860C.01B11/27: Telegram

The Chargé to the Polish Government in Exile (Achilles) to the Secretary of State

Polish Series No. 2. Your 1 and 2, January 6, 9 p.m.58 At my suggestion Mr. Ciechanovski was present during my lengthy conversation [Page 228] with the Foreign Minister this afternoon. I advised them explicitly that the Department expected to be definitely informed before the new Ambassador left for the United States that the Polish Government had complied fully with the agreement for withdrawing delegates and representatives from the United States, that I had telegraphed the Polish position as stated yesterday by Mr. [Ciechanovski] that the Department for the reasons stated could not understand that position and had instructed me to ask (1) whether the Polish Government had taken action with a view to withdrawing Rajchman from the United States and if not (2) what action, in view of the previous understanding, it expected to take.

As an answer to (1) the Foreign Minister showed me a copy of a telegram he had sent Rajchman on November 19 which read approximately:

“Deeply regret your mission must terminate upon arrival new Ambassador. Many thanks for services which I hope may be continued in other countries.”

This, he said, constituted Rajchman’s recall in diplomatic language. I observed that the recall had apparently not yet taken effect.

When I asked what action was contemplated he showed me, as he said “privately”, a telegram from Edgar Mowrer59 who was obviously au courant. The telegram, which he said had been received this morning read substantially:

“Friend applying appropriate authorities for permission [to] remain as private citizen.60 Favorable decision expected but London démarche causing delay. Suggest advising Chargé, friend’s mission already terminated and he will remain as private citizen.”

He repeated that the Polish Government had fulfilled its undertaking and asked what else we thought he could do. If he were in [Page 229] Poland he could order Rajchman to come home but even then could not compel him to do so. He could not order him to England or any other country. If we wanted him out of the United States we need merely refuse his application to remain and order him out. I stated that the agreement, as we understood it, had not yet [been] carried out, that we could not appropriately make suggestions, but that the way to recall a person would appear to be to instruct him specifically to return to the seat of his Government, or at least to proceed to some other country.

He wrote out a telegram to Mowrer reading:

“Have advised Chargé as suggested but he says State Department insists on departure before Ambassador’s arrival. Please advise Rajchman.”

I inquired whether, entirely aside from the question of propriety of discussing the matter either with Rajchman, or with third parties, he believed this would ensure Rajchman’s immediate departure. He then wrote a telegram to Rajchman reading:

“Chargé informs me State Department insists on your departure before Ambassador’s arrival. Please cable plans. Have received and answered Mowrer’s cable.”

I said this was at least an accurate statement although question of propriety remained. He said that he had no reason other than our démarche to ask him to leave. He will probably send both telegrams substantially as quoted.

Mr. Ciechanovski, whose attitude throughout has been friendly though obviously not frank, is canceling his airplane passage to await developments. While the conversation was on the whole less stormy than [before], Mr. Zaleski at one point remarked that if the United States Government could grant Mr. Ciechanovski only a conditional agrément and made all this difficulty about it he would have to ask the National Council61 to consider whether in these circumstances Poland wished to be represented in the United States by an Ambassador. Mr. Ciechanovski had previously remarked that while the agrément might not have been specifically conditional, the matter had [Page 230] now reached a point where his visa was being withheld until Rajchman had left the United States. I replied to the Minister’s statement that the agrément had not been conditional but had been based on the assumption that an undesirable situation would be remedied before his arrival, that his Government had freely agreed to remedy the situation but had not yet done so and that my Government, which would be most happy to receive Mr. Ciechanovski, still assumed that it would be before his arrival.

The manner in which Mr. Zaleski has handled this whole matter is almost incomprehensible, he has only himself to blame and I do not take his intimation of not sending an Ambassador too seriously. At the same time, and in view of the nature of the agrément, the Department may wish to reinforce my statements as described in the preceding paragraph.62

  1. Telegram No. 1, January 4, 8 p.m., p. 226, Latter telegram not printed.
  2. Representative in Washington of the Chicago Daily News.
  3. Dr. Ludwik Rajchman had made application to the Department of Justice for a change of status to that of a non-immigrant visitor. Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long, in his letter of January 7, 1941, to Attorney General Robert H. Jackson, expressed this opinion of the matter: “In view of the expressed intention of the Government of Poland to withdraw Dr. Rajchman from the United States, it would not appear appropriate to effect a change in his status. After his departure from the United States he could, of course, if he so desires, apply for a visa of the proper type to reenter the country.” (860C.01B11/20)

    Lemuel B. Schofield, Special Assistant to the Attorney General, wrote to Secretary of State Hull on February 24, 1941, that after the termination of his official mission, as Dr. Rajchman remained in a purely private capacity, the views of the Polish Government ought not to be treated as controlling his return, and that his application for a change of status “has accordingly been granted.” Assistant Secretary Long replied on May 29, 1941, to the Attorney General again explaining the understanding with Poland for the withdrawal of Dr. Rajchman. Since the latter had remained on against the official orders of the Polish Government, “it would be appropriate for steps to be taken without delay for the purpose of expediting the departure of Dr. Rajchman from the United States.” (860C.01B11/31). He still remained in the United States through 1941, and served also as Assistant to the Chairman (Dr. T. V. Soong) of the Board of Directors of China Defense Supplies, Inc., in connection with Lend-Lease matters. The Department of State informed the Chinese Embassy in a note of December 23, 1941, that it was “unable to recognize Dr. Rajchman as having the status of a foreign government official in the United States, since it would be contrary to the policy of the Department to recognize a national of one foreign country as having the status of an official of another foreign country.” (860C.01B11/37)

  4. A body formed in France intended to replace in principle, although not in fact, the former Polish Diet. Its first session had been held on January 23, 1940, in Paris with Ignace Jan Paderewski as president.
  5. By its Polish Series telegram No. 3, January 8, 1941, the Department informed the Chargé that his last sentence in the penultimate paragraph “accurately describes situation and our views, and you may inform Minister that you have been so advised by us and that we have nothing to add to your statement.”