POLAND: Carnations

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When Polish Premier Josef Cyrankiewicz got home from Moscow last week, fellow officials were waiting at the station. They thrust a bouquet of red carnations into his hands the moment the train screeched to a stop. . .The red posies were justified. Moscow had promised Cyrankiewicz a dazzling price for Poland's abstention from the Marshall Plan: a five year, billion-dollar trade agreement—plus a $450 million credit (the largest ever granted by the Soviet Union) and immediate delivery of 200,000 tons of Soviet grain.

Close up, the deal looked even better. The Russians promised heavy machinery, including electrical equipment, chemical and automobile assembly plants, a big steel works. They were all items of which Russia herself was short.

The Warsaw radio purred: "There is a vast difference between the Marshall Plan and the brotherly help of the U.S.S.R. The U.S.S.R. gives us what we really need. . . ." Moscow had reason to be satisfied, too. Russia was getting, over the next five years, a steady flow of Poland's textiles, sugar, zinc and rolling stock.

Socialist Premier Cyrankiewicz was smugly happy himself. At the customary Kremlin banquet, more than half the members of the busy Politburo had turned up—an unusual honor. Moreover, he had had an hour's visit with Stalin, who was in a big-brotherly mood. What had they talked about? Soon after the Polish mission got back, accounts began to go around: they had chattered about the world situation and about left-wing socialism; Stalin believed that there was a place for socialists in a "people's democracy" if they stay far enough left; Stalin did not believe there would be a war and he thought the economic plans of the West would fail.