The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 8—1:38 p.m.]
667. Polco. The following are my comments and recommendations in regard to the situation of the Commission on Poland as last reported in my 636 of March 6, 2 a.m. As background, it is my belief that the tactics of Molotov and the Warsaw Government were agreed to when Beirut and company were in Moscow immediately after the Crimea Conference. It seems probable they consider time is playing in their favor. Every day the Lublin Government is becoming more and more the Warsaw Government and the rulers of Poland. From eyewitness reports I am told that governmental machinery is being established under the direction of Warsaw throughout the recently liberated areas. I have no information on how far to believe the stories emanating from London of persecution of political opponents in the recently-liberated areas. It certainly was true that in the Lublin days, individuals accused of connection with the political murders of Russians and Poles were harshly dealt with. The Warsaw Government, however, is undoubtedly making every effort to break up the opposition by persuasion, by threats and by publicly discrediting the more independent-minded in the way it has attempted to do with Mikolajczyk.
Since the Polish people fear the Russians and are inclined to be suspicious of the “Lublinites”, these latter may figure that if they should permit the coming to Moscow of strong opposition leaders, these men would become the champions of Polish independence from Russian domination in the eyes of the people and thus the task of the Warsaw [Page 146]Government to obtain leadership would be made materially more difficult. In addition, if they had to face truly strong opposition leaders in Moscow, it would be necessary for them to make a much more drastic reorganization of the Government than if they could induce the Commission to limit its invitations to those more amenable to their way of thinking. Thus it would seem that the agreement reached between the Lublinites and the Kremlin was that every effort should be made to obstruct the inviting to Moscow for consultation of the courageous and independent opposition leaders.
If Molotov is successful in inducing us to invite the Lublinites to Moscow before inviting any outside Poles, he will be in the position of refereeing a discussion between Clark Kerr and myself on the one side and the Lublinites on the other, in which the Lublinites will present charges sincere or trumped up, against each of our dangerous candidates. He would not have to take responsibility for presenting these charges himself. In spite of this I must confess that I would have liked to have faced these men and Molotov together in order to understand fully what we were up against. I realize, however, that this appears no longer possible since the British Government has taken such a strong attitude against it, supported by the Department’s instructions in cable No. 482, March 3, 7 p.m.
I therefore recommend against receding, at this time, from the position we have taken during the last two conferences, namely, that the Commission must at least invite a representative group of independent Poles before allowing the Warsaw representatives to come to Moscow. As a first step, I recommend that we follow one of two courses: (1) That Clark Kerr and I, on instructions from our Governments, should insist that the principle be accepted by the Commission that each member shall have the right to name a certain number of individuals to be invited for consultation with the Commission. It might be agreed that the first list should be relatively small in the first instance and subject to expansion at a later date after preliminary consultations with the Warsaw representatives and the independent groups; (2) that Clark Kerr and I should insist on Molotov’s acceptance of a limited number of our nominees, say two from London and two from within Poland, offering Molotov the right to invite one from each area, leaving open for future agreement the manner in which we would expand the list after consultation with these Poles and the Warsaw representatives. Perhaps we might be instructed to try both courses. If plan 2 is to be pursued, I would recommend inviting Mikolajczyk and Grabski from London, and from Poland Kutrzeba and one of the strictest individuals from the dozen or so names that we have given Molotov. (See cable No. 565, February 27, 7 p.m.) Mikolajczyk undoubtedly is the most important figure. Both Molotov [Page 147]and the Lublinites are now basing their objection to him on the grounds that he has come out publicly against the Crimea decision. Even though this contention is not correct, his public statement was sufficiently unfortunate to give some grounds for their argument. I strongly advise, therefore, that pressure be brought to bear on Mikolajczyk to come out with a simple, forthright, unqualified statement to the effect that in the interests of the future of Poland, he is ready to support the Crimea decision and come to Moscow if invited. To be of any value, there can be no word of doubt or qualification. In other words his statement must without reservation accept the Crimea decision but not express approval of it. I hope he can be induced to make this statement within the next 48 hours.
My third alternative if 1 and 2 fail, is a compromise; namely, that we agree to invite the Warsaw representatives to Moscow first and listen to anything they have to say, but that Molotov on his part should now agree in writing that after we have heard their views, each member of the Commission shall have the right to invite any democratic leaders from within Poland or abroad whom he considers useful for consultation. Under this plan each member of the Commission would have to submit his candidates to the Commission, listen to the comments of the others, give a certain time for investigation but then be free, if he persists in his desire, to extend an invitation.
I do not like to even suggest the thought of a breaking down of our conversations but I strongly recommend that we not pursue a course on which we would not be willing to rest our case if Molotov continues to be unreasonable.
It would be most helpful to have an early reply.