The Ambassador in Poland (Biddle) to the Secretary of State
Warsaw, August 26, 1939—4 p.m.
[Received 7:20 p.m.]
[Received 7:20 p.m.]
212. For the President and the Secretary.
- I was invited to “sit up in” from 9:00 to midnight at Polish officialdom’s last night’s informal but strictly confidential conference called to consider all aspects of final draft of President Moscicki’s reply to President Roosevelt’s cable.
- Beck and his associates emphasized that accumulative incidents and other provocative machinations practiced by Germany against Poland to date had already represented sufficient cause for Poland to go to war. However, Poland had regarded grave situation with full measure of comprehension and with full sense of responsibility to her allies and to other friendly countries throughout the world sincerely devoted in effort to prevent war. In response to my inquiry Beck [Page 375] observed that final signature to Anglo-Polish alliance (including military and naval accords) might conceivably ruffle Ribbentrop in that Ribbentrop had given Ciano confident assurance he would prevent final signature.
- Vice Prime Minister Kwiatkowsky just showed me his report to the effect that in Danzig at 1 p.m. today Nazis seized Polish owned grain elevators and fuel storage tanks for the purpose of exporting commodities stored therein to Germany. Kwiatkowsky also imparted that for past 2 weeks Danzig customs men had been pocketing large portion of receipts due Poland.
- While I lack adequate means of verifying directly German accusations of Polish atrocities against German minority I have constant access to reports of British and French Embassies as well as correspondents of London Daily Mail and Manchester Guardian constantly engaged in verifying aforementioned accusations. Thus far their reports definitely indicate that German accusations are gross exaggeration. For example, Berlin’s atrocity campaign accused Poles of having murdered the wife and child of a member of German minority and having tortured the latter after he had shot Polish guard. Manchester Guardian correspondents interview with man and family subsequently revealed no foundation for accusation.
- If Nazi treatment of Polish soldier killed on August 16th on Danzig-Polish frontier could be regarded as example of current day German methods then we may expect any Polish-German hostilities to involve frightful atrocities. (Official autopsy disclosed soldier’s stomach had been ripped open and filled up with many extraneous articles of revolting character including a baby’s skull.)