860C.01/3–645: Telegram

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

636. Polco. We had three more unproductive hours of discussion at the meeting of the Commission on Poland this evening, going over much the same ground as last time.

The British Ambassador and I proposed that the Commission invite the five men from within Poland originally named by the President at Yalta95 and indicated a willingness to agree to the inviting of any other Poles from Poland whom Molotov might wish. I argued for the Department’s suggestion that the Commission agree to invite any Poles whom anyone of the three of us considered useful for consultation. Molotov brushed all arguments aside saying that he did not know enough about any of our suggestions to allow him to agree to their being invited except Kutrzeba for the reason that he was acceptable to the Warsaw Poles. He suggested that they might not be truly democratic. When queried about Prince Sapieha he said [Page 143]his information indicated he was not truly democratic as he had once opposed the increase of public schools as being a luxury.

Molotov made two counter proposals: 1) That we invite the Warsaw Poles to Moscow at once and get from them first hand information about various Poles under consideration although he readily acquiesced that the Commission should not be bound by the Warsaw opinion. If we did not get Warsaw’s advice, however, we might make a mistake and find a Fascist in our midst. He consistently denied that he had adequate information on these people and repeatedly suggested that the best way to get such information was to bring the Warsaw Poles to Moscow for consultation.

In justification of this position he cited the words “in the first instance” in the communiqué. This gave me an opportunity to explain the meaning in accordance with Department’s 492, March 3, midnight. At first he challenged strongly our interpretation but when I pointed out that our obligation in the communiqué was to consult the Warsaw Government about its reorganization and not about whom we should invite he dropped the argument.

When Clark Kerr and I firmly stated that our respective Governments were unwilling to ask Warsaw Poles to come to Moscow until invitations had been extended to other representative Poles from within Poland on account of the unfavorable reaction in public opinion this would create in England and the United States, Molotov made his second proposal: 2) That we limit our invitations as a first step to the Warsaw representatives and four other Poles acceptable to the Warsaw Government, namely from within Poland, Kutrzeba and any one of the other four suggested by Warsaw and from London, Grabski and General Zeligowski. Clark Kerr and I bluntly pointed out to Molotov the absurdity of this suggestion.

I agreed to limit our invitations to four at this time if Mikolajczyk and Grabski were named from London and Kutrzeba and one of the other men of our list from within Poland, indicating, however, that I was ready to consider adding any names which Molotov might suggest from within Poland. Molotov refused to consider Mikolajczyk until we had had a chance to talk to the Warsaw Poles.

Clark Kerr then again proposed that we ask at this time only Poles from within Poland, attempting to get Molotov to broaden his selection. Molotov maintained the position that he could not agree to inviting any Poles from within Poland except from the list of five suggested by the Warsaw Government until we had had an opportunity to talk the matter over with the Warsaw Poles face to face.

Every argument Clark Kerr and I advanced was brushed aside. For example I told him that I knew the President would be shocked [Page 144]to learn of Molotov’s obstruction to the progress of the work of the Commission in objecting to our calling representative Polish democratic leaders to Moscow. I pointed out that Marshal Stalin had agreed to the inviting of Sapieha and Witos to Yalta and I failed to understand why Molotov now went back on this position. In reply he said that the communiqué was the “anchor” for the Commission’s work and that no other conversations at Yalta had a bearing.

At no time did Molotov budge an inch from the position he had taken at our last meeting, although at all times he refused to allow the conversation to become in any way acrimonious.

In view of the deadlock Clark Kerr and I finally agreed to report Molotov’s position to our Governments.

In closing Clark Kerr mentioned the question of a British mission going to Poland as a means of getting more information. Motolov interrupted by stating he did not feel he could now even take this question up with the Warsaw Government because of Mr. Eden’s recent “offensive remarks” about the Warsaw Government in the House.

I will comment in another message tomorrow on my reaction to this impasse.

  1. In a letter to Marshal Stalin, dated February 6, 1945, President Roosevelt named Archbishop Sapieha, Witos, Zulawski, Buyak, and Kutrzeba as persons who would be “desirable as representatives of the other elements of the Polish people in the development of a new temporary government which all three of us could recognize and support.…” For complete text of the letter, see Conferences at Malta and Yalta, p. 727.