860C.50/8–645: Telegram

The Ambassador in Poland (Lane) to the Secretary of State

29. The following telegram sent to Moscow as 20, August 6, 1 p.m. In cordial conversation with Bierut42 at which Rzymowski,43 Modzelewski,44 Tonesk,45 also present (my telegram to Department 25, August 4,46 repeated to you47 as 16, August 5), I touched all eight points [Page 362] Department’s telegram 3234, July 12 to Paris48 in brief detail as follows:49

We are supplying two-thirds of UNRRA50 finances and almost hundred percent of materials for Poland. Naturally Bierut was not responsible for delay in UNRRA getting to Poland51 but in no way was United States Government responsible. I think they got my meaning.
We might help through Eximbank52 if you would tell us their specific requirements and also give us some facts re financial situation.
We would be glad to facilitate foreign exchange through exports especially coal and could consider triangular transactions if desirable.
1,000 trucks almost ready if representative can be sent to negotiate and sign contract.53 List of available trucks delivered.
Reparations must be discussed in Moscow (nothing was said of Government’s projected trip to Moscow August 6).
Interest was expressed in improving treaty of 193154 which I emphasized is still in force.
Economic experts should be exchanged.
Telegram should be sent to Paris authorizing visas for Bauer and Grady.55

Bierut then at my request gave me following commitments:

We can have Consulates at Gdansk, Cracow, Lodz, Poznan and Breslau.
We can have radio station in Embassy both transmitting and receiving.
We can fly ATC56 planes into Warsaw without previous permission.
United States newspaper correspondents can enter Poland and report (to avoid possible difficulties or misunderstandings I suggest that each case be taken up specifically with Embassy).
Polish Government delighted to have Congressional Committee (Department’s telegram 3445, July 24, to Paris57). Polish Government and I agree that members should see Warsaw, Lublin and Majdanek concentration camps. I think they should also see Gdansk and certain other regions if time permits.

I did not mention elections at this meeting believing it unwise to irritate an already sore spot. If I thought that the Poles were really masters in their own house, I would feel differently in proffering advice.

  1. Boleslaw Bierut, President of the National Council of the Homeland (Krajowa Rada Narodowa) in the Polish Provisional Government.
  2. Wincenty Rzymowski, Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  3. Zygmunt Modzelewski, Polish Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  4. Lt. William Tonesk, U.S. Navy, aide and interpreter to Ambassador Lane; as of October 26, 1945, Assistant Naval Attaché and Assistant Naval Attaché for Air in the American Embassy in Poland.
  5. Not printed; in this telegram Ambassador Lane reported on the presentation of his credentials to President Bierut on August 4.
  6. Ambassador W. Averell Harriman at Moscow.
  7. Foreign Relations, The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference), 1945, vol. i, p. 788.
  8. For a more detailed description of this conversation, see Arthur Bliss Lane, I Saw Poland Betrayed: An American Ambassador Reports to the American People (New York, Indianapolis, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1948), pp. 141–148.
  9. United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. For documentation regarding the participation by the United States in the work of UNRRA for the year 1945, see vol. ii, pp. 958 ff.
  10. Regarding the delays experienced by UNRRA representatives in obtaining permission to enter Poland, see Lane, I Saw Poland Betrayed, p. 143.
  11. Export-Import Bank of Washington.
  12. For previous documentation regarding plans to provide Poland with 1,000 surplus Army trucks to be supplied on dollar credit terms, see telegram 154 July 28, 1945, from the Chief of the Division of Lend-Lease and Surplus War Property Affairs, Frank W. Fetter, to Assistant Secretary of State William Clayton at Babelsberg, Conference of Berlin (Potsdam), vol. ii, p. 1153.
  13. Treaty of friendship, commerce and consular rights between the United States and Poland, signed June 15, 1931; for text, see Foreign Relations, 1931, vol. ii, p. 938.
  14. Dr. J. H. Bauer, a representative of the American Red Cross and a specialist in public health, and his assistant, Harry P. Grady, had been waiting in Paris for visas for Poland since early July 1945.
  15. Air Transport Command.
  16. Not printed; it stated that the Department attached great importance to the trip of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the House of Representatives which included a stop at Warsaw scheduled for August 18–19 (120.1/7–2445). The subcommittee consisted of Congresswoman Frances P. Bolton of Ohio, and Congressmen Karl E. Mundt of South Dakota, Thomas S. Gordon of Illinois, and Joseph F. Ryter of Connecticut. In his telegram 163, August 28, 4 p.m., the Ambassador in Poland reported on the reception given to the subcommittee on August 27 by President Bierut (860C.00/8–2845). This reception (erroneously dated September 27) is described in Lane, I Saw Poland Betrayed, p. 179.