The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to the Secretary of State
[Received 8:45 p.m.]
540. For the Acting Secretary. We had our first meeting of the Polish Commission42 yesterday. Molotov, who assumed the chairmanship, was most affable throughout the discussions. Referring to the Crimea statement on Poland, he suggested that the Provisional Government should be called to Moscow and consulted in the first instance. [Page 124]To this Clark Kerr and I agreed but suggested that we might, at this time, agree among ourselves as to which Poles we should invite from Poland and abroad for consultation. Clark Kerr and I suggested the names of Bishop Sapieha, Wincenty Witos and Zulawski from Poland. I emphasized we were advancing these names for consultation and not necessarily for inclusion within the new government. Molotov agreed to the three names but referred to the President’s letter to Marshal Stalin at Yalta45 in which five names had been suggested and as a result we agreed to invite in addition Professors Bujak and Kutrzeba.
Clark Kerr, with my support, proposed the names of Mikolajczyk, Grabski and Romer46 from London. Molotov repeated the doubt expressed at Yalta as to the reaction of the provisional government to Mikolajczyk. Clark Kerr stated the British public and parliamentary opinion considered Mikolajczyk a sine qua non in view of the public confidence he enjoys.
I recalled to Molotov what the President had said at Yalta about his own attitude and that of the American public towards Mikolajczyk and stated unequivocally that American opinion would not accept consultations which did not include Mikolajczyk. In reply to my inquiry as to whether Molotov had any additional suggestions of Poles from London, he proposed General Zelikowski.47 Clark Kerr immediately agreed but I pointed out that according to my information he was 80 years old and not in full possession of his faculties. If this was correct the invitation of a man in such physical condition would put us in a rather ludicrous position in public opinion. Molotov readily dropped the name with the understanding that it might be given consideration later.
After some discussion it was agreed to invite the members from the Provisional Government to come to Moscow and to advise them of the names we were proposing to invite for consultation from Poland and abroad, giving them the opportunity to comment. Molotov agreed that the commission would in no sense be bound by the views of the Provisional Government.
It was agreed to send a telegram from the three of us to Warsaw:48
- Indicating our desire for a meeting with the representatives of the Polish Government and asking whom they would send;
- Naming the five persons within Poland whom we propose to invite for consultation;
- Similarly naming the three Poles from London;
- Pointing out that these men both within Poland and abroad are being invited for consultation and not necessarily representative members of the new government;
- Indicating a readiness to receive any observations which the Polish Government cared to make on the above.
A telegram along the above lines is being sent today.
No public statement has been agreed to so far and I hope you will agree that no information about our discussions should be given out in Washington.
The Declaration on Poland (
ibid., p. 973) provided for Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union, Sir Archibald Clark Kerr, British Ambassador in the Soviet Union, and W. Averell Harriman, American Ambassador in the Soviet Union, to constitute themselves as a Commission:
“… to consult in the first instance in Moscow with members of the present Provisional Government and with other Polish democratic leaders from within Poland and from abroad, with a view to the reorganization of the present Government along the above lines.”
- For text of President
Roosevelt’s letter of February 6, 1945, to Marshal Stalin, see
Conferences at Malta and Yalta, p. 727.↩
- Tadeusz Romer, Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Polish Government in Exile, at London (resigned November 1944).↩
- General Lucjan Zeligowski, member of the National Council of the Polish Government in Exile, at London; he gained fame as a military commander during the establishment of the Polish Republic after World War I.↩
- Following the capture of Warsaw by the Red Army on January 17, 1945, the Polish Provisional Government moved from Lublin to Warsaw.↩