860C.00/9–2045: Telegram

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

271. Mikolajczyk called on me this morning. Following is summary of his remarks:

Most important matter is withdrawal of Red Army from Poland. Lublin group81 in Govt unwilling to press Soviet Govt for withdrawal despite commitment made by Stalin at Potsdam.82 Mikolajczyk states that obviously it is not in interest of Communist minority to withdraw sustaining Soviet force.
Govt is not anxious for displaced persons and Polish Army abroad to return to Poland. Propaganda is being circulated through Communist press not only here but in France that US is preventing Poles from returning.83
As Polish Govt is committed to hold elections they will be held and probably by November. Mikolajczyk is far more hopeful than formerly regarding possibility of holding free elections but it is essential that Soviet Army be withdrawn beforehand.
Despite efforts of Govt party to place onus on Mikolajczyk, Kiernik and Witos84 for split in Peasant Party85 Mikolajczyk says [Page 373] that people are not deceived and that Mikolajczyk and his followers still have support of almost all peasants in country.
Mikolajczyk confirms impression which I have obtained in other quarters that present policy of Govt is to create political uncertainty and economic chaos. Policy of Govt to terrorize the population through security police is having little effect. Polish people will resist to the last.
Food situation may become critical in the next few months due to Soviet depredations and present lack of organization in agriculture. He does not however believe sugar shortage as critical as reported from other Polish Govt sources. Chief lack will be bread, meats, and fats.
He has finally received permission to publish Polish Peasant Party newspaper. He admits however difficulty in obtaining newsprint and suitable skilled labor.
Attempt of Soviet Union to dominate Polish Navy by gift of 23 vessels manned by Soviet officers has fallen through and ceremony which had been scheduled at Gdansk has been cancelled. Soviet Govt finally realized that Polish insistence on independence would prevent domination by Soviet Navy.

Mikolajczyk said that situation in Poland is following same pattern as in Bulgaria86 and Yugoslavia87 and that Poland is the turning point. For this reason he hopes that US and British Govts will stand firm in insisting on independent Poland and free elections. He said he is hopeful that situation will develop favorably especially if US Govt and people will not lose interest in situation. He said that present Communist clique in Govt and Soviet Govt are hopeful that American people will as so often in the past lose interest in the Polish question and allow matters to drift. He earnestly expressed hope that our Govt and British Foreign Office would insist to Molotov that Stalin’s promise made at Potsdam to withdraw Russian Army except for two lines of communications be fulfilled at once. He said that for the following three reasons he is far more hopeful regarding Poland than he has been regarding Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and other satellite countries:

The size and population of Poland give it greater opportunity of resistance.
Polish people will never surrender.
Russia is realizing from trouble being created in Soviet Union by one million deported Poles what a headache intransigent Poles can be.

As I reported to the Secretary in London88 Mikolajczyk previously impressed me as being discouraged and depressed. Today however he was hopeful and his old fighting self, confident that the situation would develop satisfactorily. He said however that moral support of United States of America and Great Britain is essential. I reiterate hope expressed in London that to bolster hopes of Mikolajczyk and his followers we will strongly press for withdrawal of Soviet Army.

Sent to Dept as 271, repeated to London for the Secretary as 36.

  1. Reference to the Polish Committee of National Liberation which had been established in Kholm (Chelm) by a decree of July 21, 1944, by the National People’s Council of Poland. It soon transferred its activities to Lublin. For a description of the establishment of this “Lublin Committee”, see telegram No. 2736, July 24, 1944, from Moscow, Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iii, p. 1425.
  2. For statements made by Generalissimus Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin, Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union, during the Eleventh Plenary Meeting of the Tripartite Conference of Berlin regarding the maintenance of Soviet military forces in Poland along the two lines of communications from the Soviet Union to Germany, see Conference of Berlin (Potsdam), vol. ii, pp. 519 and 534. For the record of a discussion on August 1, 1945, at Babelsberg, between President Truman and his advisers and a delegation of the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity at which President Truman informed the Poles of the Soviet intention to maintain lines of communication across Poland, see memorandum by the Polish Deputy Prime Minister, Mikolajczyk, ibid., p. 1540.
  3. In his airgram A–28, September 4, 1945, the Ambassador in Poland reported on a formal call he had made on Vice Premier Mikolajczyk in the course of which the Vice Premier had stated that although the Government indicated continually that it welcomed the return of displaced persons and repatriated Polish soldiers, the fact was that the Government greatly feared the return of persons whose political views were possibly hostile and who might turn an election against the Government (860C.00/9–445). For additional documentation regarding the question of the return of Polish displaced persons from Germany, see vol. ii, pp. 11871191, passim.
  4. Wincenty Witos, Vice President of the Presidium of the National Council of the Homeland in the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity and titular head of the Peasant Party. Witos had served as Premier of Poland in 1921–22, 1923, and 1926.
  5. Prior to the establishment of the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity in June 1945, a Communist oriented and supported group had organized agrarian political forces in Poland and had taken the name of the long-established agrarian political organization in Poland, the Peasant Party (Stronnictwo Ludowe). When leaders of the old Peasant Party, including Mikolajczyk and Kiernik, returned from exile in June 1945, they refused to join the pro-Communist Peasant Party. Instead, Mikolajczyk and Kiernik, together with Witos, took the lead in organizing the non-Communist agrarian forces into a separate political party which, on September 22, 1945, took the name Polish Peasant Party to distinguish it from the pro-Communist faction.
  6. For documentation regarding the situation in Bulgaria, see vol.iv, pp. 135 ff.
  7. For documentation regarding the situation in Yugoslavia, see pp. 1208 ff.
  8. For Ambassador Lane’s description of his meeting with the Secretary of State in London on September 13, see Lane, I Saw Poland Betrayed, p. 175.