740.0011 European War, 1939/565: Telegram

The Ambassador in France ( Bullitt ) to the Secretary of State

2187. For the President and the Secretary from Biddle. Gunther’s 259 to the Department of State September 25, 3 p.m.,51 raises certain questions on which Ambassador Bullitt and I feel I should comment immediately.

One of Gunther’s messages makes it obvious that in order to justify its internment of the Polish President and the Polish Government, the Rumanian Government has taken as pretext President Moscicki’s having telegraphed from a point in Poland subsequent to the President’s arrival in Rumania his declaration to the effect that the Polish Government would continue fighting in an Allied country. In connection with this allegation the following, according to Moscicki’s counselor Lepkowski (whom I believe), are the facts:

President in the presence of Prime Minister,52 the Marshal, and Beck approved aforementioned declaration (which President’s Counselor, Lepkowski, had prepared) at 4 p.m., in Kuty53 September 17. Declaration was thereupon radioed to Polish Ambassador Lukasiewicz in Paris by Beck’s mobile short wave station in Kuty at 6 p.m., September 17 with instructions that Lukasiewicz broadcast it from Paris to all Polish peoples. Based upon these instructions Lukasiewicz subsequently broadcasted President’s declaration on September 19.

Meanwhile, President’s counselor Lepkowski, pursuant to request of Polish journalist in Cernauti54 at about 3 a.m. September 18, gave latter copy of text of President’s declaration which correspondent might conceivably have forwarded abroad in a press telegram.

The following is important to bear in mind, however, (a) the President had left Kuty between 6 and 8 p.m. evening of September 17 [Page 693] after radioing Lukasiewicz from Kuty his declaration and instructions, and (b) Lepkowski merely gave to the aforementioned Polish press correspondent in Cernauti a record of action formerly taken on Polish territory and based solely upon which Lukasiewicz subsequently broadcast it. Moreover, in early morning of September 18 Polish Government was not yet interned.

With reference to second paragraph of Gunther’s aforementioned cable wherein he states impression that once a new Polish Government were created, say in France, the majority of Polish Governmental officials not of military age being no longer officials would be permitted to leave. Beck is about 45½ years of age and if Rumania’s are similar to Poland’s mobilization orders then officers up to the age of 50 are callable. Hence this might conceivably prove pretext for detaining Beck in internment.
According to Lepkowski, Rumanian Ambassador Grigory on the Polish side of the Kuty bridgehead between 6 and 8 p.m. September 17, in the presence of Rumanian Embassy Secretary Rossetti and General Schallay, Chief of President Moscicki’s military household, assured President Moscicki and Lepkowski that Rumanian Government proposed to Polish Government two possible solutions: (a) either residence in Rumania without functioning politically, or (b) safe transit through Rumania to neutral country. Rumanian Ambassador admitted he understood President had chosen proposal (b) and stated he would lead Governmental caravan to Cernauti with view to early application of proposal (b).
While it was learned during course of following day, September 18, that Germans had forbidden carrying out either proposal under threat of aggression, Rumanian Ambassador Grigory assured President Bucharest would straighten matter out with Berlin in a few days. [Biddle.]
  1. Not printed.
  2. Felician Skladkowski.
  3. On Polish side of the Polish-Rumanian border.
  4. In Rumania.