860C.00/8–2245: Telegram

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

124. Premier Osubka-Morawski61 in long talk with me yesterday welcomed visit Congressional Committee and arrival press association representatives to allay misunderstandings in US regarding present conditions in Poland and policy Polish Government. He said that prior to 1939 US had little confidence in Poland and therefore Poland was unable to obtain economic advantages which other European nations were given. He is anxious to create confidence in Poland so that investments from US will be attracted.

I said that in my opinion news blackout in Poland, since departure of Germans, is largely responsible for suspicions in US but that likewise inability of American Red Cross and UNRRA to obtain visas to come into Poland over long period of months had created impression, even in some US Government circles, that there must be something which Polish Government or other authorities wished to conceal from US. Giving facilities to newspaper correspondents to see conditions for themselves should in my opinion dispel any feeling of uncertainty in US.

Emphasizing that I was speaking privately and not under instructions I said that I was very much disturbed regarding present economic and financial policy of the Polish Government which, if allowed to continue, would undermine confidence in Poland and would discourage investment of American capital in reconstruction of Poland. I referred to arbitrary issuance of different rates of exchange for separate transactions as announced by Finance Minister.62 Morawski claimed to know nothing of this but admitted he is not an economist. I then referred to Polish agreement with Soviet Union [Page 365] regarding export of coal in return for goods,63 this being nothing but clearing agreement along lines of Nazi and Fascist commercial policy and contrary to our foreign economic policy of encouraging free private trade among nations. I observed this why barter arrangement is producing no foreign exchange for Poland.

Morawski said that Poland wishes to encourage private trade which in past was conducted principally by Jews who have now virtually entirely disappeared. Government will, however, encourage reestablishment of private trade provided it is serious and not speculative. He divided Polish internal trade into three parts: (1) Government supply centers; (2) cooperatives and (3) non speculative private trade.

I informed Morawski that Government had yesterday offered to give to Diplomatic Corps rate of exchange of 150 to dollar. I said that as present black market rate is over 200 this would seem inevitable [inequitable?] and would not encourage American businessmen and correspondents to come to Poland. Furthermore, it would not encourage persons of Polish descent in the US to send financial assistance to families in Poland, this having been in the past a considerable source of Polish foreign exchange. He said that no foreign exchange policy yet determined by Government and he invited our suggestion.

Morawski said he would give very serious consideration to my observations. In the meantime, I should be grateful if Department would give me such instructions as it considers appropriate regarding effect of present Soviet controlled economic policy on our future economic relations with Poland and specifically with respect to financial assistance which may be contemplated by our Government through Export-Import Bank. In other words, I believe that the present is a timely moment in which to impress upon the Polish Government that if it expects our wholehearted assistance the cooperation between the two countries must not be unilateral.

  1. Edward Boleslaw Osubka-Morawski, Prime Minister in the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity.
  2. In his telegram No. 85, August 13, the Ambassador in Poland reported on a speech made August 9 by Konstanty Dabrowski, Minister of Finance in the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity. In his speech Finance Minister Dabrowski stated that the Government did not intend to establish a general rate of exchange for the zloty (the Polish currency) in relation to other currencies. (860C.51/8–1345) For a summary of the speech, see Lane, I Saw Poland Betrayed, p. 155.
  3. On July 7, 1945, the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity and the Soviet Government concluded a trade agreement which provided for Polish exports to the Soviet Union of five million metric tons of coal and other materials in return for Soviet deliveries of various materials and goods.