The Russian Period in the Diplomatic Career of Roman Knoll. Part 2
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The 2nd part of a study on Roman Knoll diplomatic mission in Russia covers the period from spring to the autumn of 1923. Supporting a rigid and unyielding policy towards the Soviet Union he maintained that only a determined stand of the Polish government could persuade the Soviet authorities to implement the clauses of the Treaty of Riga. Knoll perceived communist Russia as a constant threat to the independent Polish state. He also endorsed the conception of building the Republic as a federation, and was one of the Polish Promethean movement advocates interested in the independence of assorted nations within Russian frontiers. While in Moscow, not only did he advocate the avoidance of unnecessary tension, but he was a supporter of developing relations with Russia, especially economic ones. Knoll called for the creation of a Warsaw-based centre of knowledge about the East and for rendering Poland an expert as regards the Russian question. However, his conceptions did not meet with complete understanding among his superiors, especially M. Seyda, who supported rapprochement with the Soviet Union. Despite all those obstacles, Knoll enjoyed considerable success. His main achievement was to reinforce the authority of the Polish Legation in Russia. He won access to all the top-ranking members of the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs, maintained contact with numerous Bolshevik politicians and expanded the network of contacts with the Russian population. Finally, he was capable of coordinating the activity of Polish delegations in mixed commissions, together with the Polish Legation in Moscow, which exerted a positive impact on negotiations about the conditions for the implementation of the Treaty of Riga. Progress achieved by the special and re-evacuation commissions as well as a prolongation of the terms of repatriation of Poles from Russia comprised indubitable accomplishments. Negotiations concerning a Polish-Soviet trade pact were also conducted upon Knoll's initiative. Knoll was capable of resolving complicated issues, sometimes provoked by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A talented diplomat, well-acquainted with Russia, he was a hard and unbending negotiator who, however, was capable of adapting himself to the conditions in which he was compelled to act.
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