During WWII, he served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Polish government in exile.
Speaking in the House of Lords about Poland, Lord Halifax declared:
"The President of the Republic of Poland has resigned. According to the Constitution, his duties have been taken up by the former Speaker of the Polish Senate. The Polish government has established its seat on French soil; His Majesty's Government will recognize this Government and there is no doubt that it will continue to maintain the intact spirit of Polish independence and Polish resistance."
I approached Lord Halifax explaining our project of having England make use of over 700 trained Polish air soldiers (pilots, observers, engineers, technicians, etc.) who were forced to leave Poland and whom we would like to post in England. I said that as far as and technicians are concerned, our military attaché hopes to place them in factories here without much difficulty.
However, making use of the air force could turn out to be difficult. In France, our pilots would risk being dispersed in various French squadrons (for technical reasons). However, in England, we would like to create separate Polish combat units. At the same time, I handed Lord Halifax copies of two letters addressed by General Neugebauer to the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General Ironside, and to the Marshal of Aviation, Sir Cyril Newall.
Lord Halifax was interested in the matter. On this occasion, he mentioned that Mr. Benes visited him yesterday to propose setting up Czechoslovak troops in London, and this project was very well received, said Lord Halifax.
This afternoon I gave Halifax a note calling for an air intervention to relieve us. I put a lot of emphasis on the barbaric nature of recent bombings. In response, Halifax continued to maintain his former position. As a justification, this time he quoted only the opinion of military experts, according to whom the strength of the German air force is so great that the offensive action of the English air force in the West would not lead to the desired relief of Poland. For purely strategic/military reasons experts are opposed to the intervention we demand. With material matters, the English are showing good will.
Since yesterday evening, the embassy has delivered 4 ciphered telegrams of the English Embassy in Poland to the Foreign Office.
During the conversation Lord Halifax asked a few questions that showed his concern about the further development of the situation.
1) What is the likelihood of further resistance on our part after the Germans take Warsaw and what impact would this have; through what roads can war convoys reach Poland?
2) Are there possibilities of receiving supplies from Russia, and if so, on what scale?
3) Do we have reasons to believe that the Russian mobilisation is directed against us, are there concerns on our end about the Russian position? See more
4) Does the Ambassador imagine that Germany could propose peace to Poland, and potentially - at what moment could they do it? How would this kind of offer be received by us?
In connection with the last question, the Ambassador replied that he did not believe it possible - if peace was proposed - that Poland would accept; for there would be no social class or political faction that could undertake negotiations or sign the imposed conditions. The whole nation is too united in patriotism for it to be possible.
According to General Ironside's response to General Norwid, the English and French air force is active in military, rail and transport operations. The decision regarding the operation of distant bombing by air is to be further deliberated in tomorrow’s war council.
General I. promises every conceivable help from England.
I visited HalifaxSecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, passed on the Minister’s message and, with the greatest possible emphasis, pointed out the need for immediate military action in the west. I also mentioned the request of our air force that arrived at the headquarters through a military attaché: it's a request for an air campaign against Germany to relieve us.
Halifax accepted my appeal and said that my letter to Churchill regarding this very matter had been read at the cabinet meeting today. He avoided giving a concrete answer. He only told me solemnly that England now had one goal: to defeat Germany in Gdańsk. H. understands our concerns and feels them as his own, however, the local government, which stands by Poland and will stand by us till the end, can not disperse the forces that are needed for a decisive strike.
As for France, the generals Ironside and Gort, who were there yesterday, are positive and satisfied with both the army's morale and the French government's decision to use it. Halifax expects that after yesterday's torpedoing of a merchant ship by the Germans, there will be fatal attacks on both the European and American coasts. The English have announced that our military mission will be arriving in London tonight.
Today at 2:30 am I was called upon by lord Halifax to show me the contents of the English reply to Hitler. He asked me not to telegraph the content as he is communicating it to the minister via Kennard, along with a special message (that he also read to me). As I feared, in the reply you can feel the influence of "soothers" handling the matter. See more
Halifax asked about my impression. I avoided answering pointing out that it will be given in Warsaw. I limited myself to observing that the phrase "base interests" seems very elastic to me.
Lord Halifax hit me with a state of certain “vacillation” or at least inner doubts. He told me that information from various sources indicates alarming Soviet ideas and in such state of affairs the situation must be considered seriously altered for the worse. See more
Prime Minister Daladier persuaded Lord Halifax to support the repeated French position regarding the march of Russian troops through our territory. Lord Halifax admits however that he agreed to support this intervention without conviction... At this point, I said that surely Lord H.'s doubts are fully justified and the pursuit of illusion can bring only bitter disappointments. It seems obvious that Soviet demand of moving an army through certain regions, probably previously agreed with the Germans would require the consent of both parties, especially the owner itself, in light of Russia’s meddling in Polish matters (through Western powers).
Lord Halifax listened very attentively to my arguments. Here and there he made remarks but in general, he seemed to share the view I had expressed. This didn’t stop him from putting a lot of emphasis on us reaching an agreement with the Germans in another part of the conversation (which I summarise in a rather haphazard manner due to lack of time).
However I am convinced the agreement between the Soviets and the Germans cannot be a foundation for either an honest or a permanent friendship. It is a result of Soviet fear mixed with a desire for gain. If the Western powers stand up bravely and go to war together with us if necessary, then the Soviets (who will gain politically anyway) will not “disgrace themselves with the Germans”.
From an unofficial source, but quite serious, I receive the following information on the German-Soviet nonaggression pact:
I. agreement reached with the active participation of Italian diplomacy;
II. with reference to the basic agreement, there is a mutual obligation not to intervene with the internal affairs of the other contractor; in particular, Germany will not interfere with the Ukrainian issue;
III. Latvia, Estonia and Finland are entering the sphere of Soviet interests;
IV. Germany leaves Bulgaria to the Turkish influence (will not encourage its revisionist tendency?).
In the next two weeks, a permanent alliance between England and Poland is to be signed. On the English side, this treaty is to be signed by min. Lord HalifaxSecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, on the Polish side by Ambassador RaczyńskiPolish ambassador to the United Kingdom. The treaty will replace the current mutual guarantees and will include a commitment to mutual assistance in the event of a direct and indirect threat to the independence of both powers.
By the time I got myself acquainted with your project, I was struck. How different it is from both the project I put forward as well as the conclusions reached on the 6th of April during the visit of Mr. Beck in London. The reasons for some of these changes are not clear to us but your legal counsel will undoubtedly be able to give the necessary explanations. The only point I'd like to put forward right now is that the confidential protocol suggested by the Polish government does not include Romania that we spoke so much about during the visit of Mr. Beck. Instead, it includes the Baltic States which we had mentioned only rather briefly at that opportunity.
In reply to our proposal to immediately start negotiating a political treaty I have received a letter from Lord Halifax yesterday night. In this letter he proposes to start the talks tomorrow, Wednesday: "If the Polish legal counsel would be on site by that date" or as soon as possible after that date.
I must give H. a prompt answer as to the date and possible procedures.