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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 02, 1944

MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION RE STALIN HARRIMAN COVERSATION

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    A conversation between W. Averell Harriman and Joseph Stalin about the prospects of working with the Polish government during World War II.
    "Memorandum of Conversation re Stalin Harriman Coversation," February 02, 1944, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Container # 171, W. Averell Harriman Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/209768
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MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION

The American Ambassador         February 2, 1944.

Marshal Stalin                       Place: Kremlin

Mr. Molotov                          Time: 6 p.m.

Mr. Stevens

Mr. Berezhkov

Subject: Soviet-Polish relations.

After completing discussion of the other subjects the Ambassador said that the President hoped some way might be found to solve the problem of the [^and] difficult[^ies with the] Poles. In reply Marshal Stalin asked for a bulging brief case which was lying on the table and extracted a copy of “Niepodleglosc”, which he said was printed by the Polish underground in Wilno. He pointed out that the streamer on this issue (July, 1943) read in Polish: “Hitler and Stalin – two aspects of the same evil”. It was difficult, he continued, to deal with such people. They may be able to fool Mr. Eden, he added, but this shows their real character.

The Ambassador remarked that he had nothing to add to what the President had already said, but that if it were possible to find a solution it would be very desirable. Marshal Stalin replied that the Soviet Government was also interested in finding a solution. But what, he asked, can you advise us to do with such people.

The Ambassador said that [^the President placed great importance on the solution of the question and] if Marshal Stalin had any message to communicate to the President he would be glad to transmit it. Marshal Stalin indicated that he had nothing in mind. The Ambassador observed that the settlement of the Polish question was primarily of course a matter for Marshal Stalin to deal with.

Marshal Stalin then said that he would be glad if relations with the Polish Government could be improved but that he was convinced it could not be done as long as certain persons who antagonistic to the Soviet Union remained in the Government. He mentioned particularly Sosnkowski and Kot. He said that Mikolajczyk might be all right, but that he was a weak man and completely under the thumb of Sosnkowski. These people would have to be removed before the Soviet Government could deal with the Polish Government in London. The Poles liked to think that the Russians were good fighters but that they were fools, and thought they could let the Russians carry the burden of the war and then step in at the end and participate in the spoils. The Poles would find out who were the fools.

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