183 Bruce to Curtin

Cablegram S88 LONDON, 8 May 1943


POLISH RUSSIAN SITUATION. My recent telegrams [1] will have made clear to you my anxieties, which have steadily increased, as to the developments that may flow from the present incident. It would perhaps be desirable however if I were to briefly summarise my thought on this problem and at the same time make clear to you the line I have been taking here.

My view as to what should be done is summarised in the last paragraph of my telegram No. S.76 of the 28th April. Patching up is no good. If only that is done deterioration in relations with Russia is in my view inevitable. Such deterioration must mean the disappearance of all our hopes for a post-war world based on Anglo-American-Russian cooperation. If there is no such co- operation, Russia will dominate all Eastern and South-Eastern Europe-everything will be governed by fear; the cordon sanitaire against Russia will be revived; America, disgusted by the European position, will eventually withdraw, like she did before. With the withdrawal of America from Europe, the attitude of the Dominions will be problematic. Something must be done to prevent this situation developing.

I believe the only way to do so is by great gesture recognising Russia's position in the comity of nations.

I was proposing to put this to the Prime Minister. As a result of developments of which you are aware [2], he has slipped through my fingers.

I have been working on Members of the War Cabinet, particularly Eden and Attlee. Eden, however, who has been under a great strain, is very nervy and in my view near breaking down. Attlee, while expressing agreement, has not the necessary force. I am therefore not very hopeful of a strong line being taken here.

At Eden's request I dictated a note setting out as shortly as possible my views. [3] I am sending text in my following telegram.

[4] It is hopelessly condensed-it does not draw the picture of the position that will develop if hopes of Russian post-war co- operation disappear and it omits most of the argument. It does however give my broad thought and anyone familiar with the facts can fill in the details.


1 See Documents 168 and 177 and note 2 to Document 177.

2 i.e. Churchill's visit to Washington.

3 Dated 7 May. On file AA:M100, May 1943.

4 See cablegram S89 of 8 May on the file cited in note 3. The 'great gesture' proposed by Bruce was that Churchill and Roosevelt should ask Stalin 'to join with them in a declaration that the primary object of the United Nations, after the Axis has been defeated, is to ensure that peace will be maintained in the world, and that all nations will be free from the fear of aggression, and that to that end they are determined to create a world authority with adequate force, whether National or International, at its command, and inviting the co-operation of all peace loving nations in giving effect to its determination'.

[AA:M100, MAY 1943]