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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 10, 1944

PARAPHRASE OF EMBASSY’S TELEGRAM NO. 2923

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    Harriman briefs the President and the Secretary of State about conversations between Mikolajczyk and Stalin
    "PARAPHRASE OF Embassy’s telegram no. 2923," August 10, 1944, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Container 173, W. Averell Harriman Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/219989
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PARAPHRASE OF Embassy’s telegram no. 2923, August 10, 1944 to the Department of State.

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From the Ambassador Harriman. Secret for the President and the Secretary of State.

Accompanied by Romer, Mikolajczyk called on me late yesterday afternoon. Between then and when I saw him again after midnight he had had his final talk with Marshal Stalin. Early this morning Mikolajczyk and his party left Moscow.

Upon leaving Moscow he was much more hopeful of a possible settlement than upon his arrival. His cordial reception and his frank discussions with Molotov and Stalin impressed him. The Marshal agreed at the meeting last night to undertake to drop arms in Warsaw for the forces of the underground. In order to establish direct communication to facilitate this operation, a communications officer will first be parachuted to the Polish headquarters with ciphers. At last it was admitted by Stalin that his information was in agreement with that of Mikolajczyk, to the effect that under the leadership of the commanding general of the underground forces all Poles were united for resistance in Warsaw. A Red Army observer is now at the headquarters. Marshal Stalin told Mikolajczyk that the taking of Warsaw, which he had expected to accomplish on August 6, had been delayed because the Germans had brought in four new panzer divisions and two other divisions to hold the bridgehead. However, He was confident that the new difficulties could be overcome.

That it is not the objective of the Soviet Government to communize Poland, Mikolajczyk is at least partially convinced. However, he is still suspicious that the majority of the members of the Council of Liberation have this as their objective. It is his belief that the Soviets realize that they cannot, without the cooperation of Mikolajczyk and his government, attain their objective in having a united Polish people behind the Red Army. It is his further belied that the Committee for Liberation has found that it is not receiving the full support of the Polish people and realizes that governmental machinery cannot be set up without the cooperation of himself and the leaders in his Government in London. Although he has not been able to agree with the Committee on a plan, this situation gives him confidence that arrangements of some sort under which all factions can unite may be worked out.

It was proposed by the Committee that Mikolajczyk and three members of his Government join the Committee in establishing a government in Warsaw under the authority of The Polish National Council. This new government, which would have eighteen members with fourteen of them drawn from the present Committee of Liberation or from those associated with the Council, would be headed by Mikolajczyk. The constitution of 1921 would be accepted and the 1935 constitution would be repudiated. It was pointed out by Mikolajczyk that this Government would have no constitutional basis. Much as he himself disliked the provisions of the 1935 constitution, he proposed that they continue to work under it, retaining the President and forming a new cabinet to consist of the representatives of the four established democratic parties. Representatives of the Workers Party should be added and, if desired, of the Communists; the Sanacja should be eliminated.

The Poles argued among themselves at length. Subsequently Molotov, presided at a meeting, and listened to the arguments of both sides. Mikolajczyk felt that Molotov appreciated the lack of clarity and practicability of the Committee’s approach and was impressed with his Mikolajczyk's position.

When he returns to London, Mikolajczyk hopes he can work out some plan with his colleagues and perhaps find some means to install a new person as president.

He hopes that this proposal, which he intends to submit to Moscow by telegraph, will constitute a basis for discussions enabling him and some of his associates to return to Warsaw, upon the taking of the city, to work out the details, including agreement on selection of individuals to compose the new cabinet. Mikolajczyk's primary interest is to unite all factions at this time in a Government which will have a legal basis and which, until such time as truly free general elections can be held to establish a new constitution and government, will hold the country together. He is satisfied that the Committee of Liberation does not enjoy the standing with the Polish people to enable it to take control of Poland without the force of the Red Army, but he fears that there will not be a free election if the Committee once obtains control.

This mysterious figure Bierut and his background puzzle Mikolajczyk, but he was much impressed by his ability. On social and economic developments of Poland Bierut speaks sensibly. He wants to leave politics to Mikolajczyk, admitting that he has had no experience in that line. When Mikolajczyk speaks of the necessity of bringing in the party leaders, Bierut is impatient and says that he and his associates represent the Polish masses –that parties are a thing of the past. The question of the authority of the new government does not bother him and his ideas of government are revolutionary. Mikolajczyk on the other hand lays first importance on the development of a basis for the authority of the Government. Although he is willing to have the membership of the Government completely reorganized in any reasonable way to meet the wishes of the Committee, he is unwilling to dissociate himself from the constitutional basis of his present London Government.

The Poles were unsuccessful in their attempt to agree upon a joint communique. However, the cessation of public recriminations was verbally agreed upon. That the Committee will live [^ up] to this is doubted by Mikolajczyk.

Further details of the conversations and background will be communicated in subsequent telegrams.

NN/wr

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