The Under Secretary of State (Welles) to President Roosevelt
My Dear Mr. President: General Sikorski came with the Polish Ambassador to see me this afternoon.
The matters that General Sikorski will wish to discuss with you tomorrow morning are the following: (1) He will wish to tell you of the effective underground organization which has been established in German-occupied Poland. The work being done in this regard includes the publication in small clandestine sheets of news from the democratic countries. He tells me that thousands of these sheets are being circulated daily although, according to him, the penalty for being caught reading one of these sheets is execution.
(2) The problem of obtaining volunteers in the United States to increase the number of Polish troops now taking active part in the defense of the British Isles. The General realizes that our neutrality statutes64 make it impossible for Polish diplomatic or consular representatives to undertake recruiting within the jurisdiction of the United States.
I told him that, notwithstanding the general feeling with regard to the need to keep alive the national feeling of the nationals within the United States of the occupied countries, as he realized, this Government could not acquiesce in the undertaking of measures by Polish diplomatic and consular representatives here which would be in direct contravention of our existing law. I said that it might be possible for the Polish consulates within the United States to let their fellow nationals within their consular jurisdictions know of the places in Canada where Poles could enlist for service with the Polish Army and could, of course, facilitate the journey of such Poles as desired to enlist in Canada to the Canadian border. I said that I felt quite sure that such activity on the part of Polish consuls in this country would not be regarded by our authorities as a violation of our statutes.
(3) He is anxious to ascertain whether you would be willing for Poland to be given assistance under the terms of the Lend-Lease [Page 233] Bill.65 He made it clear that Poland would not require such assistance until well along in 1942.
I said that I felt confident that you would feel that the terms of the Lend-Lease Bill covered all of those countries which had suffered aggression and which, like Poland, were fighting for the restoration of their national independence. I said, however, that I thought you would tell him it would be wise for him to work out with the British Government the precise details of the matériel which the Polish Government would wish to acquire in this country so that this Government could be assured that there was complete agreement between the British and Polish Governments in this regard.
(4) He will wish to discuss with you post-war problems in Europe, but only in very general terms. He is particularly interested in the creation of some form of federation after the war between the Poles and the Czechoslovaks, and apparently some preliminary conversations have already been held in this regard.66 His general thesis is that no peaceful and prosperous Europe can be built up without a political and economic federation betweeen Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary—and perhaps Rumania.67
- Neutrality Act approved November 4, 1939; 54 Stat. 4. For correspondence on the neutrality policy of the United States, see Foreign Relations, 1939, Vol. i, pp. 656 ff., and ibid., 1940, Vol. ii, pp. 1 ff.↩
- Approved March 11, 1941; 55 Stat. 31.↩
- There had been a joint declaration issued on November 11, 1940, by Poland and Czechoslovakia on the necessity of establishing a confederation between the two countries after the war.↩
- Following his return to London, in a speech before the Polish National Council on June 4, 1941, Prime Minister Sikorski characterized the purpose of his visit to the United States as being “to make direct and friendly political contacts with the United States and President Roosevelt, and to have their assistance for the present and future Poland.” (860C.002/298)↩