Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Eastern European Affairs (Elbrick)

Participants: Mr. Stanislaw Mikolajczyk1
Mr. Zaleski, Secretary to Mr. Mikolajczyk
EE—C. Burke Elbrick

I told Mikolajczyk that the telegram which he and other officers of the newly-formed International Peasant Union had sent to President Truman2 had been referred to the State Department. I said that I knew he would understand that it is premature for the President or [Page 422] the Government to make an official reply to this telegram and thus to give official recognition to the Peasant Union, but that we wished him to know that this Government welcomes the broad objectives which we understand have been adopted by the Peasant Union and the sentiments which were expressed in their telegram to the President. I said that we wish to take this way of acknowledging the receipt of the telegram and of thanking the officers of the Peasant Union.

I asked Mikolajczyk whether the Union had yet adopted a constitution or a definite program and whether it considered that the roster of membership was now complete. He said that the organization had formulated its by-laws, and that the drafting of the actual program, or constitution, would be completed within the next few days. He said that he would send me a copy of the constitution at that time. As for the membership, he said that the officers are now studying the applications of Lithuanian, Estonian, Ukranian, Czech, and Slovak agrarian groups. In the case of the Lithuanians, he said that there is some division of opinion among the Lithuanians themselves, and that the decision regarding their application for membership would be withheld until such differences shall have been composed. As for the Estonians, he said that there would be no difficulty regarding their admission to membership, but he added that at present the representatives of the Estonian Agrarian Party are all in Stockholm. He said that it was improbable that any Ukrainians would be admitted to the Union because of the fact that there are so many Ukrainian factions and their status is difficult to determine.

The case of the Czech agrarians, he said, is complicated by the fact that the pre-war Agrarian Party was not reconstituted in Czechoslovakia after the war. In addition, he said that the leaders of the Czech Agrarian Party had been accused of collaboration with the Germans. He hurriedly went on to say that the Hungarians were the opponents of Czech agrarian participation in the Peasant Union and did not wish to recognize Cerny, who is now in Germany, as the representative of the Czech Agrarian Party. Mikolajczyk felt, however, that eventually this question would be settled and the Czechs admitted to membership. The Slovaks, he said, preserve their identity as a party in the new Slovak Democratic Party, and there seems to be no opposition to the admission of their representative to the Peasant Union.

I remarked to Mikolajczyk that possibly no one appreciated more than he the importance of bringing as many elements as possible into the Peasant Union. Mikolajczyk said that he was fully aware of the importance of this aspect of the matter and he sincerely hoped and believed, with respect to the Czech representatives, that favorable action would be taken shortly on their application for admission. In [Page 423] reply to my inquiry, he went on to say that there had possibly been some doubt as to the validity of Buzesti’s claim to represent Maniu3 and the Rumanian Agrarian Party, but that this matter had now been clarified by the arrival in this country of the “real representative” of Maniu who would take Buzesti’s place as an officer of the Union. He could not, however, remember the name of the new Rumanian representative.

C. Burke Elbrick
  1. Former Polish Vice Premier (1945–1947) and exile leader of the Polish Peasant Party; President of the International Peasant Union.
  2. The telegram under reference, dated May 26, 1948, read as follows:

    “The annual conference of the International Peasant Union considers it a pleasant duty to express its gratitude to the Government of the United States and through it to the American people for the shelter and moral support that are being given to us.

    “The country of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, and of their democratic and freedom loving traditions is today the hope of all men and nations oppressed by the international Communist conspiracy who believe that it will not abandon them but will continue bravely the fight for peace based on human justice until their liberation has been attained.

    “Valuing the efforts of the United States for a true and durable peace as well as for international understanding and collaboration through the United Nations on the basis of the Atlantic Charter, the Charter of the United Nations, and the Four Freedoms proclaimed by President Roosevelt, we take this opportunity to assure you of our most loyal cooperation in these efforts. We are fully aware of the difficulty of the task that confronts the International Peasant Union and are confident that by performing it we shall be able to contribute to these efforts.”

    “President Stanislaw Mikolajczyk, Vice Presidents Vladko Macek, Ferenc Nagy, Milan Gavrilovic, Grigore Buzesti, Secretary General George M. Dimitrov.”

    The officers of the International Peasant Union were all exiled leaders of various eastern European peasant parties: Maček—Croatian Peasant Party, Nagy—Hungarian Smallholders Party, Gavrilovic—Serbian Agrarian Party, Buzesti—Romanian Peasant Party, Dimitrov—Bulgarian Agrarian Union.

  3. Iuliu Maniu, leader of the Romanian National Peasant Party; in October 1947 sentenced to life imprisonment for alleged conspiracy against the Romanian state.