840.48 Refugees/1056

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Messersmith)

The Polish Ambassador called this morning, having informed my office beforehand that it was necessary that he see me this morning. He read to me the appended memorandum,37 which he then left with me and which he said he was doing under instructions of his Government.

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The Ambassador said that his country, he found, was not so much interested in a colonial mandate as it was interested in finding a place to which the Jews in Poland might emigrate. He had seen Mr. Baruch in New York a few days ago and Mr. Baruch was very much interested in the purchase of a colony by philanthropic people in this and other countries to which the German population and other Jews could emigrate.

The Ambassador said that he wished to revert to what he had previously referred to in several conversations with me—that the Polish Government felt that it was rather strange that various countries should be considering the fate of the German Jews just because the Jews there were being accorded this outrageous treatment and that the problem of other countries where the Jews were receiving proper treatment was not taken into account. He indicated again, as he had in previous conversations, that this was putting a premium on repressive and improper treatment of the Jews.

I received his memorandum and his observations without comment except to state that I would see that the memorandum was brought to the Secretary’s attention.

The Ambassador further referred to what he spoke of as “The Kennedy Plan”39 which seemed to take into account only the problem of the German Jews and not that of those in other countries. He said the problem was a much larger one and required consideration on a wider basis.

It will be recalled that this is the third conversation which the Ambassador has had with me recently on this matter (memoranda on the previous conversations were made40). I do not know whether the Ambassador is endeavoring to lay the background for some action by the Polish Government against the Jews in Poland. In his conversation this morning, I was led for the first time to doubt this as he passed strong strictures on the way “the Jews were being treated in Germany by Hitler.”41 He spoke more particularly this morning of the influx of Jews into Poland from Germany and that this would increase anti-Semitism in Poland. He also spoke more particularly of what he called “the wider aspects” of the emigration and Jewish problem.

G. S. Messersmith
  1. Infra.
  2. There were American newspaper reports in November of plans which it was alleged Ambassador Kennedy had presented to the British Government for the solution of the refugee question. In reply to an inquiry by the Department concerning the reports, Ambassador Kennedy stated in telegram No. 1330, November 18, 5 p.m., that he had merely asked British Secretary of State for the Colonies Malcolm MacDonald while at lunch why England did not show more interest in intergovernmental relief “as she had all the land” and suggested she offer some of it for use of refugees (840.48 Refugees/916).
  3. Not printed.
  4. For correspondence concerning the persecution of Jews in Germany, see pp. 355 ff.