September 29, 1941

[Department of State Bulletin, October 4, 1941.]


September 28th, 1941.

"I know how interested you are in the development of the efforts of the Polish Government relating to the formation of the Polish Army units in Soviet Russia, as well as in that of Polish-Soviet relations in general on the basis of the agreement signed in London on July 30, 1941, between Poland and the U.S.S.R. by virtue of which normal relations have been renewed between the two countries.

"I am very glad to be able to tell you on the basis of information I just received from London that the enthusiasm of the Poles in Russia actively to resume the fight against Hitlerite Germany is so great, that the Polish Army in Russia will be virtually an army of volunteers. Great numbers of Poles of military age apply daily demanding to be enrolled immediately in the Polish Forces, thus swelling the ranks of units which are being formed from our regular soldiers who had been interned in Russia.

"The Polish Government is confident that it will be able to put in the field very shortly an army of well over 100,000 men, provided they can be supplied with the necessary material and equipment from Great Britain and the United States. I hear that two divisions are already formed and the third is nearing completion.

"What will interest you especially, I am sure, is that the U. S. S. R. has granted to our Armed Forces full rights of an independent National Polish Army, giving it likewise the right of opening its own schools, full cultural freedom and freedom of worship for both Christians and Jews. We have already got our own Catholic military chaplains.

"Generally speaking, as matters now stand, the Soviet Government is loyally fulfilling all its engagements. The Polish deportees have now obtained their freedom and it is gratifying to note that of the estimated number of one million and a half of Poles at present in Russia, those who are physically able and who are not of military age, are anxious to do their share in all kinds of war work in factories and on farms for the common effort. A special Polish Committee has been set up to enable them to do so.

"Perhaps the most heartening fact is that a Polish Catholic church is about to be opened in Moscow, as well as a synagogue for Polish Jews, and that the Polish communities in Russia have been allowed by the Soviet Government to institute places of worship and have been given full freedom in this field.

"One of the great difficulties is the lack of warm garments and warm underwear, footwear, as well as of medical supplies among the Poles in Russia. Men's clothing is most needed, there being a majority of men among the Polish deportees.

"In view of the very kind interest which the President has so graciously shown in all matters relating to Poland and the Polish people, I should regard it as a great favor if you would kindly see your way to convey this information to the President.

"Please accept [etc.]