THE CZECHOSLOVAK ÉMIGRÉ COUNCIL OF MINISTERS AND RELATIONS WITH POLAND AND THE SOVIET UNION (JANUARY-JUNE 1943)
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In the first half of 1943 the Czechoslovak Émigré Council of Ministers did not play a positive part as regards cooperation with the Polish government–in–exile.Upon the initiative of Ladislav Karel Feierabend, the minister of finances, Hubert Ripka, the minister of state in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, proposed a conception of Czechoslovak policy relating to Central Europe, outlined at special sessions held by the government on 19 January and 2 February 1943. The project demonstrated that the Polish side had no chances for any sort of a rapprochement with the Czechoslovak state, i.e. an alliance or a confederation agreement. Such an eventuality was secured by a number of conditions, the most important being the 'accord' between the Polish government and the Soviet Union. After Stalin broke off diplomatic relations with the legal Polish government–in–exile (25 April 1943) the Czechoslovak government did not change its attitude, and for all practical purposes expressed its support for the Soviet side. On 7 May 1943 the Czechoslovak Council of Ministers approved the thesis suggested by Minister Ripka, namely, that on 23 April 1943 Benes had achieved his 'greatest political success' by winning Soviet agreement for an alliance which could be signed also by the Polish side. The declaration made by Ripka, claiming that in this manner the Soviet Union had spoken in favour of maintaining the outer and domestic sovereignty not only of Czechoslovakia but also Poland, was approved by the Czechoslovak ministers who remained deaf to the warnings of Polish politicians. The attitude represented by the émigré Czechoslovak authorities enabled Stalin to drive a wedge deep between the governments of Poland and Czechoslovakia. Apparently, the Czechoslovak government remained totally oblivious to the threat of Soviet expansionism, intent at absorbing the whole of Eastern Europe and reducing Central Europe, to the status of vassals. Only the German menace carried some weight. The Czechoslovak government was incapable of understanding that a rapprochement with Poland could have seriously hampered Soviet expansion in Central Europe.
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