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Former London Government (Winding Up)

Volume 414: debated on Monday 15 October 1945

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what progress has been made in winding up the former Polish Government in London.

As the reply is rather long, I will, with permission, circulate it in the Official Report.

Following is the reply:

Upon the recognition by His Majesty's Government of the Polish Provisional Government in Warsaw, the Polish Government in London ceased to exist. His Majesty's Government entrusted the Interim Treasury Committee for Polish Questions with the task of liquidating the affairs of the latter Government and, at the same time, of maintaining essential welfare services. The Polish Ministries in London were closed; rapid steps were taken to terminate their political activities; and all assets of the London Polish Government came under the complete control of the Committee.

The Interim Treasury Committee are now well advanced in their task of winding up the affairs of the former Polish Government Departments other than those concerned with welfare services. In view of the fact that a large number of Poles here and abroad were dependent financially and administratively upon the London Government, which in turn was almost entirely financed through advances made by His Majesty's Government, the continuance of such services was necessary if these Poles were not to be caused undue hardship owing to the withdrawal of recognition by His Majesty's Government from the London Government. The Committee took over the care and maintenance of Polish refugees abroad, many of whom are to be found in the Dominions and Colonies, the payment of pensions to disabled soldiers and war widows and the upkeep of Polish hospitals and educational establishments in the United Kingdom. These activities and the other affairs and assets of the former Polish Government in London must necessarily remain under the control of the Interim Treasury Committee until a general settlement of all these matters has been reached with the Polish Provisional Government in Warsaw. Discussions on this question were begun in July with a Commission sent here by the Polish Provisional Government for this purpose under Monsieur Drozniak. He was, however, recalled to Warsaw for instructions on 20th August. Although His Majesty's Government repeatedly indicated to the Polish authorities that they were anxious for his early return in order to expedite an agreed settlement, he did not come back to this country till 10th October. Discussions are now being resumed. Meanwhile His Majesty's Government have made it clear to the Polish Government that no settlement would be satisfactory that did not cover the question of the liability of the Polish Provisional Government for outstanding Polish indebtedness to His Majesty's Government and did not ensure that the Poles who shared with us the fortunes of war should receive treatment acceptable to British public opinion.