The Ambassador in Poland (Biddle) to the Secretary of State
[Received 4:03 p.m.]
203. Please acknowledge immediately receipt of this message.
I understand in confidence from authoritative sources that the Government here plans in case hostilities break out or are imminent to evacuate partially Warsaw and that Diplomatic Corps will be directed to accompany the President3 and Foreign Minister4 to some as yet undisclosed destination further from the zone of potential combat where arrangements have been completed to house the several missions.
It is my intention in such circumstances to:
- Close and seal the Chancery premises unless it appears feasible to place them in the custody of the Consul General.5
- Destroy as other important missions have already done or intend to do the confidential files and archives.
- Proceed accompanied by my staff with codes and field office equipment to the temporary capital.
Since it is likely that evacuation will be ordered on short notice—stated to be around one hour with all physical arrangements therefor already completed by the authorities—it will be impossible to request [Page 671] and obtain instructions from the Department after an emergency begins and I consequently request authority without delay to use my discretion along the above lines with regard to the evacuation and subsequent functioning of the mission. I shall naturally keep the Department completely and promptly informed of all measures taken under such authority.
In view of the planned consolidation shortly of the office of the Commercial Attaché with the Consulate General it would appear desirable if the above circumstances arise to liquidate that office which would find it impossible to function profitably during hostilities with a view to its reestablishment in the Consulate General after the emergency has passed. Department’s opinion requested with respect to following alternatives: (1) should Commercial Attaché and staff accompany mission to temporary capital if Polish authorities agree and quarters can be obtained; (2) should Commercial Attaché and staff join Consulate General; (3) should any American personnel of that office whose services are deemed unnecessary during emergency be transferred temporarily outside of Poland.
A separate telegram will be forwarded shortly with respect to operation of Consulate General during emergency.