The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Smith) to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union (Molotov)3

My Dear Mr. Molotov: My Government, as a signatory of the Yalta and Potsdam agreements, with particular regard to those sections of the two agreements which deal with the establishment of a representative government in Poland through the instrumentality of free and unfettered elections, has instructed me to inform you of the concern with which it views the pre-election activities of the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity, My Government is especially perturbed by the increasingly frequent reports of repressive measures which the Polish Provisional Government has seen fit to employ against those democratic elements in Poland which have not aligned themselves with the “Bloc” parties.

According to information reaching my Government from various authoritative sources, these repressive activities on the part of the [Page 403] Provisional Government have now increased in intensity to the point where, if they do not cease immediately, there is little likelihood that elections can be held in accordance with the terms of the Potsdam Agreement which call for free and unfettered elections “on the basis of universal suffrage and secret ballot in which all democratic and anti-Nazi parties shall have the right to take part and put forward candidates”.

On December 18, 1946, Vice Premier Stanislaw Mikolajczyk addressed a communication4 to the American Ambassador in Warsaw in which he called attention to the reprehensible methods employed by the Provisional Government in denying freedom of political action to the Polish Peasant Party. This communication pointed out, inter alia, that the methods used by the Government in its efforts to eliminate participation by the Polish Peasant Party in the elections include political arrests and murders, compulsory enrollment of Polish Peasant Party members in the “Bloc” political parties, dismissal of Polish Peasant Party members from their employment, searches of homes, attacks by secret police and members of the Communist Party on Polish Peasant Party premises and party congresses, suspension and restriction by Government authorities of Polish Peasant Party meetings and suspension of party activities in 28 powiats, suppression of the party press and limitation of circulation of party papers, and arrest of the editorial staff of the party bulletin and of the Gazeta Ludowa. Authoritative reports from other quarters in Poland serve to substantiate the charges brought by Mr. Mikolajczyk in the communication cited. It is understood that copies of this communication were also delivered to the Soviet and British Ambassadors at Warsaw as representatives of the other two Yalta powers.

In the view of my Government, what is involved here is the sanctity of international agreements, a principle upon which depends the establishment and maintenance of peace and the reign of justice under law. The obligations with respect to the Polish elections which my Government assumed at Yalta and reiterated at Potsdam, together with the Soviet and British Governments, and the obligations subsequently assumed by the Polish Government and frequently reiterated, provide for the conduct of free and unfettered elections of the type and in the manner described above. It is of no significance that the subject matter of this international agreement relates to elections in Poland. The essential fact is that it constitutes a principle on which all four nations concerned have acted. Therefore, my Government believes that, for [Page 404] any of the parties to this agreement to refrain from the most energetic efforts to see to its proper execution would be to fail in a most solemn obligation. For this reason, it is my Government’s view that it is both a duty and a right for the three powers who are parties to the Yalta and the Potsdam Agreements to call to the attention of the Polish Government in a most friendly but in a most insistent manner the failure of the Polish Government to perform its obligations.

It is a source of regret to my Government that its own efforts in this direction have not resulted in any change in the course which the Polish Provisional Government has pursued in connection with preelection political activities. My Government feels that it would be failing in its duty if it did not make further efforts prior to the elections to ameliorate the conditions under which certain democratic elements of the Polish population are now struggling in an effort to take their rightful part in the national elections. It intends, therefore, in the immediate future again to approach the Polish Government with a reminder of its obligations in connection with the elections and again to call upon it to provide those conditions of security which will enable all democratic and anti-Nazi parties to take full part in the elections.

I hardly need add that my Government is interested only in seeing that the Polish people have the opportunity to participate in a free and unfettered election, and that my Government does not regard the results of such an election as being a proper concern of anyone other than the Polish people themselves.

It is the hope of my Government that the Soviet Government, as a party to the Yalta and Potsdam Agreements, will associate itself with the United States Government in this approach to the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity.

A similar communication is being addressed simultaneously to the British Government.5

Please accept [etc.]

W. B. Smith
  1. The source text was transmitted to the Department as an enclosure to despatch 707, January 9, from Moscow, not printed. The note was delivered in pursuance of instructions contained in telegram 15, January 4, to Moscow, not printed (860C.00/1–447). In telegram 29, January 6, from Moscow, Ambassador Smith reported as follows on the delivery of the note:

    “In absence of Molotov who was away yesterday I saw Vyshinsky [Andrey Yanuaryevich Vyshinsky, Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister] last night and informed him orally and in writing of the US position in connecton with the forthcoming Polish elections. The discussion lasted about an hour at the end of which Vyshinski stated that in his personal opinion the Polish Provisional Government had complied in all respects with the requirements of the Yalta and Potsdam agreements and that he was sure that any interference in this ‘purely Polish affair’ was unwarranted. He would, however, inform the Soviet Government of the contents of the American note.” (860C.00/1–647)

  2. For a summary of the communication under reference here, see telegram 1996, December 29, 1946, from Warsaw, Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. vi, p. 552.
  3. The Secretary of State’s note of January 5 to the British Ambassador, Lord Inverchapel, is included in file 860C.00/1–547. In his telegram 70, January 13, from Moscow, Ambassador Smith reported as follows:

    “British Ambassador Peterson received instructions on 10th to make oral representations to Molotov on Polish elections along line expressed in our note but actually in a stronger tone. When I saw Peterson on 11th he was awaiting an appointment with Molotov and was obviously somewhat disturbed by the fact that he had been instructed to state that continuation of present line of action by provisional government of Poland might ‘have effect of most serious nature on relations with British govt’.” (860C.00/1–1347)