84. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, July 20, 19561


  • Proposed United States Action Concerning Poznan Riots2
[Page 228]


  • Stanislaw Mikolajczyk, President of the International Peasant Union and Chairman of the Polish National Democratic Committee and the Polish Peasant Party
  • Karol Popiel, Chairman of the Executive Board of the National Democratic Committee and the Polish Christian Labor Party
  • G—Mr. Murphy
  • EEGeorge Lister

Mr. Mikolajczyk and Mr. Popiel called this afternoon at their request to discuss the recent Poznan riots and to suggest United States action in that connection.

Mr. Mikolajczyk opened the conversation by stating that he did not agree with the argument that Free World activity and comment regarding Poznan would spur the Polish Government to more repressive measures. He said that on the contrary the Warsaw regime would be more likely to follow a policy of moderation if it felt the world was interested and watching. Mr. Murphy expressed his agreement with this point of view and said that while he did not feel it was desirable for us to exhort the Polish people to rise up we should not try to restrain or discourage them. He added that, with the exception of the Free Poles, he felt that it was inappropriate for the Free World to try to tell the Polish people what they should or should not do, and that advice of that sort was likely to arouse resentment among them. Mr. Mikolajczyk agreed and briefly criticized a Polish language leaflet which the Russian émigré NTS organization had sent into Poland and which appeared to speak for the Free Poles although it had no right to do so.

Mr. Mikolajczyk then referred to the main purpose of his visit—to urge American action in connection with Poznan. He put forward two specific suggestions: [Page 229]

to bring to the Security Council of the UN a proposal to create a special committee to investigate the Poznan uprising; and
to state publicly that the United States intends to bring the question of free elections in Poland to the General Assembly when it meets (in November).

Mr. Mikolajczyk said that he felt the second step should be taken regardless of whether the first measure is approved by the Security Council. He also discussed the urgent need for such action so that the Polish people as well as the Warsaw regime would not think that the Poznan uprising was disregarded in the West. He felt that the action he proposed would have a very desirable effect in Eastern Europe.

Mr. Murphy thanked the Polish visitors for their visit and indicated the abovementioned suggestions would be taken into consideration.

Mr. Mikolajczyk left two reports (see attached) of statements by the International Peasant Union and the Polish National Democratic Committee on Poznan.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 748.00/7–2056. Confidential. Drafted by Lister.
  2. In a meeting on July 13, Beam, Stevens, and Lister met with General Bor-Komorowski and Josef Lipski to discuss the the Poznań riots and the American reaction. Both Poles felt that the Polish Government might be restrained from repression against Poznan rioters by expressions of “Free World interest.” They suggested a U.S. protest to Warsaw, and possibly Moscow, demanding international supervision of the trials of the Poznan demonstrators, and a corresponding protest to the United Nations. The émigrés offered to send food, which had been rejected by the Polish Government when officially proffered from Washington, to Poland through their own channels. Finally, they asked for help in publication of letters on Poznań to the editors of major newspapers. Beam offered help with the letters and promised to take their other proposals into consideration. (Memorandum of conversation by Lister, July 16; ibid., 748.00/7–1656)
  3. Dated July 5 and June 30, respectively, both attached, but not printed.