Paris Peace Conf. 760c.62/3: Telegram
The Minister in Switzerland ( Stovall ) to the Commission to Negotiate Peace
[Received January 1, 1919—10:30 a.m.]
64. Following from Zaleskie of Polish Mission.
“I am instructed by the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs to bring to the knowledge of your Excellency the following facts. The Polish General Staff had for some days entered into negotiations with the German military authorities of the Ober Ost (vast region des etapes of the former oriental front) and with the popular government of Berlin respecting the passage of Polish troops to Vilna. The German army proposed to evacuate Vilna on January 4th and the city was to be immediately occupied by Bolshevik troops if the Polish troops do not obtain from the German military authorities the possibility of entering Vilna. Captain Gorka, Delegate of the Polish General Staff, had already succeeded in settling the question in all its details with the German military authorities of the Ober Ost and General Hoffmann, when the Berlin government gave telegraphic orders to the Commandant of the Ober Ost to break all negotiations and categorically refused the right of passage to the Polish troops under the pretext that this would be in contradiction with the general conditions of the armistice.
It is absolutely urgent that the Entente powers and the Spa Armistice Commission impose upon the German Government the immediate realization of our demands, demands which have for sole aim the preservation of order and the security of the Polish inhabitants of Vilna. In the contrary event Vilna will undergo all the terrors of the Bolshevik regime and the Bolshevik danger will be able to penetrate from there to the whole of Poland.
At Vilna an agreement has been reached between the Poles, the Lithuanians and the Jews, all of whom await the arrival of Polish troops, to begin the common action of defense against the Bolsheviks.
It is necessary that the German troops leave to the local anti-Bolshevik Polish organizations a sufficient quantity of arms for this defensive action. In view of recent events at Berlin the Polish government supposes that the German Government desires to contribute to the development and the spread of Bolshevism in Poland and that it desires to paralyze all defensive action on the part of the Poles.
The Polish Government therefore hopes that the Allied Powers will be good enough to take the necessary measures to forestall the threatening development of Bolshevism in Lithuania and that they will conform in this to the desire of the local population which demands assistance to Poland in the interests of the public order and security.”
This information has also been sent to Secretary of State, Washington.