Very ceremonious circumstances. Ivan Maisky (on the extreme right) and General Władysław Sikorski (second from the left) sign the Soviet-Polish agreement on 30 July 1941. In the middle are sitting Sir Anthony Robert Eden (left) and Sir Winston Spencer Churchill (right).



There is no necessity here to set forth in detail the course of the further negotiations, which took up a great deal of time and required much expenditure of nervous energy. I will only say that they were very difficult negotiations, and that several times they were on the verge of rupture. However, the insistence and flexibility of the Soviet Government in the long run overcame all the obstacles, and on 30 July 1941 the Pact was signed by myself and Sikorski.

The most complex question turned out to be that of the frontiers of the future Polish State. Although Sikorski, it seemed, represented a somewhat different variety of the Polish military clique from the notorious 'Colonels' who had led pre-war Poland into destruction, there was still sufficiently strong in him and his entourage the spirit of aggressive imperialism. He had insufficient political realism, and 'romantic' ancient traditions of the Polish nobility kept him firmly in their grip. After long arguments and acute polemics, it was finally decided not to mention the question of the future frontiers of the Polish State in the Pact at all, and to confine it to the statement of the Soviet Government that the Soviet-German treaties of 1939 regarding territorial changes in Poland were considered to have lost their validity. Such a formula was introduced into Article I of the Pact.

Furthermore, the Pact defined that diplomatic relations were re-established between the USSR and Poland, that both side would afford each other every kind of aid and support in the course of war, and that the Soviet Government gave its consent to the formation of a Polish army in the territory of the USSR. In addition, it was provided in a special protocol that the Soviet Government would 'grant an amnesty to all Polish citizens now detained on the territory of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, either as prisoners of war or on other sufficient grounds'. [1]

The signature of the Pact took place in very ceremonious circumstances, which the British saw to. Eden had from the outset attributed great importance to a reconciliation between the USSR and Poland, closely followed the course of negotiations, at critical moments gave his assistance behind the scenes, and now that this diplomatic enterprise had been crowned with success wanted to bring about as much noise as possible around it, which would be favourable for the Allies. The explanation was, on the one hand, the importance of strengthening internal unity among the Allies and, on the other hand, the desire to advertise Sikorski as widely as possible, because as I have already said the British Government had far-reaching plans bound up with his personality.

The procedure of signature itself took pkce in the Foreign Office, in Eden's room. In addition to the Secretary of State, Churchill was present. There were many journalists, photographers and film reporters. On all sides we were blinded by the flood-lights. Sikorski and I exchanged speeches. Then the leaders of the British State shook hands with us. Then we thanked them for their assistance. And then - the following day - the British press made the conclusion of a Soviet-Polish Pact the main 'sensation' of the moment. I did not object to the actions of the British: in the summer of 1941 the Soviet-Polish Pact was of great positive importance, and it was important to bring this fact to the knowledge of the widest possible circles, both among the Allies and in the ranks of the enemy.
  1. Soviet Foreign Policy during the Patriotic War (London), Vol. I, pp. 81-1.