860c.01/195: Telegram

The Chargé in France ( Bliss ) to the Secretary of State

6655. Your 6704, December 21st, 3 p.m. Members of the Polish National Committee at Paris have been selected and from time to time elected by the Polish societies outside of Poland. They do not claim to be representatives of their country by due process of law but do claim to represent and until two months ago they unquestionably did represent the majority of opinion of the Polish people in its nationalistic aspects. Both Dmowski, President of the Committee, and Professor Grabski are prominent and have numerous followers in Poland but also many active political enemies.

When the armistice was signed and the German troops withdrew from Warsaw and Russian Poland the Council of the Regency which had been imposed by the Germans formed a ministry very acceptable to Polish National Committee in Paris but which only survived a few days and was superseded by the Government of General Pilsudski, an Austrian Pole recently liberated by Germany, with large political following, who in 1913 had formed a Polish Legion to fight with the Austrians against Russia, thus opposing policy of National Committee favorable to Russia, but who, on discovering he had been deceived by Germany finally refused obedience and was interned by Germans.

This change of Government being a great shock to Paris Committee, they were momentarily uncertain as to what course to pursue, but on December 10th Professor Grabski left for Warsaw in hopes of bringing about some sort of modus vivendi with Pilsudski, stating that he would propose to latter the formation of a National Council composed of 30 members representing proportionally all the various parties and political groups in Poland with exception of Bolshevists and pro-Germans but up to the present he has not been successful in his mission. His latest move, I am told is an appeal to the people through the press to support this proposal.

On the 4th instant a delegation from General Pilsudski arrived at Paris whose visit to France was suggested by the French Government according to a declaration recently made by Monsieur Pichon [Page 427] in the Chamber of Deputies. Dmowski informed me yesterday that this delegation is here with the intention of obtaining recognition from the Allied Governments of existing Polish Government. Dmowski stated that the first conference between the Polish committee and these delegates is to take place today, that he understands they are to offer him the position of Polish representative at the Peace Conference in exchange for which the Committee is to recognize the Government of Pilsudski until after the elections which are to be held in Poland on January 26th. This proposition Dmowski states is unacceptable to the Committee as it enable[s] Pilsudski to control completely the elections. The Committee is however disposed, he says, [to] recognize Pilsudski in any official office even that of President if necessary provided he will appoint a coalition government and that he is disposed to accept this proposal but his party, the Socialists, is obdurate.

Dmowski further states that on account of Poland’s geographical situation between the Russian Bolsheviks and German revolutionists, it would be inviting disaster for a government to be formed in Poland which did not include participation of the Socialists, but that the Polish Committee at the meeting would not consent to the control by the Socialists alone of the coming elections, and that the Committee is therefore endeavoring through the efforts of Grabski and Paderewski to obtain the consent of the various parties to hold the elections under the ruling of those various parties acting in concert.