800.4016 DP/5–2245: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France ( Caffery )

2236. The presence of large numbers of Polish citizens, roughly estimated about one hundred thousand, in the area now occupied by the American armies in Germany is causing the Army authorities great concern. The question has arisen whether they should be returned to Poland or allowed to move through our lines in a westerly direction into our definitive zone of occupation and eventually further westward. Probably large numbers of them would prefer the latter course rather than to be left in the Russian area or sent back to Poland. The problem was discussed with Bidault in his conversations here42 and he was asked whether the French could make any use of these Poles. It had been suggested that some of them at least might be of use on a voluntary basis in working the coal mines in the Saar which were now nearly at a standstill on account of lack of labor. Bidault did not express any definite views although he thought that some might be permitted to enter France.

Please endeavor to ascertain urgently whether the French Government would be prepared to accept a certain number of these Poles and how many might be permitted to enter French territory or the eventual French zone in Germany. You may wish to consult SHAEF in this connection.

The matter is of the utmost urgency as instructions are about to be sent to SHAEF regarding the movement of the United States armies.

  1. Georges Bidault, French Minister for Foreign Affairs. Bidault stopped in Washington in mid-May en route home from the United Nations Conference on International Organization which was held in San Francisco April 25–June 26.