860C.01/3–245: Telegram

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

610. For the Acting Secretary. British Ambassador received a message late in evening of February 28 from Eden stating that he regretted that the British Ambassador had agreed to call the Warsaw [Page 135]Poles to Moscow prior to the extension by the Commission of an invitation to other Polish leaders from liberated Poland, explaining that this would confirm the worst fears of certain members of the House and thereby cause the British Government further difficulties. Clark Kerr was therefore instructed to insist that the Commission before the arrival of the representatives of the Warsaw Government invite these other Polish leaders to come to Moscow at once.

We therefore had a meeting late last night lasting three and a half hours to discuss the proposal of the British Government. The discussion confirmed my view that Molotov would take no action without previous consultation with the Warsaw Poles even in the selection of the independent Poles to be invited to Moscow. He was willing to invite only persons who were on the list submitted by the Warsaw Government as contained in my 557, February 27, 11 a.m. You will realize that the five names suggested by Bierut from western Poland included only one of those proposed by us, namely Professor Kutrzeba, and four other persons regarding whom we have absolutely no information and who have never been publicly known to be active in politics. The names from London included only one that we had suggested, namely Grabski.

At one time Molotov suggested that we limit our invitation at this time to Kutrzeba, Grabski and General Zeligowski. He firmly resisted the invitation to Mikolajczyk contending against all argument, including the reading of Mikolajczyk’s statement to the press,90 that Mikolajczyk had publicly disavowed the Crimean decision.

As Mikolajczyk has refused to come to Moscow until after the arrival of the Poles from Warsaw, Clark Kerr explained that he was [Page 136]suggesting at this time the extending of invitations only to Poles from within Poland, and we both stated categorically that we would not agree to the extension of any invitations to London Poles unless Mikolajczyk was included. Molotov therefore agreed to limit the discussion to the inviting of Poles from within Poland. After hours of discussion it was obvious that we could come to no agreement. Molotov kept insisting that he would not invite Poles to Moscow until he had direct knowledge that those individuals were in sympathy with the Crimea decision. He contended that he had no information about any of the men on our list except Professor Kutrzeba and admitted that until he had consulted the Warsaw Government he would be unable to include any others.

The upshot of the conversation was agreement between Clark Kerr and Molotov to put off the invitation of the Warsaw Poles. I objected to the delay and insisted that the commission should be ready to work independently of the opinion of the Warsaw Government, but Molotov was adamant. Under the circumstances I agree to join in a telegram to Bierut requesting the postponement of the visit to Moscow.

I am not able to judge the reactions in England as described by Eden’s message but from the standpoint of the negotiations here I regret that it has not been possible for us to bring the Warsaw Poles to Moscow at this stage and have a blunt talk with them. Their telegram has indicated that they do not accept the spirit of the Crimea decisions and I still feel it is essential to talk with them and Molotov together in order to find out whether there is any basis at all for agreement.

It is still my conviction that the Russians cannot afford to let the Crimea decisions break down. On the other hand it is apparent that Molotov is under instructions from Stalin and his associates to give as little ground as possible in the direction of bringing in elements not under Soviet control and to fight every inch of the way. It is equally my intention, unless I am instructed otherwise, not to be a party to inviting any Poles outside the Warsaw Government unless the group includes a reasonable number of independent leaders who are well known to the outside world, even though several of the list suggested by Warsaw might also be included. In addition I will not agree to inviting any Poles from London unless Mikolajczyk is included.

I feel we are going through the usual Russian tactics of attempting to wear us down. I am not yet pessimistic over the outcome, though I cannot help but be resentful of the tactics employed. The only good news I can give of the talk last night is that Molotov was obviously making every effort to keep the conversation in a friendly tone.

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Molotov has agreed to attempt to inform himself regarding the names we have proposed within Poland and at our next meeting he will inform us whether he will agree to the inviting of a representative list. I have maintained that he should agree to invite anyone that Clark Kerr and I feel will be useful. On the other hand, I have told him that I would be similarly ready to invite anyone that he wished to bring. Molotov’s only answer is the continued reiteration of his position that we should invite only Poles known to support the Crimea decisions.

We also had a brief talk regarding sending British and American representatives to Poland (reEmbs 597, March 1, 3 p.m.).

Molotov appeared less interested than in our last talk and asked Clark Kerr to advise exactly what our representatives were to do if they went to Poland. Clark Kerr is cabling the Prime Minister in order to be sure that he covers the ground Mr. Churchill has in mind.

Unfortunately Clark Kerr is undergoing a slight operation to his eye which will lay him up for three or four days and thus delay further meetings.

  1. In his telegram Polish Series 16, February 16, 1945, the Chargé to the Polish Government in Exile, who repeated I is telegram to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union, reported the text of a letter by Mikolajczyk which appeared in the London Daily Herald on February 16. In this letter, Mikolajczvk denied a statement carried in the Daily Herald on February 14 that the Crimea decisions on Poland were based on Mikolajczyk’s own suggestions. Mikolajczyk’s statement read in part as follows:

    “On the frontier question I maintain the view that the three great powers should share responsibility in the frontier settlement in which Poland should also participate.

    “I maintain also the view that by such a settlement the frontiers of Poland in the east as well as the west and north should be fixed simultaneously. Moreover, I always held that at least Lwow and the oilfields should remain within Poland.

    “On the second subject—the question of the government—I have pronounced myself in public in favour of convening a round-table conference of all the leaders of the Polish underground in Warsaw and of basing the government in Poland on all democratic elements and guaranteeing to such a government the means of unhampered action.

    “I have never suggested that this should be accomplished by the broadening and reorganization of the so-called Provisional Government in Lublin.” (740.0011 E.W./2–1645).

    For full text of the Mikolajczyk letter as well as the Daily Herald statement to which it was a reply, see Edward J. Rozek, Allied Wartime Diplomacy: A Pattern in Poland (New York, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1958), p. 352.