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Political Parties

Volume 409: debated on Wednesday 11 April 1945

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25.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs which political parties in Poland are defined by His Majesty's Government as democratic and non-democratic, respectively; whether these parties are similarly so defined by our Soviet Ally; and whether His Majesty's Ambassador in Moscow is satisfied that all democratic parties in Poland have at the present time freedom to express and to work for their political opinions.

His Majesty's Government, the United States Government and the Soviet Government are at present concerned with the first step proposed at the Crimea Conference, the setting up in Poland of a broadly representative new Provisional Government of National Unity such as would command recognition by the Great Powers. When this has been done and His Majesty's Government are represented in Poland, they will be in a better position to form a final opinion as to what parties should be entitled to take part in elections, which clearly could not take place for some considerable time after the formation of the new Government. The scanty information at present available to His Majesty's Government about conditions in Poland indicates, as one would expect, that, as a result of the long German occupation and the recent operations in Poland, Party political warfare is not yet working in a normal manner. It may also clearly be that before elections were held new parties might emerge.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the British Government sought, on 27th January, the names of Polish politicians in Poland who might enable the Committee of Ambassadors to form a Provisional Government? Were they then in a position to secure the lives and liberties of those politicians, and are they now in that position?

What we are at present trying to do is to secure agreement about Polish democratic leaders. The question of parties comes afterwards. Certainly, it would be part of any arrangement, so far as we are concerned, that if any Polish leaders were invited they should have full security and full right to go where they wished.

Is it the intention that all the members of the National Polish Provisional Government shall be Polish citizens?

The right hon. Gentleman says that he is awaiting a new Provisional Polish Government. There is nothing about that in the Yalta Agreement.

If the hon. Gentleman will read it he will find there the word "new," because I was anxious that it should be there.