The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 5—1:00 a.m.]
629. Polco. Re Department’s 482, March 3, 7 p.m. I feel certain the Department is correct in opposing the British proposal to request Soviet approval for a high powered mission to go to Poland. I am satisfied that Molotov would not agree to it and that even to make the suggestion at this time would be confusing and not back the work of the Commission. At our last meeting Molotov cooled off on his suggestion made at the previous meeting that Clark Kerr and I send representatives to Poland. I feel that this was because Clark Kerr, on instructions from Prime Minister, proposed sending “four or five trusted men”. Molotov, quite naturally I felt, asked what they were to do. Thus Molotov’s suspicions have been aroused that the British have different objectives than he had originally in mind and I am not now sure that we can get his agreement to send even one representative.
For Department’s information I have consistently maintained the position in the Commission’s discussions that we are working as one rather than as advocates for the different Polish groups. Molotov so far has outwardly accepted this position although it now seems clear that he and the Lublin Poles are working together along lines agreed to when the latter were here in mid February.94
I appreciate greatly the guidance the Department has given me and its willingness on the other hand to leave to my discretion the conduct of the negotiations. Unfortunately Clark Kerr is handicapped by being directed at every turn by the Foreign Office based on information always a little late. Clark Kerr has kindly shown me all of his cables from the Foreign Office and the Prime Minister [Page 142]and it seems that Downing Street is viewing the work of the Commission more from the standpoint of the debate in the House of Commons than from the urgent need of making progress in implementing the Crimea agreement.
This is going to be difficult at best and I feel it is of the utmost importance that if the discussions here are unduly protracted to the point of public criticism our record should be very clear that it was due to the Soviet Government or the Poles and not the fault of the British or ourselves.
Clark Kerr is recovering satisfactorily from his operation and we expect to have a meeting tomorrow. It seems clear that our first immediate question is agreement on what independent Poles from within Poland we are to invite to Moscow for consultation. It is my intention to press Molotov for agreement to invite a representative list and if successful to agree to have the Warsaw Poles proceed promptly to Moscow.
Sent to Department, repeated to London as 93.
- President Bierut, Prime Minister Osobka-Morawski, and Colonel General Zymierski visited Moscow from February 14 to February 20, 1945, during which time they had conversations with Marshal Stalin and Foreign Minister Molotov.↩