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

No. 1116

Sir: The receipt is hereby acknowledged of your despatch No. 846 of June 25, with which you transmitted copy of a note from the Polish Foreign Office dated June 24, on the subject of the participation of American banks in the syndicate of banks effecting payments in Poland of drafts and remittances from the United States. It is noted that in this Note Verbale the informal assurances given by the Polish Government that American banks might join the paying syndicate are not confirmed, but that it is indicated that when the matter arises it will be given consideration in the spirit of reciprocity.

You are instructed to address a note to the Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs expressing the surprise and disappointment of the American Government at this attitude. You will point out that this Government has not opposed the attempts of the Polish Government to formulate some arrangement for the remittance of funds from this country to Poland which would be satisfactory alike to the Polish Government and the American banks and which would protect the remitting public.

In an attempt to meet the difficulties arising from the large number of remittances from the United States to Poland, the Polish Government negotiated and signed a contract with the Guaranty Trust Company. Considerable opposition has been expressed to this agreement on the ground that it constituted a monopoly, and various requests were made that the State Department should cause its cancellation. The Department adopted the attitude that the question of the legality of the contract in the United States under Federal or State laws was a question for the decision by the courts, but that it would be directly concerned with respect to its operation in Poland should it develop that American interests in that country were suffering from discrimination or injustice.

The Department further relies on the assurances given on March 31 to the American Trade Commissioner by the Polish Minister of Finance (See Legation’s telegram No. 86, April 23, 5 p.m.) that American banks would be subjected to the same regulations as Polish banks according to the law of March 23, 1920, and the informal assurance given to the American Minister early in May by both [Page 699] the Ministry of Finance and the syndicate, (See Legation’s No. 103, March [May] 7, 11 a.m.) that American banks were free to join the syndicate under the same conditions as Polish banks.

In its telegram No. 42 of February 25, 9 [8] p.m., the Department clearly indicated that, should monopolistic or other objectionable features develop, this Government reserved full liberty of action. It accordingly appears only just to inform the Polish Government in all seriousness that if American banks are excluded from the paying syndicate, the Department will carefully consider whether this does not constitute a development which would call for renewed consideration of its attitude toward the contract by this Government.

You are further instructed to bring this matter to the attention of the representative in Poland of the Guaranty Trust Company, and clearly indicate to him that persistence in the present apparent attitude of the Polish Government might necessitate a protest on the part of this Government against the contract referred to. You will keep the Department fully informed as to future phases of this subject.

I am [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes