741.60C/4–2847: Telegram

The Chargé in Poland (Keith) to the Secretary of State

top secret   urgent

641. Bevin1 stopped over Warsaw about 4 hours evening 27th. I greeted him at station.

Bevin had conversations 1½ hours each with Modzelewski and Cyrankiewicz. British Chargé2 who was present at Modzelewski interview has given following information to Embassy concerning it:

Bevin stated that four power treaty against future German aggression proposed by Secretary Byrnes3 must not be overloaded with extraneous provisions such as those stipulated by Molotov4 and further that in proposing this treaty US had offered bridge between west and east to which offer Soviet Government’s response had been unhelpful.

Apropos Moscow Conference Modzelewski said that many problems remained to be settled, e.g. reparations from Germany including rebuilding of countries which suffered from German aggression. To this Bevin replied that question of reparations had not been settled but that in his view Potsdam Agreement on this score remained governing factor. Modzelewski gave impression to Bevin that same practical test must be applied to question of reparations from Germany as had been applied to reparations from Austria. Bevin remarked that the two cases were entirely dissimilar.

Modzelewski observed that main problem Poland and other countries victimized by Germany was that Poland and such other countries must be restored before Germany.

Regarding Anglo-Polish relations Modzelewski asserted he regarded 1939 friendship pact still binding. Bevin said he would look into this aspect relations between two countries but he added emphatically that Polish Government’s failure carry out promises regarding election still complicated Anglo-Polish relations, He (advised Modzelewski that prior to holding Polish elections he had always thought that Modzelewski was a man whose word could be trusted but that now he realized that Modzelewski’s word could not be trusted. Modzelewski simply smiled at this.

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Modzelewski expressed displeasure that Polish financial agreement had not been ratified and Bevin gave a noncommittal reply.5

In discussing Polish-German frontier Bevin stated that in his belief it was essential to have an impartial commission to establish the facts, and that British public felt very strongly that such facts must be established before definitive delimitation of border. Bevin said that pertinent to this question was use which Poland could make of territory acquired from [Germany by?] her. British Foreign Minister asked rhetorical question whether Poland had not been given too much agricultural land. Modzelewski’s response to these observations was that he could never accede to a revision of present Polish-German frontier.6

Bevin and Modzelewski agreed in principle that it would be advisable to send back to Poland as many Poles now in UK as possible. However, no practical means for accomplishment this objective were discussed excepting that Bevin pointed out that in next few months under present arrangement at least 14,000 members Polish armed forces would be repatriated every month.

Broad was not present interview between Bevin and Cyrankiewicz. Departure of Bevin from Warsaw immediately after interview did not permit Broad to ascertain directly from Bevin details of interview. He is informed by interpreter present at interview that same general topics were discussed as in conversation with Modzelewski. Sent Department 641, repeated London 71, Moscow 78, Berlin 98.

  1. Ernest Bevin, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Philip Broad.
  3. During the 2nd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, Paris, April 25–May 14 and June 15–July 12, 1946, Secretary of State Byrnes had introduced a draft four-power treaty for the demilitarization of Germany; for the text of the treaty, see Department of State Bulletin, May 12, 1946, p. 815. This draft treaty had been discussed again during the 4th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, March 10–April 24, 1947, in Moscow; for documentation on that Council session, see vol. ii, pp. 139 ff.
  4. Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union.
  5. On May 5, British Foreign Secretary Bevin reported to the House of Commons on his conversations in Warsaw and announced the intention of the British Government to recommend the ratification of the Anglo-Polish financial agreement of June 24, 1946.
  6. For additional documentation regarding the delimitation of the Polish-German frontier, see the papers on the preparations for the Moscow session of the Council of Foreign Ministers and the records of that session in vol. ii, pp. 139 ff.