The Anglo American Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS) discuss on July 3, 1943, THE ARMED FORCES AND SECRET MILITARY ORGANIZATION OF POLAND AS A FACTOR IN GENERAL ALLIED EUROPEAN PLANNING
Source: National Archives, RG 218, Records of US Joint Chiefs of Staff, "CCS 381 Poland (6-30-43) sec.1".
30 July 1943
ARMED FORCES AND SECRET MILITARY ORGANIZATION IN POLAND
Note by the Secretaries
The attached paper was prepared in response to a request from the Combined Staff Planners, which is included in the paper as paragraph 1.
A. SIDNEY BUFORD, III,
Report by the Combined Intelligence Committee
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
1. The Combined Staff Planners request us to furnish an estimate of the following:
a. The attitude of Russia if:(1) the secret underground organization in Poland is supplied to carry on subversive activities;
2. In general, Russia would resent any Anglo-American course of action which could be construed as Interference in an area in which she considers her interests to be predominant. There are in pre-1939 Polish territory some Russian guerrillas and a. Communist underground organization independent of the Polish Government in London. While these elements have not as yet directly clashed with corresponding Polish organizations, they pursue a policy similar to that of the Partisans in Yugoslavia and as unwelcome to the authorities in exile.
3. Attitude of Russia if the Secret Underground Organization is Supplied to carry on Subversive Activities.
One of the accusations which the Soviet Government has brought against the present Polish Government is that they have failed to give sufficient encouragement to large-scale active resistance against the Germans in Poland. The delivery, therefore, of relatively small quantities of material to the Polish underground for subversive purposes would probably not excite Russian susceptibilities. It is advisable, however, that this material should be delivered to the Polish Government in London rather than directly to Polish authorities in Poland. The Russian attitude will depend upon the uses to which Polish subversive forces are put, and in general, upon the state of relations between the Soviet and Polish Governments.
4. Attitude of Russia if a Secret Army in Poland is fully equipped.
In present circumstances the Russian reaction to any attempt to equip fully a secret army in Poland would be violently hostile. The secret army is, however, not likely to be used until the war is almost over. If at that stage of the war, the Soviet and Polish Governments are still mutually antagonistic and the question of their post-war frontiers has not been settled, the Soviet Government:
a. if not consulted, will probably assume that the Polish secret army will be used against themselves, and the equipping of such an Army will be liable to cause serious trouble between the United States and British Governments on the one hand and the Soviet Government on the other;
5. Employment of the Polish Secret Army. Assuming that the Polish secret army obeyed the orders which it received from London (and we are assured that it would), it would certainly fight against the Germans. If the political question regarding Eastern Poland remained unsolved, the Army would certainly be disposed to resist Russian encroachment within Poland's pre-1939 frontiers.
6. Cohesiveness of the Underground Organization in Poland.
The underground organization in Poland is at present sufficiently cohesive to ensure that there will he no split within the existing secret army.
Website note: spelling errors are in the original. E.,g. for Looz read Lodz, for Lubin read Lublin.
1. THE ARMED FORCES AND SECRET MILITARY ORGANIZATION OF POLAND AS A FACTOR IN GENERAL ALLIED EUROPEAN PLANNING (C.C.S. .267)
[In margin:] CCS 100th Mtg. (7.2.43) Sup'y Minutes
On behalf of Colonel Mitkiewicz, CAPTAIN ZAMOYSKI gave a brief statement in elaboration of the memorandum put forward for consideration by the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
After the conquest of Poland, General Sikorski had raised an army in France of 80,000 men, largely recruited from Polish citizens resident in France or from Polish soldiers who had escaped via the Balkans or Lithuania. On the collapse of France some 16,000 of this army were evacuated to the United Kingdom and these together with the major part of the Polish Air force and the Polish Navy who had transferred to the United Kingdom, formed the nucleus of the Polish forces which now amount to some 36 000 men in the United Kingdom, and some 97,000 men who had been moved out of Russia and had joined the Polish Brigade who had fought in the Middle East. These had now been formed into two divisions and one tank brigade and were at present stationed North of Baghdad.
Immediately after the occupation of Poland a Secret Army had been formed in the country which was centered in the Warsaw, Crakow, Looz, Lubin area. This army was in contact with the Polish Government in London and under the command of General Sikorski. Liaison was maintained by radio and by a Polish flight of a British squadron. Men, particularly officers, small arms, signal equipment and demolition material had been flown in to them. General Sikorski considered this Secret Army as the main force of Poland since it was situated in the country and supported by the people. The intention was to coordinate action by this secret army with that of the Polish Forces now abroad and with Allied plans. It was important that the closest liaison should be maintained with this army since its tie with the Polish General Staff must be strengthened and the interests of the Allies in its well-being and operations demonstrated. Unless the ties were close there was danger of an ill-timed movement started without direct coordination with the Allied Command. The geographical situation of this army was immensely valuable. It separated the main German Forces on the Eastern front from their bases in the Reich and was in a position to cut their lines of communication should Germany wish to draw forces from the East for action in the West.
General Sikorski's conception was to seize control of central Poland with the Secret Army, then to reinforce them by the transfer of Polish Air Forces and the Polish Parachute Brigade from the U.K. Later if possible, Polish Land Forces would be added. All these plans required the use of considerable air transport, and further, it was essential that they should be coordinated with and form part of the Allied offensive in Europe.
In addition to severing German communications between the Eastern front and the Reich, the Secret Army would engage considerable German forces and a very important area in Europe would be under Allied control.
In reply to a question by Sir John Dill, CAPTAIN ZAMOYSKI said that the German forces now in Poland consisted of six first-line divisions, [handwritten insertion:] and in addition 20 smaller miscellaneous units.
In reply to a question by General Marshall, CAPTAIN ZAMOYSKI confirmed that the numbers of arms and ammunition now hidden in Poland, as given in the memorandum., were substantially correct and had been framed from information received from the country.
ADMIRAL LEAHY, in thanking Colonel Mitkiewicz, suggested that the Combined Staff Planners should examine and report on the Polish memorandum.
SIR JOHN DILL said that he had read the paper with great interest. The British and Polish Governments and General Staffs had been in close touch throughout. It had been agreed in principle that the Polish Army should be armed as rapidly as possible, the only limitation being the availability of aircraft.
SIR JOHN DILL asked whether the Polish demands for equipment put forward in their memorandum had been transmitted to London.
CAPTAIN ZAMOYSKI explained that the main requirements for armaments had been put direct to the British Chiefs of Staff but there were certain current requirements which were unobtainable from the United Kingdom. These demands had been submitted to the U.S. authorities with the full knowledge of London. The Polish Forces outside Poland were equipped by the British Chiefs of Staff, but the equipment of the Secret Army was not in the same category since Poland did not lie in any specific strategic area.
In the past the Intelligence Service operating in Poland had been the most valuable contribution but the time had now come when the arming of the Polish Army was of the utmost importance. In the first phase of the plan the British Chiefs of Staff had agreed to execute some 300 flights to carry in men and equipment but considerably heavier air transport requirements were visualized for the second phase when the rapid transfer of both arms and personnel was essential.
ADMIRAL LEAHY, on behalf of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, expressed his appreciation for the valuable paper and discussion put forward by the Polish representatives.
(At this point Captain Zamoyski, Colonel Mitkiewicz and Major Fedizejewski left the meeting.)
SIR JOHN DILL pointed out the importance of coordinating Polish demands for equipment.
THE COMBINED CHIEFS OF STAFF:-
Agreed to refer the paper presented by the Polish liaison officer, Colonel Mitkiewicz, to the Combined Staff Planners for study and report.