611.60c.31/83: Telegram

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


71. Economic committee of the Cabinet met October 19 and discussed our trade relations, but reached no decision. On October 25 the session will be continued. Have been informed that it is not so much the principles involved that cause opposition to our thesis as the application of the principles. Influential Ministers fear chiefly that if our thesis is accepted the necessary change in policy will cause increased importations, not so much from the United States as from other countries of Europe and that further detriment to the trade balance will result. Our thesis is being defended by Minister Zaleski.

I have been asked by Potocki and Lepkowski unofficially whether assistance in meeting the opposition could be rendered Zaleski. The latter is in need of assurance of our cooperation in combating for a certain period the unfavorable balance of trade. It is believed by Zaleski, although he does not commit himself, that consent can be obtained to principles allowing treaty negotiations in Washington to be resumed immediately provided his colleagues can be convinced that importations will not in consequence be materially altered. Inasmuch as other Ministers are greatly excited about the balance of trade, Zaleski desires that I vaguely assure him that the status quo [Page 933] will be accepted by us until the matter can be studied in relation to the trade of Poland with other countries and new dispositions can be made.11 If the consent of his colleagues can thus be obtained, the definite terms of a gentlemen’s agreement, whereby present conditions would be accepted by us for about 4 months and American commerce would receive the most favorable consideration compatible with existing law, will then be officially discussed with me.

Although an agreement of this kind seems to me one-sided, it should be pointed out that Poland does not desire that other countries be placed in a position to demand the rights which would be conceded to us in the treaty until Poland’s unfavorable balance of trade has been remedied. If, therefore, their suggestion is not acceded to and if an unfavorable opinion is rendered by the committee, a note to the Minister for Foreign Affairs is the next step. But in that event it is feared that excuses will be found to drag the matter along until improvement is shown in the balance of trade. In spite of the fact that further delay is involved in this proposal, no other alternative appears to offer so good a chance for progress as acquiescence therein. Please instruct me before October 25 whether the Department is willing to accept the delay and whether the vague unofficial assurance may be given before the meeting. There is already an understanding between us here that after October 25 I shall be free, as circumstances dictate, either to send a formal note or to set a definite period for the delay.

  1. The original text of this sentence is not clear but this appears to be the meaning intended.