860c.516/26: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Poland ( White )


255. There are two chief things desired: that service in the payment of remittances in Poland should be prompt and efficient, and that interference with reputable American institutions in their legitimate activities be eliminated. Only in case there is no other satisfactory method of reformation at the Polish end could either a Guaranty Trust Company or American Express Company monopoly be justified. That such arrangements would bring about satisfactory reform is doubted by the Department, but even if this is conceded, it could not be admitted by the Department that they are the only effective remedies which could be used. Any American banking institution can apply the expedient of not crediting balances to Polish financial institutions prior to the receipt of notice that payment in Poland has been made.

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You are instructed therefore to give promptly a formal notification to the Polish Government that this Government considers its action looking to excluding from Poland all American financial concerns, with one or two exceptions selected arbitrarily, as being distinctly injurious and inimical to American interests. You should [Page 418] state also that the United States cannot favorably regard any arrangement for monopoly by which it would be deemed illegal by the Government of Poland or would become in effect impractical for any reputable American concerns to engage in legitimate remittance dealings. You should add that the failure of the Government of Poland to supply efficient means whereby remittances may be paid in Poland and its failure at the same time to assist the American branch banks in their efforts to supply such efficient means is regarded by the American Government as a course of unexpected unfriendliness, the spirit of which cannot but have an influence on the American Government when it deals with the Polish Government in the future. The inconsistency of the present attitude of the Polish Government with the banking act of March 23, recently adopted, is also noted by the American Government. By this act any bank which desires to establish itself in Poland and which agrees to be guided by the banking act’s rules and regulations is granted the right to carry on banking and exchange operations. The American Government cannot look passively upon the adoption by Poland a few weeks after the passage of this act of measures which are designed to compel reputable American concerns to begin to liquidate their business by June 15 and to leave Poland eventually. You are instructed to repeat strongly the views presented in the second paragraph of the Department’s telegram no. 223 of May 25, 11 a.m., with regard to the need to ameliorate the situation regarding remittances, and to state that the American Government will find it necessary to take radical action for the protection of its citizens unless the Government of Poland can give assurances.

The American Express Company’s exclusive agreement is in itself considered by the Department as objectionable, and moreover the company is placed in an unfavorable light by its action in urging the Polish Government to close other American agencies. You should present this view to the American Express representatives in Warsaw and to the Polish Government.

You will please inform the Warsaw representative of the Guaranty Trust Company as to the attitude of the Department regarding their proposed agreement. The Department has fully informed the home offices of the American Express Company and the Guaranty Trust Company and also the Polish Minister here.