  4. For documentation regarding the conference of President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and Premier Stalin, with their advisers, at Tehran, November 28–December 1, 1943, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943; concerning Poland’s eastern frontiers, see ibid., Index, p. 920, entries under “Poland: Boundary revision, proposed”, and map facing p. 601.
  5. Rade Jednosci Narodowej, the underground parliament in German-occupied Poland.
  6. For the origin and a description of the Curzon Line, see Foreign Relations The Paris Peace Conference, 1919, vol. xiii, pp. 793 794. See also Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iii, p. 1220, footnote 15.
  7. In Report No. 3, dated June 17, 1919, of the Commission on Polish Affairs at the Paris Peace Conference, two lines were proposed for the Polish frontier in Eastern Galicia. “Of these alternatives ‘line A’ was the frontier subsequently incorporated in article 1.A of the draft treaty relative to Eastern Galicia; this line constituted the southern part of what subsequently became known as the Curzon Line. ‘Line B’ ran approximately from just west of Sokal southwards by way of Dobrotwór to Bóbrka whence it ran generally southwestwards to the Czechoslovak frontier slightly northwest of Klimiec, thereby including in Polish territory Lemberg (Lvov) and Drohobycz.” [Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1919–1939, First Series, vol. i, footnote on p. 789.) For descriptions of lines A and B, including map, see ibid., vol. iii, pp. 839–841.
  8. The “Sanitation Party”, the popular name for the “Non-Party Bloc of Cooperation with the Government” which supported the pre-war regime of Marshal Jozef Pilsudski.
  9. Professor of History and Rector of the University of Cracow before World War II; member of the Polish delegation to the Paris Peace Conference, 1919.
  10. Polish economist and educator and authority on Polish agrarian problems.
  11. Leader of the pre-1939 Peasant Party (Stronnictwo Ludowe); Prime Minister of Poland, 1920–1921 and 1923–1926; in retirement in Poland during World War II.
  12. Chairman of the National Council of the Polish Socialist Party (Polska Partja Socjalistyczna); in Poland during World War II in the London-directed underground resistance.
  13. Resigned in November 1944.