740.0011 Mutual Guarantee (Eastern Locarno)/75

The Ambassador in Poland ( Cudahy ) to the Secretary of State

No. 533

Sir: I have the honor to report that today I called upon Minister for Foreign Affairs Colonel Józef Beck, and discussed with him the attitude of the Polish Government toward the revised Eastern European Pact for Mutual Assistance (so-called Eastern Locarno).

The Minister said that the French Ambassador in Warsaw had recently submitted a long memorandum bearing upon the proposed [Page 522] pact which he characterized as very voluminous, prolix, and “juridical”. He said that he was very busy these days and could not possibly read this memorandum which was being digested by experts in the Foreign Office but he could tell me that its main import was a concession to the Polish point of view in some details, the principle of the pact as advanced by France remaining the same.

Asked what was meant by concession in some details, he said that this concession concerned Poland’s original objections which were based on the difficulty of becoming a party to an agreement with Lithuania when Poland had no diplomatic representation in that country and the obligation the proposed agreement imposed upon Poland toward Czechoslovakia. The French note recognized the validity of these objections and the amended proposal omitted any obligation on the part of Poland toward Lithuania or Czechoslovakia.

The Minister stated that Marshal Pilsudski was not inclined to favor the proposed agreement because he thought it would mean another pact in a pact-encumbered Europe and looked more to the security of the East than to European countries. It was like a building with a beautiful facade and nothing behind the facade. It looked promising but if examined closely there was little substance to the proposal. It was conceived by Litvinov in a “haphazard” way, elaborated by Beneš, and advocated by Barthou. Laval accepted it as an inheritance from Barthou, but in the opinion of the Minister, he had not the same enthusiasm as Barthou for the proposal. Fundamentally, Laval frankly acknowledged the significance of the agreement depended upon acceptance by Germany, and the Minister said he did not expect that Germany would become a party. Asked if Poland would sign if Germany did, he said that he could not answer that question until he examined the proposal to which Germany committed herself but that German acceptance would be a condition precedent to execution by Poland.

In reply to the question as to whether or not refusal on the part of Poland to accept the pact if sponsored by Laval would cause a further strain in French-Polish relations, the Minister replied that he saw no reason why public opinion in France should be hostile in case the Polish decision was negative. Such a decision would be grounded upon unanswerable arguments and French sentiment would be forced to realize the reasonableness of the Polish position. He reminded me of our discussion (despatch No. 449 of October 9, 193457) when the French press was very antagonistic to Poland. Since then, he said, the animosity of the French press had subsided. He said that Laval had very solemnly assured him at Geneva that the Franco-Polish [Page 523] alliance58 was the base of French-Polish relations and would continue regardless of any development between the two countries concerning any other matter and that Laval had pledged himself to a policy of adherence to this alliance.

Respectfully yours,

John Cudahy
  1. Not printed.
  2. Treaty signed February 19, 1921, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. xviii, p. 12.