860C.4016/544: Telegram

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

36. 1. As pointed out in my recent confidential conversations in Washington I am still of opinion that continued despondency over their outlook among Jews of Eastern and Central Europe constitutes among other factors a potential force against peace for it might conceivably lead the Jews to feel: (a) that war might serve to remove the focus of attention from them and (b) necessitate an eventual fresh deal, in other words, they might come to feel that anything is better than their present lot and prospects.

2. In this connection informed veteran Jewish observers report: (a) Current uncompromising hostility on the part of Germans towards Jews in Austria adding latter’s plight is pitiful; (b) That despondency amongst the Jews of Poland is now growing in proportion to that shared by Jews throughout Eastern and Central Europe and is causing serious concern among Jewish leaders lest the situation which is now acute become even more unbearable, indeed, the Jews’ main foothold in the economic structure of the states wherein they dwell (mainly, the role of middleman in trade) is becoming steadily less tenable.

3. From my energetic daily observations and investigations of the Jewish problem over the past year from the standpoints both of the Polish Government and Jews and my sustained inquiries in both quarters as to what were considered the most important measures for the alleviation of the present tension, I find that both Government and Jewish circles concur that the gravity of the situation and the time element call for the promptest possible remedial measures and that under the circumstances consideration number one was: (a) Availability [Page 651] of outlets for emigration; (b) financial accommodation to aid the several governments in Eastern and Central Europe to finance emigration operations; (c) due to current circumstances other measures such as financial assistance for industrialization program which entail time for proper development are considered less favorably by the Polish Government and held by both Jews and the Government as of secondary importance.

4. My yesterday’s conversation with personal representative of Jabotinsky, widely known Zionist revisionist, and close associate of Weitzman [Weizmann?] (identified with Palestine) revealed Jabotinsky’s urgent recommendation that Palestine offered the most practical and desirable center for Jewish colonization expansion, due to Palestine’s having already passed the pioneering stage, a condition which offered a practical basis for immediate expansion. Moreover, such a basis would serve to minimize the cost per family emigrating in comparison to the per family cost which would be entailed in emigration to virgin territory.

5. For the consideration of the Jewish problem in Poland, the following factors are unfortunately contributing to an intensification of anti-Semiticism:

During the recent Polish-Lithuanian crisis,32 the Jews were accused of spreading false rumors and of inciting “runs” on the savings banks whereby they have been greatly discredited and their cause further prejudiced in the eyes both of public opinion and the hitherto lenient Government (see despatch No. 399, March 2333).
Larger augmentation of already overcrowded Jewish ranks by the return of Jews from neighboring countries, who are now regarded here as expatriates (see telegram No. 30, March 24, noon,33 referring to the citizenship bill which has already passed the Sejm. I look for the Senate to pass it and the President to approve it before April 1.)
And perhaps a symptom of Poland’s desire to parallel German anti-Soviet views.

  1. Poland demanded on March 17, 1938, that Lithuania reestablish normal diplomatic relations, and 2 days later Lithuania acceded.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.