Commonwealth Government to Cranborne

Cablegram 69 CANBERRA, 19 March 1945


D.O. Telegram D.348 of 26th February. [1]

We see no objection to proposal in paragraph 2 provided that Polish forces are carefully disposed to avoid risk of difficulties with Soviet Union.

2. The adoption of proposal in paragraph 3 would apparently confer on the Poles concerned very wide rights including, in effect, automatic admission to Australia and possibly equal rights with British ex-servicemen in employment, etc. As the numbers may be large we cannot support the proposal without further information.

3. We therefore suggest that if necessary the Poles be reassured by an undertaking on the lines of that given by Mr. Churchill in the House of Commons on 27th February when he offered ‘the freedom and citizenship of the British Empire to all who fought if they desire it’. We might be prepared to allow a substantial number of Polish ex-servicemen to migrate to Australia after the war but as at present informed we think this could be arranged without a prior grant of British nationality. [2]


1 Document 50.

2 Churchill had in fact expressed a hope that such an offer might be possible, while acknowledging that all matters affecting citizenship must first be discussed with the Dominions (House of Commons, Parliamentary Debates, fifth series, vol. 408, col.

1284). In the event the U.K. Govt decided that Polish servicemen who had served under British command in Western Europe, could, if they so desired, become British subjects in accordance with Churchill’s statement. See Cranborne’s cablegram D583, dispatched 10 April, on file AA:A1066, E45/24/7.


[AA:A1066, E45/7]