22 MARCH 1946, Page 1


THE agreement announced by Mr. Bevin in the House of Commons on Wednesday regarding the repatriation of Polish troops should, if reasonable hopes are fulfilled, remove one of the many controversial issues at present bedevilling international rela- tions. The troops in question, most of them in Italy but some in Britain, are part of the Polish national armies which have fought with great gallantry and unswerving loyalty to the Allied cause in almost every theatre of the European war. If there has of late been tension between them and the Provisional Polish Government it is not because of any change in the attitude of the soldiers, but because the Polish Government, created in Russia and under Russian in- fluence, represents views far to the Left of the Government which the troops originally acknowledged. This is a situation of which Moscow has made the most, and though Mr. Bevin very properly declared that no consideration had weighed with him except the repatriation of the Polish troops under the best conditions obtainable, it is unquestionably a satisfactory feature of the settlement that it will remove one cause of friction between Moscow and London, where the British Government has been stigmatised—since the Poles have been incorporated in the British Army—as the patrons of reaction. The pledge of the Polish Government to receive back the troops as being, what in fact they are, part of the armed forces of Poland, and entitled as such to •honourable and even generous treat- ment on their return home, will, it must be assumed, be honoured as fully as the British pledge to do everything possible for the settlement elsewhere of men who for various reasons decline to return to Poland at all. It must be hoped that the number of these will not be large, for a new problem of expatriates would be a fresh embarrassment. On paper the settlement is satisfactory. It now remains for the men as individuals to choose their destiny and for the Polish and British Governments to carry out their respective undertakings.