740.00116 European War 1939/79

The Secretary of State to the Polish Ambassador (Potocki)

Excellency: I have received your note of September 15, 1939 stating that German forces are resorting to the methodical bombing of open cities and villages throughout Poland, and that the bombing and machine gunning from planes at a low altitude has caused countless deaths of the defenseless population. Notice is also taken of your statement that the Polish Government has filed an official protest with the Government of the Netherlands, which represents German interests in Poland, charging that Germany has broken the assurances given to the Government of the United States in its reply to President Roosevelt’s appeal.

It had been the hope of this Government, in view of the nature of the replies made by the several belligerent powers to the President’s appeal, that their airplanes would not resort to the bombing of open towns and villages or to the machine gunning of the civilian population.

The statements contained in your note, as well as those set forth in a telegram which the President of the United States has recently received from the President of Poland, have, therefore, deeply shocked this Government.

The President of the United States has already informed the President of Poland that it is his earnest hope that the governments of the belligerent countries will renew their orders prohibiting the bombing from the air of civilians in unfortified centers of population, 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 the appeal of the President have led the world to expect.

Accept [etc.]

Cordell Hull