By W. I. IGOE
What seems to be the first shot in a new campaign against the Polish forces which have fought with the Allied Armies throughout the second World War has just been fired from Warsaw.
According to the correspondent of the Observer in that city, 16' Polish officers will shortly be secretly tried by the Beirut Government on charges• of leading terrorist forces in Poland.
The Observer's report seta out fully the charges against the men. These arc that they conspired to assassinate members of the Government, that they planned to "overthrow the new democratic regime," and that they were guilty of receiving instructions from irreconcilable elements abroad. the names of the accused men are not mentioned; General Anders, leader of the Polish Army in Italy is, states the Observer correspondent. linked with the accusations.
ITALIANS WORRIED 7 On the same page of the Observer is another article which asserts that Italians arc worried about the Polish Army in their count ry. Various charges and insinuations against the Poles are made in this article, which does not give the name of one Italian or Italian organisation in support of its point.
In the Warsaw correspondent's despatch the point is made that recently a high-ranking officer of General Anders army came to Poland on A secret mission, evaded capture and 'escaped. Again the name of this " officer " was not mentioned. All that is stated definitely in the article is that a trial will he held in camera. What is its significance ?
There are various points to be considered, and these are causing some concern among free Poles abroad. The trial method of gaining consent LI a Russo-Polish measure has been employed successfully by the Beirut Government and the Soviet in 'elation to Poland in the past.
Mr. Eden and the British Government gave a pledge to the Government of Mr. Arcizcwski that the Government of Beirut would not be recognised. That was before the Moscow trial at the leaders. military and political of the Polish underground state. That trial gave the British and U.S. Governments a pretext for breaking their pledges.
The British Government is at present under pledge that the Polish Armies which fought in the Falaise Gap and up Monastery Hill at Cassino will not be placed under alien commanders. Full fieedom is permitted to any Polish soldier who wishes to return to his own country. Only 20 per Cent. have elected to do so. The Beirut Government is insistent in its demands that the Poles abroad be placed under its control. Conversations with this end in view are proceeding at the moment.
If General Antlers can be discredited —even in the contcnrptihly bogus fashion that Okulicki and the free Government of Poland was discredited, by treachery—the sway will be smoothed for the breaking of the last pledge. The Polish soldiery will he handed over once again to the Soviet, this time by those whose States they have defended with their lives. But there is much more to consider in the political sense. After Moscow, only our honour was at stake. Now strategy and military secrets will he involved.
the Polish Air Force, the Polish Navy and the Polish An my are an integral part of the British Armed Services. All British military secrets are at their disposal. Under interro
gation, Moscow style, there is a grave danger that these would soon be at the disposal of the Soviet Again, Poles argue. that in the present situation the Polish Ariny is still a very definite asset to the British and American occupying forces. The Polish Attity in Scotland could be drafted into Germany and Italy to take over from the other Allied forces as the pace of demobilisation accelerates.
There is also the point that must be given full consideration that a demilitarised Italy is at present at the mercy of elements which, however fiercely they may call themselves democrats, are both Fascist and Communist, interchangeable terms which mean in practice exactly the same tyrannical rule of Government. The undisputed rule of these people, linked with tee nearby and threatening Government of Tito, would place the whole of Italy and the road to Rome in danger of the Communist threat.