851.00/2510: Telegram

The Ambassador to the Polish Government in Exile (Biddle) to the Secretary of State

Polish Series No. 44. Acting Foreign Minister Raczynski informs me that as a result of consultations between the Allied Governments now established in London it is proposed to issue a joint declaration [Page 448] based on the statement made by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill on October 25, 1941, protesting against the violences committed against the civil population in the occupied countries.

The text of the Joint Declaration which has been agreed upon by the Governments of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Yugoslavia, Greece and the National French Committee is in substance as follows:

They all commit themselves to a common declaration. Since the beginning of the present conflict, Germany, by her policy of aggression, has established a regime of terror in the occupied countries, characterized by imprisonment, mass deportation, execution of hostages and massacres. The allies and associates of Germany are also involved in these crimes and in some cases even the nations of the occupied countries have participated in them.

Recalling that international law and specifically the terms of the Hague Convention of 19073 forbid any belligerent in an occupied country from violence against the civil population, breaking of existing laws and overthrow of national institutions, the signatories of the declaration affirm that the violences committed against the civil population have nothing in common with the concept of an act of war or of a political offense; take note of the declarations made on October 25 by the President of the United States and the British Prime Minister; place among the principal aims of the war the punishment by means of organized justice of those guilty of or responsible for these crimes, whether they have ordered, perpetrated or participated in them; and intend to see that those culpable or responsible, of whatever nationality, shall be sought out, tried and judged and that the execution of the sentences shall be assured.

It is proposed to issue this declaration at a meeting to be held at Saint James’s Palace on or about December 2, 1941. The idea is to hold the ceremony as soon as possible after the Berlin Anti-Comintern Conference. The meeting is to be open to the press. Count Raczynski adds that it is also planned to have “the great powers friendly to the continent” represented at the meeting; namely, Great Britain, the Dominions and the Soviet Union.

I understand the British Government is prepared to give the meeting its blessing and has agreed to be represented on condition that the Soviet Government perceives no objection to the meeting and also has its representative attend.

In that case I understand Mr. Churchill or Mr. Eden4 will speak as the representative of Great Britain. All the representatives of the [Page 449] friendly governments will be invited to speak briefly after the various signatories have expressed their views.

Count Raczynski tells me he has been requested by the other Allied Governments established in London to ascertain whether they may invite to this meeting the American envoy accredited to them. They hope, he states, that I may be present and make a brief statement along the lines of the President’s statement of October 25 in condemnation of the German new order. I told Count Raczynski that I seriously doubted whether it would be feasible for me either to attend such a meeting or to speak but that I should request instructions.

  1. Foreign Relations, 1907, pt. 2, p. 1204.
  2. Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister; Anthony Eden, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.