The Minister in Poland (Gibson) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 4—8 p.m.]
58. The American Express Company which handles a large share of the remittance business of American Poles informs me that [Page 408] the Minister of Finance has refused it permission either to open an office or conduct business temporarily through a local representative. The explanation offered is that no banking law has as yet been passed and that consequently the Russian law is still in force. This explanation appears unsatisfactory, in view of the American branch institutions, National City Banks and others formerly doing business in Russia. It is likewise incompatible with frequent Polish declarations that this country can develop its economic life only through the support of American capital and reputable banking connections. I am sorry to say this is not the first time I have encountered an obstructionist attitude on the part of the Minister of Finance toward American enterprises.
I believe that this obstruction can be overcome provided the Department views with favor the extension of such enterprises at the present juncture and will authorize me to proceed upon that understanding. In the present emergency case I would propose to say that if the various Americans now here, representatives of reputable banking houses, return home with merely a blunt refusal to permit them to do business and the consequent impression that the Polish Government does not really care for American banking connections, the effect on other interests would doubtless be discouraging and might prejudice future plans essential to the economic development of the country: that the present attitude is a form of doubtful wisdom and would seem to warrant careful consideration before any definite stand is taken.
It would also be of assistance if the Department would manifest interest in this question in conversation with the Polish Minister at Washington.