August 7, 1944
Mikolajczyk and Stalin Meet for a Second Time
I saw Molotov and Stalin once more before I left Moscow. Molotov apparently could not trust the Lublin Poles to tell him the truth, and hence he had me come to his office – with them – to hear with his own ears the things I had said to them.
As for Stalin, he was less hospitable than before, assuming that such a thing is possible.
“Can you give me your word of honor,” he asked, “that there is fighting going on in Warsaw? The Lublin Poles tell me there is no fighting at all.”
“I can give you my word of honor that there is a fight there,” I told him. “It is a desperate fight. I beg of you – who are in the strategic position – to give us aid.”
He made a negative motion. “I had two of my communication officers dropped into Warsaw after I saw you the other day,” he said. “The Germans killed both of them when they attempted to land by parachute.”
This was a lie, I learned later. Both men landed successfully and made their way to the headquarters of General Antoni Chruściel Monter, Warsaw Home Army Commander. They eventually sent a number of messages to Moscow. At this time, however, I was able to hand to Stalin a message from a Red Army officer then in contact with the Home Army – Colonel Kalugin. It had been sent to London by BórKomorowski’s radio retransmission to Moscow:
Marshall Comrade Stalin. I am in personal contact with the Commander of Warsaw garrison, who is leading the heroic partisan fight of the nation against Hitlerite bandits. After acquainting myself with the general military situation, I came to the conclusion that, in spite of the heroism of the army and the entire Warsaw population, there are still needs that, if made good, would permit a speedier victory over a common foe.
The Russian officer who signed this message then listed the type and amount of ammunition and arms needed, and added:
German air force is destroying the city and killing the civilians. The heroic population of Warsaw trusts that, in a few hours time, you will give them armed support. Help me to get in touch with General Rokossovsky.
Stalin read the message solemnly. “I don’t know this man Kalugin,” he said. “I’ll inquire about him. And I’ll still do my best to help Warsaw. The Germans there are more difficult than we expected. But we’ll liberate it soon.”
As history knows, he waited until the Germans had killed or wounded nearly a quarter of a million of our people in the capital and after the capitulation of the Home Army had burned and dynamited Warsaw to extinction with systematic thoroughness. This was only possible because the Russians remained rooted in the suburbs.
Before I left Stalin, I could not resist telling him about one captured German officer’s views of Germany’s future. He predicted confidently that postwar Germany would embrace communism so devoutly that it would soon become the foremost Communist state and with the aid of intrinsic German ingenuity go on to rule the world, including Russia.
Stalin scoffed impatiently: “Communism on a German is like a saddle on a cow.”
Stalin added that the Soviet Union, the United States, Great Britain and France must remain close friends for many years after the war “because one can expect Germany to start a new war after about twenty-five years.”
Stanislaw Mikolajczyk and Stalin discuss military aid to Poland.
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