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16 Bruce to Curtin

Cablegram 5[A] LONDON, 14 January 1944, 7.47 p.m.


Addressed to the Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin.

My telegram No. 3[A] of 12th January. [1]

Mr. Eden had a further interview with the Polish Prime Minister [2], Minister for Foreign Affairs [3] and Ambassador [4] yesterday when the Poles submitted a further draft reply to the Soviet broadcast. [5] This draft was a distinct advance on the first one and indicated a willingness to consider the Soviet-Polish Frontier question but was somewhat devastating in the language of its later paragraphs, which not only laid down the unexceptional doctrine that the Poles would not recognise changes brought about by force, but that they would not entertain a settlement that contemplated the wresting of half of her territory and eleven million of her people from the Poles.

This draft Eden induced the Poles to reconsider and as a result of a further meeting today the Poles are now considering a new draft which, if accepted, would be as satisfactory as can be hoped for.

Broadly it is a non-controversial and non-offensive reply to the Soviet broadcast indicating the Poles' willingness to discuss the question of frontiers.

If this draft, or something like it, is accepted by the Poles and published, the idea is that it should then be endeavoured to bring about a meeting in Moscow where the matter could be thrashed out between the Russians and the Poles with the United Kingdom and American Ambassadors present. This would give effect to the agreement reached at the Moscow Conference for questions of high policy being dealt with in the three capitals between the Foreign Secretary of the country in whose capital the Conference was held, and the Ambassadors of the other two countries.

There is little doubt but that the Russians would agree to such conversations and it is hoped that it will be possible to persuade the Poles to do so as well and not raise the barrier of the necessity for the resumption of diplomatic relations before discussions are entered into, upon which they have been inclined to be insistent but are now weakening.

The matter will have to be settled in the immediate future and it is difficult to make a forecast as to whether the Poles will accept the advice which Eden has given to them. The present indications are that they may, but they are a very temperamental people and liable at any movement to lapse into a 'suicide' mood when their actions become quite unpredictable.

I assume telegram 366 of January 13th [6] was despatched before receipt of Dominions Office D.51 [7] and my 3[A] of January 12th.


1 In cablegram 3[A] Bruce conveyed the substance of his conversation with Eden on 10 January, during which he had urged Eden to put 'the strongest pressure' on the Poles to respond to the Soviet Govt's overtures. These overtures were reported by Maloney, in cablegram 9 of 11 January, as involving the transfer of German-held territory to the west to a 'strong and independent Poland' and Soviet willingness to discuss Poland's eastern border.

Both cablegrams are on file AA:A989, 44/715/5/2, ii.

2 Stanislaw Mikolajczyk.

3 Tadeusz Romer.

4 Count Edward Raczynski.

5 The broadcast refers to the overtures reported by Maloney in his cablegram cited in note 1.

6 Document 11.

7 Dispatched 12 January. On the file cited in note 1.

[AA:A989, 44/715/52, ii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History