760c.61/l: Telegram

The Minister in Poland (Gibson) to the Secretary of State

28. I had a long talk with the Chief of State this afternoon. For the first time since I have been here, he was pessimistic as to the ability of the Polish Army to continue the struggle against Bolsheviks. He stated that the shortage of clothing, munitions, rolling stock and supplies was so acute that operations on a large scale would entail collapse and conquest of the country by the Bolsheviks. Polish Government has a copy of the Bolshevik peace overture referred to in my number 27 to the Secretary of State with statement that it must consult its allies [sic]. Patek, Minister for Foreign Affairs, now in Paris, is expected to lay whole situation before Allied representatives and secure a definite statement as to Allied aims and intentions. Failing assurances of support to be made effective almost immediately, Polish Government is seriously considering concluding peace with Bolsheviks. I recalled to Chief of State his frequent statements to me in the past, that while he would like to have peace with the Bolsheviks he considered it folly to sign any agreement because of the repeated evidences of bad faith on [of?] the Bolsheviks, He knew in advance that even if the central authorities desired to observe their engagements they were unable to control the activities of propaganda agents and subordinates in the field. He said that while he still felt this was true there was a gambler’s chance that Bolsheviks would welcome opportunity to turn their attention elsewhere and that Poland would be left alone long enough to get on her feet; that this chance was better than the certainty of being conquered and having conditions dictated to [Page 376] her if she persisted in continuing the struggle without necessary material.

Yesterday afternoon I had a conversation with the Prime Minister who made statement very similar in character to this.

While the situation has been growing steadily worse since I came here last April the events of the past few days have made it clear to every one that Poland is in desperate situation, lacking every sort of essential material for the prosecution of the war and the needs of peace and that she is threatened with collapse. It must be admitted that a part of the blame must be placed on Polish officials who have deliberately played politics with vital questions but the result is so bad that they are undoubtedly frightened.

I am embodying a general statement of Polish-Bolshevik relations in a separate telegram.4

  1. Telegram no. 27, Jan. 17, supra.