860C.01/9–1045: Telegram

The Ambassador in Poland (Lane) to the Secretary of State

233. Acting Foreign Minister66 informs me that a note67 has been sent to you as well as to Messrs. Bevin68 and Molotov69 protesting regarding the continuance in London of the Arciszewski Government. He said that that Government still enjoys extraterritorial rights including privileges of diplomatic pouch and right of communicating by radio with the underground in Poland. I ventured the personal opinion that this would appear to be a matter between the British and Polish Governments and not one which is the responsibility of the United States Government which like the British and Soviet Governments no longer recognizes the Government in London.

Modzelewski replied that under Yalta70 and Potsdam71 agreements dissolution in London Government was contemplated and that all three Governments have equal responsibility. I said that recognition of Warsaw Government automatically terminated official status of London Government and that I did not recall any provision of Yalta or Potsdam decisions which would prevent London group from carrying on political activities locally.

Modzelewski took position that funds under control of British Treasury are still being used by London Government to meet expenses of its diplomatic missions abroad and of carrying on propaganda against the legal Polish Government.

He added that attitude of United States had been entirely correct in its relations with Arciszewski Government and that our action in [Page 370] blocking Polish funds in United States72 and in refusing to permit former Polish Ambassador in Washington to dispose of Polish Embassy property immediately prior to recognition73 is very much appreciated by Polish Government. Minister said he wished to advise me of foregoing in view of my projected visit to London74 which he welcomed as it would enable me to give to the Secretary of State “an objective account of conditions here including the existence of liberty of the press and the opening of the doors to foreign correspondents”.

I said that I had already informed my Government regarding the favorable action taken towards AP, UP and IMS [INS?]75 correspondents but that I am not convinced that there is liberty of the press in Poland. I admitted that there exists freedom of religion but that according to my best information parties which may not agree entirely with the Government cannot express themselves publicly. Modzelewski took position that with exception of NSZ76 underground which is according to him a Fascist organization and which circulates clandestine documents, all parties are free to publish newspapers. I could not, of course, quote Mikolajczyk,77 Kiernik78 and Popiel79 all of whom inform us that Peasant and Christian parties are not able to abolish [establish?] their respective organizations and cannot exercise right of assembly.

  1. Zygmunt Modzelewski, Polish Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Note of September 8 from the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity to the Secretary of State, supra.
  3. Ernest Bevin, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  4. Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union.
  5. For the Declaration on Poland, included as item VI of the Report of the Crimea Conference, issued by President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and Marshal Stalin as a communiqué on February 11, 1945, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, pp. 973974.
  6. For the declaration with regard to Poland in the Report on the Tripartite Conference of Berlin, issued as a communiqué dated August 2, 1945, see Conference of Berlin [Potsdam], vol. ii, pp. 15081509.
  7. All Polish assets in the United States had been frozen by the Treasury Department on June 14, 1941. Throughout the war, however, official agencies of the Polish Government in Exile were allowed to carry on financial transactions under general licenses granted by the Treasury Department. Prior to the recognition of the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity, these general licenses were cancelled, but reasonable legitimate operating and liquidation expenses of agencies in the United States of the Polish Government in Exile at London were permitted under special Treasury licenses. A memorandum by Elbridge Durbrow, Chief of the Division of Eastern European Affairs, dated September 24, 1945, recorded that the Treasury Department estimated Polish assets in the United States amounted to $31,000,000, approximately $28,000,000 of which was in gold held by the Federal Reserve Bank (860.51 FC 60C/9–1845).
  8. Telegram 1483, June 30, to Moscow, reported that Polish Ambassador Ciechanowski was willing to relinquish the Embassy building and archives but could not turn them over directly to representatives of a Government which he did not recognize. The Department was prepared to allow the Polish Ambassador reasonable time to pack his personal effects and then to have the Embassy building left in charge of a custodian who in turn would transfer the property to a representative of the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity. (8600.01/6–2945)
  9. Ambassador Lane went to London on September 12 to confer with the Secretary of State; he returned to Warsaw on September 18.
  10. Associated Press, United Press, and International News Service, respectively.
  11. Narodowe Sily Zbrojne (National Armed Forces).
  12. Stanislaw Mikolajczyk, Vice Premier and Minister of Agriculture in the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity; leader of the Peasant Party.
  13. Wladyslaw Kiernik, Minister of Public Administration in the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity; leader in the Peasant Party.
  14. Karol Popiel, leader of the Christian Democratic Party (Stronnictwo Pracy or “Party of Work”).