File No. 860c.01/79

The Secretary of State to the Representative of the Polish National Committee ( Paderewski)

Sir: I acknowledge the receipt of your letter of February 211 with reference to the selection by the National Polish Committee of Michael Kwapiszewski to act as your representative in charge of the issuance of certificates of Polish nationality to Poles born in Germany and in Austria, as well as in Russian Poland.

You request permission to open subagencies in certain of the larger centers of Polish immigration in the United States at which applications for certificates can be received and transmitted for consideration to the main agency, at which Mr. Kwapiszewski will officiate.

You call my attention to the fact that the British Government has authorized the National Polish Committee to issue certificates to Poles resident in the United Kingdom, and you submit a summary of the British declaration on this subject.

I enclose herewith a copy of a letter I received from the Attorney General, which, as you will note, refers to items 1 and 2 of the British declaration.

I am inclined to think that the proposed certificates may be accepted by this Government, in lieu of passports, in cases of Poles departing from the United States. However, the Department would prefer not to make a final decision upon this matter until it has seen the form of certificate to be used and has been informed more definitely as to the proofs of identity and national status upon which they are to be issued as all persons having the legal status of alien enemies are required to obtain the permission of the Department of Justice before they leave this country. This Department is of the opinion that the proposed certificate should set forth the date and place of birth of the holder, the place of his residence prior to his immigration to the United States, and the nationality which he was recognized as being at the time of his arrival in this country. The signed photograph of the person to whom the certificate is [Page 211]issued should be attached thereto, with an impression of the seal of the office by which the document is granted, placed partly upon the photograph and partly upon the certificate.

I am [etc.]

Robert Lansing
[Enclosure]1

The Attorney General ( Gregory) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your communication of March 8,2 enclosing copy of communication addressed to your Department by Mr. Ignace J. Paderewski, representative of the National Polish Committee of Paris, on the subject of the establishment in the United States of agencies for the purpose of issuing certificates of Polish nationality to Poles born in Germany and in Austria, as well as in Russian Poland, in which communication Mr. Paderewski states that the Polish Committee have selected Michael Kwapiszewski as their representative to take charge of the actual work of issuing the certificates; and request permission to open subagencies in certain of the larger centers of Polish immigration in the United States at which applications can be received.

You state that before replying to Mr. Paderewski you desire an expression of the views of this Department regarding these Polish agencies.

This Department has no objection to the establishment of such sub-agencies, nor to the issuing of the certificates referred to. I note however that in the letter addressed to you by Mr. Paderewski under date of February 21, he makes the following statement:

I am happy to say that the British Government has also recognized the National Polish Committee for the issue of similar certificates on the grounds that Poles resident in the United Kingdom are alien friends, and I am submitting a summary of the British acknowledgement and declaration on this subject.

1.
Poles resident in the United Kingdom whether Russian, German or Austrian subjects, are considered by the British Government from henceforth as alien friends.
2.
The British Government accepts certificates given to Poles by the National Polish Committee as officially establishing that the holder is a Pole.
3.
These certificates may be accepted in place of a national passport in case of departure for abroad, after they have been provided with the vise of the National Polish Committee and with the authorization required by the respective states.
4.
The National Polish Committee has the right to certify the signature of Poles who carry the certificates of the National Polish Committee.

[Page 212]

If it is inferred from the foregoing quotation that it is the aim of the Polish Committee to seek exemption from the statutory classification of alien enemies, for persons who are to hold these certificates of Polish nationality, I beg to inform you that the classification of alien enemies is defined by Revised Statutes section 4067 and cannot be altered without an act of Congress. I have the honor to point out to you that the fact that I have no objection to the establishment of the agencies referred to must not be interpreted as an expression of opinion by me on the advisability of excluding Poles from the classification of alien enemies.

Respectfully,

T. W. Gregory
  1. Not printed.
  2. Filed separately under File No. 860c.01/84.
  3. Not printed.