DIPLOMATIC DIFFICULTIES AND PEACE-FEELERS
By Our Diplomatic Correspondent
Behind the war there is emerging a picture of diplomatic difficulties, as well as a picture of What are called " peace-feelers." The.diplomatic difficulties are mainly concerned with Soviet Russia and the countries that may come under " the sphere of influence " of a triumphant Great POWCf.
There is some " tension " at present between—Poland and Russia which Great Britain and America are endeavouring to ease for the common interests of the United Nations.
REPATRIATION AGREEMENT ENDED Observers in London began to trace the new trend sevefal months ago when General Sikorski went to Washington for important talks with President Roosevelt After that, with Moscow's approval, the federalising agreement between Poland and Czechoslovakia was brought to an end at President Benes's request.
And a matter of days ago Bogomoloff, Soviet Ambassador to the exiled Governments its London, called on the Polish Government with a suave but very definite mission. He handed in a Note explaining that last year's repatriation treaty between Russia and Poland could now be considered over. (According to the agreement a millionand-a-half Polish civilians were to be permitted to leave Soviet territory for Persia and Palestine, where a sew army
is being organised. Until the annulment of the treaty only 200,000 men and women had left Russia, and the Polish Government had given up the job of inquiring aftCr the fate of her 8,000 officers "somewhere in Siberia.")
SOVIET PRESS CAMPAIGN Bogolomoff's Note stated that the Soviet stand had been dictated by the attitude adopted by the Poles themselves. They had been unable, apparently, to entertain the Soviet claim on the lands of Eastern Poland. including strategic towns like Wilno, Lwow, and Bialistock
This was followed last Thursday by a campaign in the Soviet press. Pravda carried a long article by an Alexander Komeichuk attacking the Polish publications printed in London. Singled out for special mention were officials like Stanislaus Grabski, chairman of the Polish National Council
here, and Edmund Dombski. Both were found guilty of defending the Polish character of their motherland.
At last week's secret Cabinet Council, General Sikorski intimated that he intended to uphold Poland's rights almost at the same time as Polish Ambassador Romer reached Kuibishev on one of the most difficult tasks of his career as a diplomat.
Further evidence comes from Washington, where it is reported that Sikorski has protested against alleged Russian dropping of parachutists in Central and Eastern Poland for the purpose of organising Communist cells. The General is also said to have protested at Soviet radio urging that the Poles should rise against the Germans. To act on this would drown Poland in a sea of blood, says Sikorski.
BISHOP GAWLINA'S MISSION Another significant piece of news concerning Polish—Soviet relations comes from the Polish Sword of the Spirit.
The latter states that the BishopChaplain of the Polish Army, Mgr. Gawlina, arrived recently in the United States. His mission is to inform the American public about the situation of the Polish population deported from Poland to Soviet
Russia. 150 priests transpoeted to the arctic Solovictzki islands have not yet been released and the fate of 72 Polish chaplains deported to Russia during the occupation of Poland by Soviet troops remains unknown. The situation of the Poles deported to Russia is very serious, for the Soviet authorities have been lately suppressing the Polish relief organisations, while the parcels and gifts from America are not allowed to be distributed to the starving Polish popula
tion. • YUGOSLAVIA The difficulties in regard to Yugoslavia were explained in last week's CATHOLIC HERALD and further cornments about the situation appear on this week's back page.
Recent news illustrating the situation includes the following items: A War Office cornmunitaut of a few days ago frankly acclaiming General Mihailovitch was followed unhappily
by Ambassador Bogonnoloff delivering a sharp note of protest to the Yugoslav Government, in which General Mihail°. vitch is denounced • as a quisling in collusion with General Neditch, Serb leader, who is actively working with the Germans in Belgrade. No doubt the Wat Office would have withheld its communiqué had there been any way of foreseeing the Russian demarche.
THE FIGHTING FRENCH
How sensitive the Soviet is on this matter is to be gathered from the displeasure incurred by the Fighting French, who are normally on very friendly terms with the Soviet. Recently the Yugoslav Government (with the best will in the world) handed de Gaulle military medals to be distributed among his soldiers. With becorning courtesy, the Fighting French chief replied with several " Croix de Guerre " for Yugoslavia's most distinguished warriors, and naturally enough General Mihailovitch was granted one.
Of the rumoured peace-feelers, the only important one concerns Finland.
But however anxious the Finns may be for peace, and however well-disposed Russia and the Allies might be, it is extremely doubtful whether " a suitable opportunity " will ever occur if Germany has the power to prevent it. But little hope also is left in Finnish hearts that Washington or London will help in arranging negotiations with Russia. Some believe, however, that the Vatican might lend a more polite ear to the suggestion.
On Tuesday M. Gripkenberg, the Finnish Envoy at the Vatican, proceeded to Helsinki, according to Stockholm reports.
The case of Italy, chief Axis partner, is of equal interest. It is known that Archbishop Spellman, who, according to some, has been given powers as the President's personal envoy, had a long conversation with the Pope on Saturday. But there would appear to be insufficient evidence for the view that his admission into Italy, following his visit to Spain. argues any connection between the Archbishop's mission and Italian peace-hopes.