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February 28, 1958

File Note of Ambassador J. Katz-Suchyf in New Delhi to Comrade Adam Rapacki

This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)



February 28, file note of the ambassador in New Delhi:

India’s reaction to the Rapacki Plan


New Delhi, Feb. 28, 1958


Comrade Adam Rapacki

Minister of Foreign Affairs



Seizing an opportunity to send a pouch via comrade Billig, I wish to present to you a  report of our operation with respect to the ‘Rapacki Plan’, as well as a characterization of the reactions of the official agencies and the echoes that the Polish initiative caused in the local public opinion.


In the first period, October–November 1957, the issue of the Polish proposal did not become prominent in the political and press debate. Although your UN speech did receive broad coverage, but the press only reported. The official circles took no position on this matter. I had then, right after arriving in New Delhi, several conversations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where I stressed the importance of this proposal. We also organized meetings with reporters and received the first signals of interest. In late November and early December, the press – despite the silence of the official agencies – in its considerations regarding the world situation, began to refer more and more often to the ‘Rapacki Plan’, especially after Kennan’s talks and Gaitskell’s statements resounded quite seriously. At that time I seized an opportunity: an invitation to take part in a discussion on disarmament at a ‘plenary seminar’, organized as a part of the program of the [British] Commonwealth parliamentary conference, in order to discuss the Polish plan in greater detail. [The discussion] received many favorable press reports.


At the same time, I continued diplomatic action, including a conversation with Nehru and Krishna Menon. For the first time, Nehru publicly expressed his support for the ‘Rapacki Plan” at a press conference on January 2. During my official visit to Bombay I had the chance to speak about the ‘Rapacki Plan’ twice: once at a meeting with journalists, and at a different time, delivering a speech at the ‘International Club’; apart from that I talked about the significance of our initiative in a number of private conversations with prominent journalists in Bombay, for example with Indian Express editor-in-chief, Frank Moraes. The Bombay press responded favorably to these speeches.


On January 31, on the invitation of the  ‘Indian Council of World Affairs’ I delivered a talk at this institute titled “The Current International Situation – General and Partial Solutions”, focused on our initiative. This talk, which – apart from many press reports – also gave us the opportunity to publish the full text including the documents (to which we later, at the proofreading stage, added the text of the latest memorandum) in the February issue of the Indian Council of World Affairs, Foreign Affairs Report, attached.3[1]1 The publication is sent out to all the serious political and research institutions not only in India, but also all over the world.


Let us stress that the press dealt with and still deals with the ‘Rapacki Plan’, not only from the information point of view, but would also return to our initiative almost every time ‘East–West’ issues were discussed, and devoted a number of editorials and commentaries to the ‘Rapacki Plan’ itself. The diplomatic circles also showed great interest in our plan, particularly after the memorandum was published and the The Atom Free Zone brochure was sent out.


In our political and propaganda operation we used special and current publications, such as the documentary publication Background and Implications of the Polish Atom-Free-Belt Plan for Europe, the The Atom Free Zone brochure and the permanent publication Polish Facts on File. We sent out copies of the texts of some talks.


eAs already I reported by cipher, conversations with the leading personalities in India were extremely difficult. In spite of all their sympathy for our plan, they were primarily guided by the hdesirehcfearc of excessive involvement and the hconsiderationhcbalancingc* the support offered to us by some support for opposite plans. Characteristically, they took this kind of position not only publicly, but also in private conversations. Their constant objections: limited significance of the plan, unclear forms of control, and the approach to issue of foreign troops as well as the question of classical weapons on the territory of the proposed zone.e


We find a more favorable approach and a better understanding in the parliament, where the materials that we had sent out met with interest and were discussed, thus they would give us to chance to reintroduce the issue, though questions, into the debate.


The press success of the cause, as I mentioned above, hevidentlyh brought on a certain counteraction, inspired by the American embassy, the FRG embassy and the Council for Cultural Freedom. For example, several days after the press conference on the memorandum, when the press was full of the ‘Rapacki Plan’, they planning to throw on the first page, with an enormous headline, the dold hiccups about the ideological and political contradictions.d At the last moment the matter was dropped, dwith the chief merit being that of the minister of education Maulana Azad, whose sudden and regrettable death filled the front pages of all the newspapers for three days.d


Another sabotage attempt was the old and familiar claim that the ‘Rapacki Plan’ does not have much in common with any disarmament plan, and is merely a more or, less cunning effort to “cleanse Poland of Russian troops.” Also one newspaper attempted to juxtapose the interpretation of the ‘Rapacki Plan’ in the latest Bulganin letter, where the matter of control was rather omitted. All this, however did not obscure the positive attitude to the plan, which manifested itself not only in the form of information or headlines, but also the editor’s comments and editorials.


I attach some of our publishing materials to this letter, [while] the press clippings are going to the Press and Information Department.


dN.B. Please acquaint yourself with the last part of my letter to comrade Naszkowski on the possibilities to speak directly in lieu of the clatter of the Remington or the creak of a fountain pen.d


fJ. Katz-Suchyf


AMSZ, z. 12. w. 10, t. 238


31 No attachments.

The Polish ambassador to India describes his efforts to bring attention to the Rapacki Plan. He details objections and criticisms made by key figures in India.

Document Information


Polskie dokumenty dyplomatyczne 1958 (Warszawa: Polski Instytut Spraw Międzynarodowych, 2011), Document #82, pp.189-191. Translated by Jerzy Giebułtowski.


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