Memorandum of Conversation, by the Adviser on Political Relations (Dunn)

The Polish Ambassador8 this afternoon stated that he was very apprehensive of the possibility of prominent Polish officials coming to this country for the purpose of working up propaganda in favor of a possible “Polish movement” or for the purpose of working among the Poles to raise funds for the reconstruction of the Polish state. He said he felt that this would be very ill-advised, as he felt that it would be entirely against the interests of Poland in that it would divorce from a sympathetic interest in the Polish cause a great many Americans who would resent such an abuse of American hospitality and action which would be entirely contrary to the spirit of American neutrality. In view of his apprehension, he asked whether it might not be possible to put into effect some measures which would restrict the issuance of visas for such purpose unless he or some Polish officials could be consulted with regard to the bona fides of the persons desiring to come over here. He said that the most important place to watch for such efforts would be Paris, or the place in France where the Polish Government officials may elect to reside.

He mentioned, in this connection, the activities of Dr. Benes,9 which he said he felt had been an abuse of American hospitality and which, according to his information, had hurt the Czechoslovak cause rather than helped.

I told the Ambassador that I did not know of any regulation which might be applied along these lines,10 but that I would make inquiries, as we felt that any emotional appeal at this time to particular groups of American citizens was to be avoided if possible.

James Clement Dunn
  1. Count Jerzy Potocki.
  2. Eduard Beneš, President of the Czechoslovak National Committee in London, 1939–45; formerly President of the Czechoslovak Republic, 1935–38.
  3. A note by the Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs (Henderson) stated that “an instruction was sent to the field on September 30, 1939, regarding visas to officials of belligerent governments.”