Paris Peace Conf. 860c.00/5

The President of the Polish National Committee ( Dmowski ) to the Secretary of State

Sir: I have the honour of enclosing the text of the resolutions which the Local Parliament of German Poland, in a meeting held at Posen on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of December, decided to communicate, through the channel of the Polish National Committee, to [Page 417]the Entente Powers and to the Government of the United States. I likewise enclose the text of the telegram sent by the Local Parliament to President Wilson.

As a matter of information I trust I may be permitted to add that this Parliament, elected by general suffrage, without distinction of sex and upon the widest democratic basis, can be entirely relied upon as faithfully reflecting the national opinion of the Poles residing within the boundaries of the former German Empire.

I have [etc.]

Roman Dmowski
[Enclosure 1]

Telegram From the Poles of the Former German Empire, Sent to President Wilson, December 16, 1918, Through the Channel of the Polish National Committee

The Poles residing within the boundaries of the former German Empire request you to tender the expression of their deepest hommage to the illustrious President of the United States upon the occasion of his arrival on the Continent and particularly in the capital of France. The Poles firmly believe that he who during the recent war was the first to hoist the banner of justice in favour of Poland, will use his influence to complete the work of justice in spite of all intrigue. Such justice can only be achieved if the whole of Poland is united and independent and has her own sea coast.

[Enclosure 2]

Resolutions of the Local Parliament of Posen, Forwarded December 4, 1918, Through the Channel of the Polish National Committee to the Government of the United States and to the Entente Powers

I

The representatives of four million Poles from Posnania, Silesia, Western Prussia, Pomerania, Ermonia, Prussian Mazovia and of the Polish emigrants settled in Germany, elected by general suffrage without distinction of sex, held a meeting at Posen as Local Parliament on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of December in order to express in the name of the Poles from Germany, the will of the Nation tending towards the reconstruction of a free, independent and united Poland.

The Allied Powers have not only shown their friendship for Poland during the present war, but have placed the reconstitution of a free and united Poland among their war aims, seeing in this program one of the essential guarantees of victory over Prussian militarism and for the establishment of just and lasting peace.

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At the present moment, when the settling of this terrible war is drawing near and the Allied Powers have reached their aims, we ask that the crimes by which Poland was torn to pieces more than a century ago, be made good through the return to her of the territories which were hers before the division, including the Polish sea coast. We likewise wish, in accordance with the ideas expressed by President Wilson, and the decisions reached at Versailles, that the provinces of the former kingdom of Prussia, inhabited for centuries by a Polish population, may become part of the Polish State.

The Polish nation, during its long slavery, made several efforts to free itself by force from the foreign yoke. Rising against its oppressors it had to yield to their number but never ceased through its representatives to protest against the wrong inflicted upon Poland.

The Prussian Government, taking unfair advantage of its strength and mighty resources, tried by all means to destroy the Polish population. It germanised it through its schools and flooded our provinces with exclusively German officials. It expropriated the Polish landowners and put German emigrants in their place. It prevented the Poles from building houses on their own land, trying in this way to give the Polish provinces a German appearance in order to acquire a right of property over them.

If, under these circumstances, Poland’s right to claim all regions inhabited for many centuries by a Polish population should not be recognized, it would not only mean sanctioning the deed done by the divisions of Poland, but would at the same time ratify the policy of violence and injustice of which the Polish population was a victim and which was aimed at its complete destruction.

As long as injustice and violence are not made good the Poles will not be able to forget the crimes committed against them.

II

The German nation, long ago persuaded by its government as to its superiority over other nations, does not even to-day see the necessity for atoning for this secular injustice and endeavours by all means to check the efforts of the Polish nation towards reconquering its rights.

In order to set the public opinion of the world, until now favourable to the Poles, against them, the Germans started a violent anti-Polish campaign in their own and in the foreign press, claiming that the Poles are anticipating upon the decisions of the Peace Congress by forcibly occupying towns and territories and incorporating them into the new Polish State.

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Although the German authorities have ascertained the emptiness of these claims, they no less send troops to our provinces under the pretence of guarding the frontier and thus produce an exceptional state of war meant to hinder the organization of the Polish population.

We protest against these interferences with the free evolution of our national movement. Unable and unwilling to answer violence by violence we beg the Allied Powers to afford us prompt help by sending their representatives on the spot. They will ascertain the state of things.

III

The Polish nation, as has been proved by History, has distinguished itself by its spirit of toleration and fairness towards other nationalities and creeds. It will avail itself of the same principles of toleration in the Polish State now coming to life and will allow minorities the benefit of equal rights.

For this reason we most energetically protest against the anti-Polish campaign in the German press which spreads false reports about an anti-Jewish movement in Poland. This press, hostile to Poland, denies her rights over the Polish provinces under German yoke and endeavours to throw discredit upon the Poles before the world’s opinion, thus weakening the sympathies which the cause of Poland enjoys among the Allies and hindering our efforts towards the unification of the Polish territories.

If Poland, having to proceed to her organisation under the hardest circumstances and while invaded by numerous deserters and Russian prisoners of war, has unfortunately been unable to prevent disorders breaking out in some localities, these were by no means directed exclusively against the Jews and it is only through an entire lack of good faith that these doubtlessly painful incidents could be made out as resulting from a regime of terror practised by the Polish nation against the Jews.

We raise an earnest call for a delegation to be sent which might impartially ascertain the real state of things as well as for the removal to Poland of the Polish army now in France. This army would help the country to maintain order during the period of organization.

IV

During the period of transition and as long as the Polish Government, regularly constituted and representing the entire Nation, has not appointed its representatives to the Allied Powers and to the Peace Congress, we entrust the Polish National Committee in Paris with the defense of our cause.