Memorandum by the Adviser on German Economic Affairs (Despres)2
Memorandum of Conversation
I conveyed to Mr. Minc Mr. Clayton’s regret that he was unable to accept the Minister’s invitation to visit the Silesian coal fields, explaining that Mr. Clayton was heavily engaged with other matters as the conference drew toward a close. I then told Mr. Minc that we thought it would be useful for him to talk to the American military authorities in Berlin, who were now transporting coal from the Ruhr to meet their share of Berlin’s requirements; in order to explore the possibility of drawing upon Silesian coal instead, and I said that, subject to his acceptance of the invitation, we had arranged an appointment for him with Maj. General Echols. Mr. Minc replied that he would consult the other members of his Government and let me know. (He subsequently accepted, and a meeting with General Echols took place the following morning.3) I then outlined the scope of functions of EECE, ECO and the projected Inland Transport Organization and expressed the hope that the Polish Government would acquaint itself with these organizations with a view to active participation in their work. Mr. Minc asked a number of questions regarding the functions, activities to date and membership of these organizations and said that he would look into the matter further.
Mr. Minc then stated that he was most eager to acquaint the United States Government as fully as possible with the present economic position and needs of Poland, in order to enable us to consider against a background of knowledge their requests for imports and for credits. He asked how this might best be accomplished. I said that we proposed to attach a well-qualified economic man to Ambassador Lane’s staff, and that we hoped that the Polish Government would extend to such man the fullest opportunities for familiarizing himself with the situation. I suggested that it would also [Page 479]be useful for the Polish Government to send a small number of well-qualified people to Washington for financial and supply matters. Mr. Minc expressed the personal view that it would be most desirable if the United States Government could send a special survey mission to Poland which would spend a couple of months there and then return to Washington and report. I suggested that before extending any formal invitation along these lines, it would be well to discuss this matter informally with Ambassador Lane.
After my conversation with Minc had been completed, Dr. Rajchman furnished the following bits of information:
- It is a criminal offense for a Russian commander to allow any freight cars to move eastward empty. Large amounts of supplies are seen passing through Poland, including numbers of German livestock.
- Dr. Rajchman believes that the Russians have adopted a three-year program of removals from their zone of occupation. They have set a physiological minimum standard of living for the German population and plan to leave only enough resources to support this minimum.
- For a time the Russians carried out removals from the territory newly transferred to the Polish administration, but under an agreement with the Polish Government these removals were discontinued on a specified date.
- The Red Army is having considerable difficulty in effecting the redeployment of their forces from Germany. They are believed to have had 12 million men on the whole Eastern Front. There are a number of roving bands of Red Army troops (AWOL). They are shot when caught, but drastic punishment has not solved the problem.
- Except for Warsaw, which has been far more thoroughly demolished than Berlin, material damage in Poland has not been serious. Loss of life is estimated at 5,500,000, over half Jews.