Conversations with the Kremlin, and Dispatches from Russia

Conversations with the Kremlin, and Dispatches from Russia

Conversations with the Kremlin, and Dispatches from Russia

Conversations with the Kremlin, and Dispatches from Russia

Excerpt

The documents presented in this book consist chiefly of translations of reports of various conversations which I, as Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the U.S.S.R., had with various members of the Soviet Government during the period of my mission. They date from the day after my arrival in Moscow, on 4 September 1941, to my departure from the U.S.S.R. on 13 July 1942. In addition there are extracts from my reports to General Sikorski, the Prime Minister of Poland, and to other ministers of the Polish Government in London, which throw further light on the course of Polish-Soviet relations during my period as ambassador.

As the main documents consist of reports of conversations, it is necessary to explain how they came to be recorded. In each of my conversations with Soviet ministers I was accompanied by a secretary. As I did not speak Russian (though, because of my knowledge of Old Slavonic, I did to some extent understand it) my secretary also acted as translator, translating my remarks into Russian for the Soviet representative, and his into Polish for me. In order to accomplish this task satisfactorily he had to make copious notes. These were not taken down in shorthand; but every sentence and, when the talking speed of the conversation allowed, every word, was written out in full. Immediately after each conversation, while the proceedings were still fresh in his memory, the secretary made a complete transcript, to which I added from my own recollection of the talk.

When writing his report, intended primarily for the Polish Government in London, the secretary added brief notes on the duration of the conversation, the atmosphere in which it took place, and the behaviour of those who took part. As these comments are in the nature of direct observations they have been retained in this book.

Needless to say, the word 'Kremlin' in the title of the volume is intended simply to indicate the headquarters of the Soviet Government. The Soviet organ in the sphere of foreign affairs, with which I had mostly to deal, was the 'Narcomindiel', the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs. So long as the Embassy was situated in Moscow the conversations did in fact take place in the Kremlin; but . . .

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