740.0011 European War 1939/276: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Kennedy ) to the Secretary of State

1606. The Polish Ambassador called to see me today in a most unhappy frame of mind, principally because the English are refusing to be of any practical assistance in counter attacks in Germany to assist the Poles in their fight. The Poles say that what is really making it impossible for them to hold out is the constant bombardment from the entire German Air Force. Raczynski said that the General who came up on the night of the 4th explained to him that the air force was flying in 21 divisions and they were all exerting their full strength against Poland and that with the terrific number of mechanized units, it was impossible for the Poles to stand out.

When the Polish Ambassador in Paris appealed to Daladier, Daladier said they had urged the British to make the counter attack but [Page 552] the British seem to have in mind constantly the President’s appeal to the countries against bombardment that might affect women and children. Raczynski said that when he urges the British to take up these attacks, while they do not say this to him, nevertheless he feels definitely they believe if they were to bomb Berlin or any of the German cities there would of necessity be some women and children killed and that public opinion would turn sharply against them in the United States, on the ground that they had started it and therefore could take the results.

Raczynski feels that what they really have in mind is the great danger that something might happen which would result in public opinion refusing to change the Neutrality Act, because if England and France are not able to buy material it will be absolutely necessary for them to get from the United States, the situation looks dark indeed. Therefore a series of bombings that would not result in any concrete advantage, so the British insinuate to him he tells me, might cause very serious repercussions.

He was anxious to know what might be the reaction on American public opinion if the British started bombing German towns. Of course he did not ask me for any direct impression but he asked me if I had any idea and I said I had not.

In all denying [sic] that you make on what is going to happen in Europe, it is well to consider that there are many people who are situated high in this Government who believe that the picture looks very dismal from the British-French point of view.