Cablegram 14A LONDON, 27 January 1944, 7.42 p.m.
For the Prime Minister.
No developments have taken place since I last cabled  other
than those reported in Dominions Office telegrams.  It has been
possible to keep the Poles quiet in face of the Russian reply 
and on the whole I think it can be said that the position has not
deteriorated. How it is to be resolved is another question.
Considerable controversy has developed here as to the significance
of the Russian note.
One school of thought argues that it shows that the Russians are
hopeless-that they have no intention of co-operating and that
Stalin's signature to the Moscow Declaration  and cordial
atmosphere at the Tehran Conference mean nothing.
The other school of thought maintains that this summing up of the
situation is nonsense and that the people who have reached it are
attributing western reasoning to the Russian mind whereas in fact
they are really eastern in their mentality. They argue that too
much significance should not be attached to the Russian reply
which they maintain was merely intended to warn the United Kingdom
and the United States of America that Russia will not tolerate too
much interference in the Polish dispute which is really a question
for the Poles and themselves, and as a warning that the
undertakings given with regard to a second front must be lived up
They urge that the reply is not an indication that the Russians do
not want to play in the comity of nations, but was merely a 'kick
on the pants' for the United States of America and the United
Kingdom similar to that administered when Maisky  and Litvinov
 were withdrawn, a procedure which Russian processes of thought
deem to be necessary from time to time.
My own view is strongly down the second line, but before
communicating with you I wanted to hear from Benes  his
impressions on his Russian visit and to check them up with Clark
Kerr who was in this country for a few days. I have now had an
opportunity of doing this.
Benes' views are strongly down the line of the second school of
thought and Clark Kerr endorsed them. A good deal of fuel has been
added to the first by Pravda's publication of the rumours with
regard to Anglo-German peace negotiations. The publication has
certainly strengthened the arguments of the first school of
thought but the second school is unperturbed, arguing that it is
only another indication of the way the Russian mind works.
With regard to the publication of these rumours the Prime Minister
has sent a personal telegram to Stalin which in my view is an
admirable mixture of toughness and good humour. The Prime Minister
has seen the Poles and is endeavouring to find a way out of the
impasse. He indicated in the above-mentioned telegram to Stalin
that he hoped to send him a personal communication on this
question after he had further investigated the position.