HL Deb 09 October 1946 vol 143 cc140-1WA

asked His Majesty's Government whether in view of the agreement reported to have been made at Potsdam they can now give information on the following points:

  1. (a) What time limit was given for the fulfilment of the undertaking of holding of free elections?
  2. (b) Would there be any facility for an Allied Commission to observe it?
  3. (c) In the event of no free elections being held within a determined time, was it the intention to notify the present Polish Government that recognition given conditionally would have to be reviewed?


The Potsdam Agreement laid down no time limit within which elections should be held, but provided for the holding of free and unfettered elections "as soon as possible." As regards the second part of the question, the Potsdam Agreement made no provision for the Polish elections to be observed by an Allied Commission. It did, however, provide that representatives of the Allied Press should enjoy full freedom to report to the world upon developments in Poland before and during the elections, and I should be glad to see the fullest possible use made of this provision by the British Press.

As regards the third part of the question, the noble Lord will be aware that His Majesty's Ambassador at Warsaw presented to the Acting Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs on August 19 a Note regarding the holding of free elections in Poland. The United States Ambassador presented a Note on the same subject. When a reply to their Note has been received His Majesty's Government will review the position further. Meanwhile, His Majesty's Government still regard the Polish Provisional Government as bound, under the terms of the Potsdam Agreement, to hold free and unfettered elections as soon as possible on the basis of universal suffrage and secret ballot in which all democratic and anti-Nazi parties shall have the right to take part and to put forward candidates.