Skip to main content

Historical documents

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
Back to top