760C.62/528: Telegram

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

85. For the President and Secretary.

1. Polish Government greeted with calm reserve Ambassador Lipski’s cable from Berlin that Rumanian Foreign Minister Gafencu had imparted his concern over sharpness with which Hitler had expressed himself regarding Poland and Poland’s “rejection” (of March 26) of Hitler’s “proposals” (of March 21 regarding Corridor passageway, Danzig’s incorporation in Reich and demand that Poland clarify its position in connection with Soviet)75 which Hitler petulantly stated no longer held good. However, at conclusion of conversation Hitler without implying war threat insisted upon early solution for the German differences.

2. While Ribbentrop76 obviously aiming to create dissatisfaction between London and Warsaw vigorously wages propaganda to effect (a) that Poland’s stiffening and subsequent “rejection” were due to Britain’s pledge; (b) that Poland would in final analysis not resist Danzig’s incorporation in Reich; and (c) that neither London nor Paris would consider Berlin’s insistence upon Danzig’s incorporation a fighting issue, Poland’s position, according to Beck and associates, is as follows.

Previous to Britain’s pledge, Poland mobilized and sent not a rejection but counter-proposal (in effect stating possible willingness to consider independent but not incorporated status for Danzig). Poland and Britain decided to call halt to Hitler. Forfeiture of Danzig would not necessarily spell final satisfaction of Hitler’s growing appetite. German militarization of an incorporated Danzig would spell eventual German domination over Gdynia as well as Danzig. Besides a public opinion roused as at present against concessions would make a potential compromise settlement along no matter what lines a delicate task for Polish Government.

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3. Moreover, I discern that latitude usually enjoyed by Beck, who within certain limits might previously have been more inclined than many of his associates towards conciliation, is now restricted during present emergency period by necessity to consult the Marshal77 and other Government associates less conciliatorily inclined.

4. Together, according to Beck and the Marshal, they must all take into consideration the currently roused fighting spirit of the Polish people who, if caused to feel “sold out” or “let down”, might go defeatist, an attitude which in turn might easily reflect itself unfavorably in other anti-aggression states.

  1. Polish White Book, doc. Nos. 61 and 63, pp. 61 and 66.
  2. Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  3. Marshal Edward Smigly-Rydz.