860C.00/10–2745: Telegram

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

482. Speech of First Vice President Gomulka39 summary of which is transmitted in my press telegram 468, October 2540 is most significant [Page 394] political development since our arrival here and has widespread implications. The fact that Gomulka accuses Mikolajczyk of being the Trojan horse for reactionary elements at a time when Mikolajczyk is out of the country and is representing Polish Govt as delegate to Food and Agriculture Conference at Quebec42 indicates breach which exists within the Govt itself. It is obviously an attempt to discredit Mikolajczyk nationally and to prepare the way for elimination of Mikolajczyk branch of Polish Peasant Party (it is significant in this connection that during General Eisenhower’s visit Bierut presented Banczyk43 and not Mikolajczyk to Eisenhower as Chief of Polish Peasant Party and that the news film of meeting of September 1st [21st] reported in mytel 197 September 4, 3 p.m.,44 gave sound recording of all speeches made with exception of that of Mikolajczyk. From sources within and outside of Govt we are informed that Gomulka is the most powerful person within the Govt and is the directing force of Govt policy. We are told that he has the closest relations with the Kremlin. Tonesk reports that during Moscow conversations between Polish leaders which led to formation of Provisional Govt of National Unity, Gomulka was reported to have visited Stalin on several occasions without other Poles being present. His speech should therefore be interpreted as reflecting views of Kremlin and indicating intention of latter to liquidate Mikolajczyk politically.

Consensus of persons with whom we have spoken here and throughout the country is that if free elections were held now, Govt would not receive more than 10 or 15% of votes. One member of Govt close to controlling Lublin group is reported to have admitted that Govt would be lucky to obtain 1% of total. As it is obvious that Soviet Govt desires present group to remain in power, it will presumably take every feasible step to obtain this end. Many observers of whom I am one are of opinion that there is no present possibility of free elections in Poland as they would not be in the interest of this Soviet controlled regime. Gomulka’s speech and remarks of other politicians indicate purpose of Govt is to submit one list to the electorate composed of members of Govt-controlled Polish Workers Party,45 Polish Socialist [Page 395] Party46 and Rump Peasant Party now headed by Wincenty Barnowski (Banczyk now being reported to have merged with Mikolajczyk). This would be a step towards the political elimination of Mikolajczyk and of others opposing domination by Communist group composed of Bierut, Gomulka, Berman,47 Minc, Modzelewski and Olszewski.48 If such a situation should develop as now appears to be probable, we would be faced with a flagrant and barefaced violation of the Yalta decision which the present Provisional Govt accepted in its entirety. It was on the acceptance of the Yalta Agreement that our recognition was based.

There are other developments directed against the United States and Great Britain which give me apprehension. The propaganda against “the western bloc” and against “Anglo-Saxon conception of democracy” would seem to be for purpose of preparing public for a stand against United States and for justification of policy which Polish Govt may be called upon to assume. Although assignment of Soviet General to each Wojewod has since been publicly denied (mytel 411, October 15, 2 p.m49) personal trips throughout Poland of Embassy officers and newspaper correspondents indicate policy of Soviet authorities to increase rather than decrease their control over internal conditions in Poland despite assurances given by Stalin at Potsdam that he desired to retain only two railroad lines through Poland to permit communication through Soviet Union and Soviet Zone of Occupation in Germany. For instance, port of Stettin is completely under Soviet control as is Wroclaw.

I feel strongly that now rather than after it may be too late is the time to present our views to the Polish authorities in such a manner that there can be no doubt as to our position and I look forward to receiving the Dept’s forthcoming instructions. (Deptel 216, October 23, 2 p.m.50) In view of my frank talks wdth Polish authorities, the Dept may safely assume that the Polish Govt is [in] carrying out [Page 396] its present policy can have no doubt in its own mind that it is contradictory to our policy of maintaining a free way of life and personal security. I realize that our policy on Poland must be in harmony with that carried out by us in other areas in which the Soviet Govt is likewise exerting its influence, and must be viewed not only in the light of the more immediate protection of those principles which our Govt holds but also of our long-range policy towards the Soviet Union. I feel that if we should temporize with the situation in Poland and in other Soviet dominated countries, we would be inviting further encroachments on the freedom of these peoples and we would find it more and more difficult to insist on our point of view. It is for this reason that I emphasize the vital importance of making knowTL our views now rather than later.

  1. Władysław Gomułka, Vice Premier and Minister of Recovered Lands in the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity; Secretary General of the Polish Workers’ Party (Polska Partia Robotnicza), the party of the Polish Communists. In his telegram 101, August 19, 10 a.m., the Ambassador in Poland stated that Gomulka impressed him as being the dominant personality of the Government (860C.00/8–1945).
  2. Not printed; it summarized Gomułka’s speech as published in the Warsaw newspaper Glos Ludu on October 22, 1945 (860C.00/10–2545).
  3. Reference here is to the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations held in Quebec, October 16–November 1, 1945.
  4. Stanislaw Banczyk, Chairman of the Peasant Party (Stronnictwo Ludowe). This was a Communist inspired and supported organization which had taken the name of a long-established agrarian political organization in Poland. The old, non-Communist Peasant Party, under the leadership of Stanislaw Mikolajczyk, changed its name to Polish Peasant Party in September 1945. Early in November 1945, Banczyk resigned from the Peasant Party and joined Mikolajczyk’s Polish Peasant Party.
  5. The reference to telegram 197, September 4, is in error. The visit to Warsaw by General Eisenhower and his party was reported in airgram A–119, September 24, from Warsaw and telegram 293, September 25, from Warsaw, neither printed (811.2360C/9–2445 and 811.2360C/9–2545, respectively).
  6. The party of the Polish Communists.
  7. Pro-Communist Polish Socialists had established a political organization using the name of the traditional Polish Socialist Party (Polska Partja Socjalistyczna). Anti-Communist Polish Socialists continued to claim this party name as their own.
  8. Jakób Berman, Under Secretary of State of the Council of Ministers in the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity; leader in the Polish Workers’ Party.
  9. Józef Olszewski, Director of the Political Department of the Polish Foreign Office.
  10. Not printed; it reported that the Polish press on October 10 carried a news item that the Polish Government had decreed that a high-ranking Red Army officer together with a detachment of troops would be assigned to each wojewod (governor) to cooperate with Polish officials in the suppression of “banditry” (102.2/10–1545).
  11. This telegram read as follows: “Your 403, Oct. 13, The Department considering recommendations and will advise as soon as possible, Byrnes.” (860C.51/10–1345)