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203 Officer to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 94 [1] KUYBYSHEV, 27 May 1943, 6.15 p.m.


Your telegram No. 58, paragraph 2. [2]

I am afraid that the third paragraph of my telegram No. 83 [3] could not have been clear. Question is not of 'full representation' but as to whom the Soviet Government recognises as Polish citizens. On January 1st, 1943, 300,000 Polish citizens were registered at the Polish Embassy and receiving assistance.

But even then part only were recognised by the Soviet Authorities as Polish citizens. A note from the Soviet Authorities to the Polish Embassy on January 16th (see despatch KU8 second paragraph) [4] made greater number Soviet citizens in the eyes of the Soviet Government. Since then many of these latter have accepted Soviet passports and few, if any, have been allowed to communicate with the Polish Embassy. There remain only those Poles whom Soviet Government admit as Polish citizens numbering something between 10,000 and 30,000. It is these we will try to care for. [5]

2. As Marshal Stalin himself within the last two weeks has explained that the smaller category only are Polish citizens, it is certain that any attempt to interest ourselves in the larger category will immediately seriously involve us in the major question, which, if it is taken up at all, should be taken up by the United Kingdom Government in their role of conciliation in the Polish-Soviet breach of relations. British Ambassador agrees. May I assume that this is your view? 3. Acting on this assumption, the additional staff required to enable us to fulfil our additional duties would be that asked for in the first sentence of the third paragraph of my telegram 83 viz (a) 3rd Secretary, (b) Clerical Officer able to read, speak and type Polish. This is, of course, in addition to the clerical officer asked for in my telegram P.10 [6] and assented to in your telegram PK.8. [7] If there is any Secretary in the service who has even an elementary knowledge of Polish, he would be invaluable as (a)-(b) will not have to do confidential work, but I think it would be undesirable to employ local men even if we were permitted to do so. Possibly a suitable man could be found in Cairo. May I approach the Minister of State [8] or will you make enquiries? There is no possibility of obtaining help except very occasionally from the British Embassy who have their own staff difficulties.


1 Repeated to Evatt in Washington as no. 20.

2 Dispatched 25 May. On file AA:A989, 43-44/715/5/2/2. The cablegram conveyed the text of Curtin's public announcement on Australia's assumption of responsibility for Polish interests in the Soviet Union. It also conveyed (paragraph 2) Hodgson's comments on the staffing implications for the legation, including his assumption that 'until the contrary is shown that this [i.e.

the agreement with the Soviet Govt] means Soviet recognition of full representation and that staff arrangements must be made on that basis'.

3 Document 186.

4 Dated 24 March. In FA:A4231, Moscow, 1943. The note stated that 'owing to the negative attitude of the Polish government' the Soviet Govt had rescinded the decree of November 1939 which permitted residents of Polish territory incorporated in the Soviet Union to hold Polish as well as Soviet citizenship.

5 For a fuller demographic assessment of the Poles in the Soviet Union at this time see Officer's dispatch KU19/43 of 29 May in the volume cited in note 4.

6 Not found.

7 Dispatched 29 April (item 970 in FA:A3196/A3831, 1942-43, folder, personal outwards cables file copies, spares and master sheets).

8 R. G. Casey, U.K. Minister of State resident in the Middle East.

[AA:A989, 43-44/715/5/2/2]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History