|1. Aug. 4,
1944 message from Winston Churchill to Josef Stalin
Prime Minister to Marshal Stalin
At urgent request of Polish Underground
Army we are dropping, subject to weather, about sixty
tons of equipment and ammunition into the southwest quarter
of Warsaw, where it is said a Polish revolt against the Germans is in fierce
struggle. They also say that they appeal for Russian
aid, which seems to be very near. They are being attacked
by one and a half German divisions. This may be of help
to your operation.
2. Aug. 15, 1944 Andrey Y. Vyshinsky, First
Assistant to the Peoples Commissar for
Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union, message to Ambassador
Harrison in Moscow
The Soviet Government cannot of course
object to English or American aircraft dropping arms
in the region of Warsaw, since this is an American and
British affair. But they
decidedly object to American or British aircraft, after
dropping arms in the region of Warsaw, landing on Soviet
territory, since the Soviet Government do not wish to
themselves either directly or indirectly with the adventure
3. Message from Josef Stalin to Winston Churchill
on Aug. 16, 1944
After the conversation with M. Mikolajczyk
I gave orders that the command of the Red Army should
drop arms intensively in the Warsaw sector. A parachutist
liaison officer was also
dropped, who, according to the report of the command,
did not reach his objective as he
was killed by the Germans.
Further, having familiarized myself more closely with
the Warsaw affair, I am convinced that the Warsaw action
represents a reckless and terrible adventure which is
costing the population large sacrifices. This would not
have been if the Soviet command had been
informed before the beginning of the Warsaw action and if the Poles had maintained contact
4. Aug. 15, 1994 Ambassador Harriman message
to F. D. Roosevelt and the Acting
Secretary of State
In Molotov's alleged absence, Vyshinski
received us early this afternoon [15 August]. We informed
him that we believed the decision of the Soviet Government
was a grave mistake and that it would have serious repercussions
in Washington and London. We pointed out that Vyshinski's
letter did not tally with Stalin's promise to Mikolajczyk
to assist the resistance movement in Warsaw.... Vyshinski
adhered to the statements made in his letter and to the
view that the outbreak in Warsaw was ill-advised, not
a serious matter, not worthy of assistance, and that
it would have no influence on the future course of the
war. There were no reasons to reconsider the Soviet position.
He said that the Soviet Government had nothing to fear
as to public reaction abroad since the exploits of the
Red Army and the Soviet people clearly spoke for themselves.
I pointed out that we were not requesting Soviet participation
in the operation and stated that I could not understand
why the Soviet Government should object to our endeavour
to assist the Poles even if our attempt to get arms to
them should not bring about the desired results. Vyshinski
maintained that the landing of the American planes at
the Soviet bases constituted participation and the Soviet
Government did not wish to encourage 'adventuristic
actions' which might later be turned against the Soviet
Clark Kerr inquired whether he understood
correctly that there had been a change in Soviet policy
from Stalin's promise to Mikolajczyk to assist the Poles
in Warsaw. Vyshinski maintained that there had been no
change in policy, that it was primarily a matter of the
best ways and means of effecting this policy, that the
Red Army was helping Poland, and that the question was
purely military in character. He was evasive when asked
whether the Soviets intended to assist directly the Poles
fighting in Warsaw.
5. Aug. 17, 1994 Ambassador Harriman message
to F. D. Roosevelt and the Secretary
I recommend that the President send immediately a strong message to Stalin and instruct
me to deliver it personally provided he is in Moscow, otherwise to Molotov (it would be
helpful also to receive guidance on the oral explanation desired in order that there may be
no doubt Stalin understands the President's views).
In making this recommendation I assume
that I am not so out of touch with American opinion but
that I reflect your views in believing that we can not
(repeat not) accept the Soviet position when they allow
the Poles fighting in Warsaw to be killed without lifting
hand and arbitrarily prevent us from making efforts to assist.
My own feeling is that Stalin should be made to understand that American public belief in the
chances of the success of world security organization and postwar cooperation would be
deeply shaken if the Soviet Government continues such a policy.
... Care should be taken however to avoid anything in the nature of a threat, and it should be
borne in mind that we have so far no official knowledge that Stalin personally is committed to
the decisions Vyshinski expounded as those of the Soviet Government.
6. Aug. 18, 1944 Winston Churchills telegram
to F. D. Roosevelt
The refusal of the Soviets to allow the U.S. aircraft to bring succour to the heroic insurgents
in Warsaw, added to their own complete neglect to fly supplies when only a few score of
miles away, constitutes an episode of profound and far-reaching gravity. If, as is almost
certain, the German triumph in Warsaw is followed by a wholesale massacre, no measure
can be put upon the full consequences that will arise. I am willing to send a personal
message to Stalin if you think this wise and if you will yourself send a separate similar
Better far than two messages would
be a joint message signed by both of us. I have no doubt
we could agree on the wording.
7. Aug. 24, 1944 message from F. D. Roosevelt to
My information points to the practical
impossibility of our providing supplies to the Warsaw Poles
unless we are permitted to land on and take off from Soviet
airfields, and the Soviet
authorities are at the present time prohibiting their use
for the relief of Warsaw.
I do not see that we can take any additional steps at the present time that promise results.
Stalin's reply ... to our joint message about the Warsaw Poles is far from encouraging to our
wishes to assist.
8. Aug. 25, 1944 Winston Churchills telegram
to F. D. Roosevelt
Uncle Joe's reply adds nothing to our knowledge, and he avoids the definite questions
asked. I suggest following reply:
"We are most anxious to send American
planes from England. Why should they not land on the
refuelling ground which has been assigned to us behind
the Russian lines without enquiry as to what they
have done on the way. This should preserve the principle
of your [government's] dissociation from this particular
episode. We feel sure that if wounded British or American
planes arrive behind the lines of your armies, they
will be succoured with your usual consideration. We
do not try to form an opinion about the persons who
instigated this rising, which was certainly called
for repeatedly by radio Moscow. Our sympathies are,
however, for the almost unarmed people whose
special faith has led them to attack German guns, tanks,
and aircraft. We cannot think that Hitler's cruelties
will end with their resistance. On the contrary, it
seems probable that that is the time when they will
begin with full ferocity. The massacre in Warsaw will
undoubtedly be a very great annoyance to us when we
all meet at the end of the war. Unless you directly
forbid it, therefore, we propose to send the planes."
If he will not give any reply to this I feel we ought
to go and see what happens. I cannot conceive that
he would maltreat or detain them. Since signing this,
I have seen that they are even trying to take away
your airfields at Poltava and elsewhere.
9. Aug. 24, 1944 message from F. D. Roosevelt
to Winston Churchill
... I do not consider it advantageous
to the long range general war prospect for me to join
with you in the proposed message to U.J. [Uncle Joe].
I have no objection to your sending such a message if you
consider it advisable to do so.
After Zawodny, Janusz Kazimierz. Nothing
but Honour: The Story of the Warsaw Uprising, 1944,
Pan Macmillan, 1978:
1. Churchill, Winston. The Tide of Victory, Vol. II of The Second World War. Mariner
Books; Reissue edition, 1986.
2. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1944, Vol. 3, pp. 1374-6. Washington: United
States Government Printing Office.
3. Churchill. The Tide of Victory.
4. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1944, Vol. 3, pp. 1374-6.
5. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1944, Vol. 3, p. 1396.
6. Churchill to Roosevelt, radio message, 18 Aug. 1944. Roosevelt Papers, Map Room
Papers, Box 6.
7. Roosevelt to Churchill, radio message, 19 Aug. 1944. Ibid.
8. Churchill to Roosevelt, radio message, 25 Aug. 1944. Ibid.
9. Roosevelt to Churchill, radio message, 26 Aug. 1944. Ibid.