HC Deb 20 February 1946 vol 419 cc1126-8
12. Major Beamish

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that sixteen Polish officers are at present under arrest in Poland charged with offences against the State; that these officers are accused of direct connection with elements in the Polish II Corps in Italy, which is under British command; whether the Polish Provisional Government has provided His Majesty's Government with concrete evidence that has enabled these charges to be investigated; and whether arrangements have been completed "to enable all witnesses desired for the defence to be granted leave to proceed to Poland for this purpose.

Mr. Bevin

I understand that the trial of 23 members of the subversive organisation known as N.S.Z. began in the Warsaw District Military Court on 13th February. The Polish Minister of Public Security has stated in a recent Press interview that the perpetrators of various criminal acts in Poland are connected with the Polish Armed Forces under British command. No official communication on the subject of the trial now in progress has been received by His Majesty's Government from the Polish Provisional Government.

Major Beamish

Can the right hon. Gentleman say by whom these officers are being defended, since.they are supposed to be under British command?

Mr. Bevin

I would like notice of that.

16. Mr. Zilliacus

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware of the arrest by the Polish Security Police, for association with Fascist guerilla activities and illegal broadcasting, of two groups of Polish officers, with British military identity books that showed they belonged to General Anders's army in Italy; and whether he is satisfied that the sums of$400,000 and$80,000 respectively, found in the possession of these groups, did not come in whole or in part out of the£2,000,000 a month paid by His Majesty's Government for the upkeep of General Anders's army.

Mr. Bevin

I have seen a summary of an interview given on 13th February by the Polish Minister of Public Security to a representative of the official Polish Press agency stating that certain persons accused of subversive activities had come to Poland with British documents and that Generals Anders and Kopanski had sent large sums in dollars or pounds.

On receipt of these documents and of details of the sums involved, such as the numbers of the notes and their history, so far as is known, I would gladly cause immediate inquiry to be made whether any Polish officials have arrived in Poland since that country's liberation with British identity books or other documents, and whether any part of the funds paid for the maintenance of Polish 2nd Corps have been misused in the manner suggested. At present, however, I have no reason to believe the sums mentioned by the Polish Minister of Public Security emanated from funds of Polish 2nd Corps.

I would add that prior to the liberation of Poland large sums were sent to that country in dollars to assist the Polish underground movement in their activities against the forces guarding the German lines of communication with the Eastern front, and that we have no precise knowledge of what in fact happened to those sums.

Professor Savory

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that General Anders has given the most firm and categorical denial of ever having sent any money or of ever having gone into conspiracy with Poles in Poland, and that we have no reason to doubt the word of this gallant officer?

Mr. Zilliacus

Is my right hon. Friend aware that General Anders has also denied any communication with the underground movement, whereas some of his junior officers have been informing Press correspondents—who have duly reported it in the "News Chronicle" and elsewhere—of the actual contact they were maintaining with the underground Fascist movement in Poland?

Mr. Bevin

I can only assume there must be a second Intelligence Service.