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

The Polish Ambassador came in this morning and said that he had received instructions from his Government at Angers, France,17 to take up with this Government a matter on which he knew we would be unable to take any action. He said that the telegram from his Government stated that the condition of the Polish prisoners, both military and civilian, in Russia, was most deplorable, and the situation of the camps in which they were being held was the worst possible from the point of view of sanitary conditions and food. The telegram went on to state that these prisoners were only being fed once a week. The Ambassador was instructed to request this Government to make representations to the Soviet Government with a view to alleviating the condition of these prisoners and, if possible, to arrange [Page 211] for a representative of our Embassy to make an inspection and report of the conditions under which they are being held.18

I told the Ambassador that unfortunately it was not possible for us to take any action along the lines suggested in his telegram, as the Soviet Government definitely refused to discuss with our Embassy any matters relating to other than American citizens.

The Ambassador said that he knew this to be the case, and that he would so inform his Government and explain to them the impossibility of our taking up with the Soviet Government any request of this kind which referred to other than American citizens.

James Clement Dunn
  1. The Polish Government, headed by Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski, Prime Minister, after a few weeks in Paris from September 30, 1939, arrived at Angers and was officially installed on November 24, 1939.
  2. In despatch No. 1101, November 2, 1939, the American Minister in Rumania, Franklin Mott Gunther, had enclosed a memorandum from the Polish Embassy in Bucharest wherein it was stated: “About October 10, the Soviet authorities proceeded to register, for what purpose unknown, all Polish officers and noncommissioned officers in each city [of occupied Poland]. Moreover, a certain number of officers of all grades were deported to Russia, these doubtless being considered as the most active, and consequently the most capable of conspiring against the predomination of Russians.” (860C.00/785)