The Chargé in Poland (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

No. 1547

Sir: With reference to my despatches No. 1357 of November 3, and No. 1386 of December 3, 1936,46 I have the honor to report that Mr. Wiktor Podoski, Chief of the Anglo-Saxon Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, telephoned to the Embassy this morning to request that a letter of introduction to the American Minister in Liberia be given to his brother Mr. Stanislaw Podoski who is proceeding at once to Liberia as a representative of the Liga Morska i Kolonjalna.* I suggested that Mr. Podoski should call at the Embassy and on the occasion of his visit I gave him a letter of introduction to Minister Walton, a copy of which I enclose.47

Mr. Podoski informed me that he is going to Liberia as a special delegate of the Executive Committee of the Liga Morska i Kolonjalna in order to see how the development of Polish plantations in that country is proceeding. He will remain there some three months and temporarily take the place of Mr. Paprzycki, a permanent representative of the League who is returning to Poland for a vacation. He stated that at the present time there are three groups of Polish plantations in Liberia in charge of four Polish planters and that it is not expected materially to increase the land now under cultivation. It would be too costly to do so on a large scale.

Mr. Podoski added that there is no hope of encouraging Polish emigration to Liberia because his compatriots can not live permanently under tropical conditions and officials, planters, and merchants can live there only temporarily. He was emphatic on the question of emigration and stated that the purpose of the present plantations in Liberia was to facilitate the study of tropical products which are imported into Poland.

In reply to a question regarding the Colonial and Maritime League Mr. Podoski said that this organization was of a non-political character and had no political aims; it was rather a propaganda organization the object of which was to teach the value of the sea and over-seas trade to Poles. It was desired to import what was required in Poland in Polish ships and to buy these imports from Poles residing abroad. Liberia exports goods to Poland and Poland needs men with special training as regards the character and quality of these goods.

He inferred that one desire of the League was to train Poles in tropical planting in order to have men available wherever an opportunity should offer an occasion for their employment.

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As regards the League itself Mr. Podoski alleged that it meets its expenses by the dues paid by its members and that it receives no Government subsidy.—I have no means of disproving the latter part of his statement but it is generally believed that the League receives a certain support from the Polish Government.—

Mr. Podoski admitted that one purpose of the League was to encourage emigration to Brazil but stated more than once that, on account of the climate, emigration to Liberia could not be thought of.

At the conclusion of our conversation I referred to the interest which the people of the United States have in Liberia and the concern which recent newspaper despatches from Europe relative to Liberia has caused in the United States—Department’s confidential instruction No. 351 of February 9 last.48—Mr. Podoski said that these despatches were unfounded, incomprehensible and laughable from the Polish point of view.

Respectfully yours,

Hallett Johnson
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Colonial and Maritime League. [Footnote in the original.]
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed.