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ais DOCUMENT I Printed for the Committes of Imperial Defence. July 1989. SECRET. Gopy No. 70) DE. (P) 86. Te ts requested that special oara may he taken to ensure the sacrecy of this doenmen COMMITTEE OF IMPERIAL DEFENCE. ANGLO-POLISH STAFF CONVERSATIONS, Memorandum by the Minister for Co-ordination of Defence. THE attached report on Anglo-Polish Staff Conversations (Enclosure TM) and 8 commentary thereon by the Deputy Chiofs of Staff Sub-Committee (Enclosure 1), is eroulated for consideration of the Committee of Imperial Defence, - The Annexes to the report have not been reproduced, as they contain details which are unnecessary to a consideration of the principles involved, 2. ‘Tho salient points in the Delegation's Report are dealt with in the com- mentary, and these are mainly of an informative ‘er. It will be noted that the Depaty Chiefs of Staff form the opinion that the Poles tend to underrate the Gorman strength, and overrato their own (paragraphs 9 and 14), 3. With regard to air operations, the Deputy Chiefs of Staff show the importance of ensuring thot on agreed policy i concerted with the Poles as to air objectives (paragraph 17). Tt would, for example, be disastrous if the Poles attacked Berlin before Germany had chown her hand, 4. In paragraph 19, the Deputy Chiefs of Ste‘ recommend that discussions should be initiated withthe Polish Staffs, with regard to operating a certain number of our bombers from Polish acrodromes and, if the converations are satisfactory, that the Air Ministry should be authorised to despatch stocks of bombs and maintenance stores to Poland. 5, The question of further Staff contacts and the possibility of including the Bronch, referfd to in paragraph 29 of che commentary, i being taken up with the Poles by General Ironside during his vieit to Warsaw. (Initialted) G Richmond Terrace, 8.W.1, July 17, 1939. [10867] [DCOs 197] ENCLOSURE No. 1. REPORT BY THE UNITED KINGDOM DELEGATION. Commentary by the Deputy Chiefs of Staff Sub-Committee WE have examined the report of the British Delegation te Poland on their recent conversations with the Polish Stall and have the following comments to mak Political (paragraphs 4-8 of tha Report) 2. ‘The Polish views on the probable alignment of the Powers differ from our ‘own oply in respect of Hungary, whom they eredit with the intention of resisting say exploitation hy Garmene. Ta eur sow ho atiande of Hungry ie kay 9 be dictated by the facts of the military situation rather than by the sentiments of tho Hungrian people or their rulos, The only hopo of gotiing Hungnry to resist is that she should he assured beforehand of a united Balkan for hehind her. ‘This seems impossible unless Bulgaria can be induced to line up with Turkey and Roumania, 8, At the timo of the conversations the Polish attitude to Russia appeared to be growing less intransigent than formerly, but we might perhaps impress ‘upon the Poles again, when the opportunity occurs, that Hussia is likely to be the only source from which they will be able to augment their own military resources in the event of war against Germany, 4, The provisional assurance of our support in the event of an attack on {Lithuania which has boon given by the Head of the Delegation (paragraph 8 of the report) is, of course, not sabisfactory, and this point las been referred fo the Foreign Office. Strategical. 5. The Poles are convinced that the Germans will, at the beginning of the ‘war, concentrate ageinst Poland, remaining on the defensive elsewhere. They have consequently based all their plans on this conception, which is to them the * worst ease,” and appear to have considered no alternative Although we agree that this is the most probable Germen course of action we suzgest the Poles ought a lie asked to consider the possibility that the weight of German attack in the Enst might be direoted on Roumania inatoad of Poland. We feel that there are erontomic reasons which might force the Germans to adeps this course of action, 6. As regarde thie, tho Polos have not co-ordinated with the Roumanians the defence of their two countries against German attack, since the Polish«Roumanian alliance operates in practiee only in the contingency of a Russian attack. ‘The Poles give as their reasons for this omission — (@) That Hungary wonld not dare attack Roamenia nor allow German troops to pass throagh to do sx. (Paragraph 4 of the Report.) (0) That any German attacl on Roumania would bo open to a Polish counter~ attack from the north-west flank, and that Germany would not. there- fore attack Roumania before she hed dealt with Poland. (Paragraph 0 of the Report.) * Bacleaure No. I (19657) » a4 oa %. Weare unable to accept these arguments ae valid. A German attack on Roumania through Hungary seems quite a probability and {t woald be protected ‘ou the northorn fini: by tho Carpathians, Consequently, any Polish counter-attack Would mect with considerable difficiliies "We secomimend that the importance of defence collaboration against Germany shonld be urged upen both the Poles and the Rowuanians, Such collaboration is essential if a solid front is to be formed ii the Past agains German aggression Comparison of Forces. (Paragraphs 11-14 and Ammexes { and IL.) 8. The Polish conversations have nol added materially (o our knowledge of the military stronaths cf probablo bolligerente Jn goieval their petite of the strength 62 the German Army agrees with ours, extept as regards reserve divisions. The Poles estimate that the Germans Can mobilise 25-80 Resorve Divisions whereas our estimate gives the same gure without taking into acconnt Czech equipment The Polish estimate of the German finst-line air strength is slightly iower thon cure, 9. ‘The Polisi, view of their ability to resist Germany depends to a large extent upon their assessment of the fighting value of the Uerman land forces which thay place much lower than wo do, and which is cot out at some length in paragraph 25 of the Report. The War Office do not agree that the siandard of treining in the Gorman forces ia low and they concider that the efficionoy Of the mechanised unite has been greatly improved since the thine when Austria ‘was occupied. in general, therefore, we are of the opinion that the Poles tend to undar- rate the German strength and over-rate their own. Corse of Operations. (Paragraphs 11-27 and Annex ITT) Naval. 40. Annex IIT deals with the naval aspect of opetations and we are in general agreement with the views expressed. We do not, however. agreo that German navel attack on the coast is likely, (Paragraph 14) Geronany will more probably rely on land operations to make Polish naval bases useless It will bo seen (paragraph 8 (i), Annex IIT) that the Polish naval plan is based upon the assumption thai, Hel will be available as a naval base We think thie is a very optimistic assumption if only on account of the heavy sonle of ix attack which the Gerinans could bring to bear at shor ranges From paragraphs 20 anid 21 of the Report ib is clear that the General Stall do not expect to be able to cover Hel for long, and muently unless Russia isan ally, the Polish naval forces will soouor ot ater be faced with the alternative ‘of internment cr running for the North Ses. 11. The Poles anticipate that Germany will transport, certain trcops through the Baltic from the neighbourhood of Hamburg to Fast Prussia, and thoy attach considerable importance to making plans for attacking any militasy ‘transporss, As the Polish Plan is co give tp the eorider, this is most unlikely. The Poles have been inforn Naval action in the Baltic would be : aot bo undortaken at the boginnin a '. Any submayines that could be made available for this duty wonld have to be taken from other duties and their activitios would cease soon after she Polish hases had boon destroyed, ‘The yresetice o? British sabmariues might havea value in making Germany cincentrats in the Baltic greater antisubmarine forces than would be expected against Polish submarines alone, ‘The operation of submarines through the Sond or Belts after an ontbreak of war may be extremely difficult and of doubtfal yelue, oving to the ‘mall effect that these submarines ae likely to produce. 12, We note that the Poles hayo asked for monitors to assist in the defence of Hel, We do not recnnmend the employment, of monitors for this purpose and 4n any case, none are available, 3 Land Operations, German Offensine im the last. 18. -We have alzoady remarked that a German ollensive directed against Rownania does oot appes* to have been considered. As regards the offensive against Poland, the Polish estimate of tho German distribution of éyoops (in paragraph 15) allots some 10-divisions less to the defensive force in the West than cur estimate, and correspondingly inoreasos the strilsing forces in the Hast. 14._In paragraph 17 of the report, the possibility is mentioned that a Corps may be transported from Hamburg by sen 10 Bast Prussia, to co-operate with a major advance Irom Pomerania, As we said in paragraph 14 above, we consider hie ualikely. Pxcopt for this we have no eommnt on paragraphs 17-27 of the Report, and, we endorse the view of our Delegation thas the Poles are probably too optimistic regarding their ability to resist the German advan. Main German Offensive in the West. (Paragraphs 52-54.) 15, Tt is clear rom the report that the Poles have not properly examined tho P what they could de in these circumstances. Tt is interesting to note ‘lao that they estimate that the Germans would allot 40 divisions for a defensive in the Hast, but thas for a defensive in the West only 25 to 28 would be needed (paragraphs 15 and 53). ‘This is another instance of under-estimation of the German and over-estimation of thoir own forces, Air Operations . 16. These are dealt with mainly in Annex VII, where various conrses of action for the Polish. German, Prench and British air forces are discussed. In paragraph 27, however, the view is expressed that. even intensive air acti our part is unlikely “ fo do more than attract a few machines from the East.” We consider that the degree of diversion which will be forced upon the German aa fovoss will dapend 10 a lange oxtaut upon che objectives we decide vo attack, ut we agree thal al Teast in the early stages we cannot rely on being, able v0 roliove the pressure on Poland to any material extent. ‘This is a matter which has been dealt with fully in another paper (Paper No. C.O.8. 939 (e50 C.1.D. Paper No. DP. @.) 85)). 17. It should be noted that the Poles intend to employ their bombers in close support of their land forces irrespective of whether the main German offensive is directed against them or against the Western front (paragraph 64) We should, however, impress upon the Poles our view as to the importance of tack on more distant objectives, particulary on the large ofl fuel retarves at Stettin or the naval base at Konigsberg, which wonlci have considerable value as a diversion, The former, in particular, is a-most important objective, Polish action against Stettin would supplement our own air action against other oil dbiectives further west, and the success of the plan for attack on oil 2s a’whole wosld have an immediote and. sabotantial effect on Gormany's capacity. to continue a war, ‘The Poles should therefore be urged to attack Stebhin as soon a conditions permit. We should, however, émpres greed policy on the iruastion of the air objectives to be attacked, on i that whieh has beon agreed with ihe French eee ee o Hiaes of 18. The Poles at present rely almost entirely upon A.A. gous and fighters ior protection against. German air attack, and have apparently not taken saficient steps towards adopting eamoullage 0» providing shelters." Tho woight and intensity of air attack to which Germany could subject them is zather more than 10 times as great a2 the honviest experiénced in Spain, and we should wara them that in oar opinion adequate passive defence measures form an essential ‘part of any modern system of air defence. Allied Assistance 1. This is a matter to which we have given full consideration in another paper (Paper No. COS. 989, also C.1.D, Paper No, D.P, (P.) 65). ‘The Poles will presumably be informed in due course of our decisions. With reference to certain [9657] Be 15 4 poinis specifically raised in this paper—paragraphs 49 () and (@—the Air Staff re examining the possibility of operating.a limited number of Bombers from ‘Polish aerodrome which it may be possible to make use of as advanced opelational bases provided that centain esiontial maintenance requirements and stocks of bombs tan be establishod there in peace. Should the examination prove that these (proposils are practicable, ve recommend that discussions should be initiated with the Polish Stafi on this subject, and that the Air Minietry should bo authorised to despateli to Poland—together with the material which we are supplying to the Poles for their own tixe—such stocks of bombs and maintenance stores as could bbo spared from this country. z At she aine tim it shonld be pointed out that the abject of operating from Polish eerodromes would be io allow our own aircraft to reach the more distant, ‘objectives in Eastern Germany and to cause the dispersion of German air defences Reserves und War Potential. 20, ‘The Report draws attention (paragraphs 36-61, and Annex VIE, para- graphs 19-11) to the difficulties with which the Poles will be feced in mainiasning thoir war effort, ‘They are apparently now les unwilling 19 accept Russian assistance in the supply of war material, but there are no doubt. still many “ilionlties to bo overeima | We shawls hewoere: Gaprenn uno tli Palos Phat the only hope of getting appreciable sup) ial is to get them from Russia, 2s is poliited out in paragraph 45 of the Report. 21. With regard to British assistance in the supply of war material we understand that the Allied Demands Sub-Committee has made 2 full investigation into the Polish requirements and action is im hand to satisfy them in 90 far asi 6 poceible. Further Staff Contacts. 22. The Poles were anxious that further discussions between British and Polish Staff Oficars chould take place. Wo endovso this suggestion and, in view ‘of the Polish desire that they should be conducied on a high level, suggest thai the Chiafs of Stall might themselves receive a Polish dolegation in London, In this connection we draw attention to paragraphs 49 and 50 of the Report, which show that the Poles hore that the Ailies will be able to tako aome form of action early ‘on which will have a real effeot in reducing German pressure in the East. The Problem has been dealt with in otber Papers (C.1.D. Papers Nos. D.P. (P_) 58 Tt is most: important that it should be resolved es far as it can be in advance of the event, and at an early date Tt seoms essontial also to include French representation in any further conversations with the Poles. (Signed) R. F. ADAM R. E, C. PEIRSE, i 7 8. V. PHILLIPS. Richmond Terrace, S.W.1, uly V4, 1939.