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Historical documents

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

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]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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