860c.4016/14: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Sharp) to the Acting Secretary of State

6157. Departments number 6316 [6516], December 4th. This morning by appointment I met Mr. Dmowski, head of the local Polish National Committee, and during our conversation, called his attention to conditions existing in Poland as reported in Departments [Page 747] telegram. Mr. Dmowski said that while he believed reports of the massacre of Jews in Poland were very greatly exaggerated, yet conditions there were such as to render the Polish people themselves not only quite blameless for such crimes, but also to a large extent helpless to prevent them. He said that the country has been for some time on the verge of anarchy, due to returning German prisoners crossing Poland from Russia and likewise Russian prisoners returning across Poland to Russia. Accounts coming to him tell of pillaging and murdering by these uncontrolled forces. Against them, to preserve order, there are less than 20,000 Polish troops. What is needed most is an established authoritative Government in Poland.

He also assigned as one of the causes of the disturbances, the scarcity of food products and the hoarding of same for a rise in prices. Against this practice people revolt and in some instances proprietors of stores have been killed after stores have been plundered. Some of these proprietors were undoubtedly of Jewish origin, but that fact was not the cause of their attack. He cited the case of a pogrom at Lemberg, in which a desperate fight followed between Ukrainians and Poles. At one time when the Ukrainians had won the upper hand, they liberated all the prisoners confined for various crimes. These were set loose on the city and a state of terror reigned until the Poles drove out the Ukrainians. Following this 1500 who had engaged in the riots were arrested and imprisoned by the Poles and 60 were executed. Of those arrested for taking part in the massacre, it is said that 60 per cent were Lithuanian, 30 per cent Poles and 10 per cent Jews. The complaints had just come to Mr. Dmowski. Another reason assigned for the disturbances throughout Poland was that Bolshevik revolutionaries had come over from Russia to incite similar disorder in Poland. Many of these were Jews. He stated that inasmuch as the Socialists were at the head of the Polish Government as now constituted, there could be little truth in the claim that the massacre of Jews was either authorized or connived at by the Government, as the Socialists had never been anti-Semitic. Mr. Dmowski told me in conclusion, that it [there?] was a statement, based on reports, which he had received from Poland, which would show that the stories, which he ascribed to organized propaganda of the Jews in Poland and Russia, had little foundation in truth. This statement he promised me within the next few days.