740.00116 European War 1939/57: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Rumania ( Gunther )

129. For Biddle. Please convey to the President of Poland the following reply from the President of the United States to the former’s telegram regarding attacks made from the air upon open villages and upon the civilian population of Poland.

“I have received your telegram stating that as the result of the bombing by German aircraft of Polish towns and villages possessing no considerable military objective thousands of the civil population of Poland are dead or wounded.

“It had been my hope following the receipt from the several belligerent powers of the replies to my appeal of September 1, in which they stated their intentions to limit the operations of their air forces to military objectives, that the world would be spared the horror of witnessing during this war the bombing of open towns and villages and the slaughtering of thousands of innocent and defenceless men, women, and children.

“I have been deeply shocked, therefore, by the statements contained in your telegram as well as by reports received from other sources including officials of this Government in Poland at the scene of hostilities.

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“In view of the hundreds of thousands of lives which may be at stake, it is my earnest hope that the Governments of the belligerent countries will renew their orders prohibiting the practice of bombing civilians in unfortified centers of population from the air, and that they will take measures to assure themselves that their respective air forces are showing that regard for the lives of non-combatants which their replies to my appeal of September 1 have led the world to expect. Franklin D. Roosevelt.”