The Ambassador in Poland ( Biddle ) to the Secretary of State
[Received August 26—3:10 a.m.]
208. Referring to last paragraph my Number 203 of August 25, 2 p.m., the following plan has been submitted at my request by Consul General Davis:
The situation as regards the Consulate General is peculiar in that the greater part of its work consists of visa and passport services to the Poles and Polish Americans respectively; also in that there are only two or three local branches of American firms and only a very small number of Americans of non-Polish stock in Poland.
The plan for the operation of the Consulate General in case of emergencies arising is to remove to the buildings in Constantsa,6 authorization for the rental of which has been requested, whenever it appears that lives would be seriously endangered in Warsaw.
However as long as it is probable that Warsaw is reasonably safe and movement between here and Constantsa is the same, an endeavor will be made to keep some officers in both places. It also may develop that it will be preferable for the Consulate General to move temporarily [Page 672] to the Embassy Chancery which is in a safer location with grounds and a shelter.
Owing to the enormous size of the visa files and of many other files it would be impossible to remove these. Due to this fact and since in the event of war egress from Poland by emigrants would become physically impossible visa work would probably virtually cease. Most other services will probably also almost cease owing to the virtual cessation of requests for them. The most important work which would then remain at all possible would be with whereabouts, welfare and protection services.
The greater part of the Polish American citizens have local family connections and probably will wish to remain in this country even during a war. It is utterly impossible to forecast the number of such Americans who later may ask for assistance in leaving the country if conditions become bad and it is probable that those who may ask this assistance will delay doing so until conditions arise making physical egress virtually impossible.
In order to avoid any untoward happenings, it is requested that if and when in the opinion of myself and the [opinion?] of the Consulate General we no longer can render any real service and when situations arise in which we consider officers’ lives to be seriously endangered by remaining that we be authorized to remove at once from Constantsa to whatever point appears safest. Unless this authorization is given in advance there is danger that out of a [sense of?] duty officers may remain until it is too late. This request is made in view of the probability that the Embassy will accompany the Government to some other point in Poland and the possibility that effective communication with the Embassy may become interrupted. Among the possible dangers envisaged are those which might arise from indiscriminate air bombings and/or the outbreak of disorders following defeats or unpopular concessions the Government may be forced to make.
- Rumanian Black Sea port.↩