860C.50/7–1245: Telegram

No. 523
The Acting Secretary of State to the Appointed Ambassador to Poland (Lane)1

3234. For Lane.

As a result of Department discussion in which you participated regarding possible economic assistance for Poland from the U. S. the following points have been generally agreed upon:

The U. S. will give full support to UNRRA in fulfilling the contemplated Polish program. The tentative program for Poland is substantial, calling for almost half a million tons of supplies for the third quarter and a similar quantity for the fourth quarter of this year. Even if more aid were available for Poland it is doubtful whether there would be either the shipping or port facilities to increase any supply program beyond this target: real difficulties may even be encountered in delivering the supplies which UNRRA will have ready to send with our support.
It is understood that UNRRA plans to appoint as permanent chief of the UNRRA Polish Mission an American, and that the Mission will include specialists who can promptly revise the proposed import program on the basis of logical priorities with cooperation from the local government officials. …
The Export-Import Bank is prevented from lending to Poland by a statutory prohibition2 against loans to governments in default to the United States Government similar to the prohibitions of the Johnson Act3 against private loans to such governments. Proposed legislation to expand the Bank’s lending power eliminates this provision. Bills are also before Congress providing for outright repeal of the Johnson Act. It is not known how soon these legal barriers will be removed, but we are endeavoring to get the Bank legislation enacted before Congress recesses.
In the meantime Poland should prepare promptly a statement of requirements setting forth the types of goods needed, quantities, specific projects, and supporting data, as well as present financial resources, trade prospects and other relevant material. This would facilitate conclusion of loan arrangements in the event that and as soon as the law permits.
The U. S. would consider favorably proposals designed to facilitate payments in dollar exchange for exports, especially of coal.
Plans are being made to provide Poland promptly with one thousand Army surplus trucks to be supplied on dollar credit terms. The proposal has been approved by the Surplus Property Board and the Office of Army–Navy Liquidation Commissioner has an understanding [Page 789] with the Army that the trucks will be available. Details as to types of trucks and point of delivery will be sent you later.
With respect to the Polish desire to receive restitution and reparations from Germany, the question of restitution is closely interrelated with that of reparations and, hence, must be subject to the decisions to be arrived at respecting general reparations policy. Such policy is the subject of discussions to be held by the Allied Reparations Commission at Moscow.
Reestablishment of private trade between the U. S. and Poland is desired as soon as mechanical limitations and facilities permit. The Department regards the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Consular Rights between Poland and the United States, signed June 15, 1931,4 as still in effect. The Department, however, would welcome the opportunity of negotiating an improved treaty with Poland.
A mission of Polish requirements specialists to this country will be welcomed. It is contemplated that our Embassy staff will include technical, requirements and economic specialists. We hope the Poles will cooperate with them.
The matter of a possible increase in Red Cross assistance to Poland is being pursued and the indications are that an increase may be available provided the distribution of supplies in Poland can take place in accordance with Red Cross principles.

The following for Harriman. The above is for your information urtel 2274 June 26.5 Lane has been instructed to give above information to Polish officials in Warsaw. It is believed he can convince them that U. S. is making every effort to meet their urgent needs. Please show this telegram to Bergson.

Repeated to London and Moscow.

J[ohn] P[arke] Y[oung]
  1. Sent to the American Embassy, Paris.
  2. By an Act of March 2, 1940, to provide for increasing the lending authority of the Export-Import Bank; 54 Stat. 38.
  3. i. e., the Act of April 13, 1934, to prohibit financial transactions with any foreign government in default on its obligations to the United States; 48 Stat. 574.
  4. Treaty Series No. 862; 48 Stat. (2)1507.
  5. Document No. 522.