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

No. 238

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s telegraphic instruction No. 70 of August 6, 3 P.M., and previous correspondence, with regard to the negotiations between the Polish Government and the Colt Arms Manufacturing Company.

On August 12th the Prime Minister, Mr. Grabski, called on me, and I took the opportunity to take up with him the question of the Colt contract. I stated that it had come to my attention that the Colt company had been negotiating for this contract for a period of eight or nine months; that the Browning automatic rifle had been adopted as the official arm of the Polish Army by a commission of army experts which studied this rifle, and also the arms of the Vickers and Hotchkiss companies; that the Minister of War, General Sikorski, had approved this decision; but that when the contract came up for signature this was withheld due to the recommendation of a man in the office of the Premier, who first gave his views to the effect that the Hotchkiss arm was superior to the Browning rifle; that when this expression of opinion was proclaimed against by army officials, the above mentioned man recommended that the Prime Minister’s signature be withheld because the Government did not have sufficient funds to complete such a contract at this time.

I indicated that this treatment of the Colt company might have a deterring effect upon other American companies which might be contemplating doing business in Poland, since the Colt Company had worked for this contract, had apparently gotten it in fair competition, and at the last minute it was withheld due to the recommendaion of a person who, up to that time, had had nothing to do with the matter.

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I have [etc.]

Alfred J. Pearson