360C.1121/10–3145: Telegram

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

508. On October 26 I presented note to Foreign Office regarding 13 presumptive American citizens whose arrests in Poland have been reported to us. This list included Lalik and Chmielowiec who have been released (mytel 420, October 16, 3 p.m.53). I pointed out in note that only three notes sent to Ministry had been answered and that of three replies received, none stated: (1) Basis for accusations against persons involved (2) whether accused had enjoyed freedom of access to Polish courts of justice guaranteed to American citizens under article 1 of treaty of friendship, commerce and consular rights (3) what steps had been taken to effect release of persons mentioned in view of absence of charges made through normal judicial channels.

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Note expressed my deep concern regarding inadequate information received from Polish Govt as well as fact that none of persons arrested had communicated with Embassy while under detention thus giving rise to belief that they were prevented from doing so. I said that I was further disturbed by reiterated reports that claimants to American citizenship imprisoned for alleged political offenses are generally held incommunicado and have on occasion been physically maltreated by police authorities in attempt to extract information from them.

My note concludes by requesting at the earliest date a full report of present status of each person mentioned as well as confirmation of oral statement made to me by Modzelewski on October 19 that officers of this Embassy would be permitted to interview all persons claiming American citizenship held under arrest by Polish authorities.54

Prior to interview with Modzelewski, I had seen Minister of Justice55 who offered to exercise good offices with Minister of Security56 to obtain release of presumptive American citizens. Minister said that such an arrangement would have to have approval of Foreign Office which had not informed Justice of arrests mentioned. He said that police system has unfortunately temporarily replaced judicial procedure in Poland.

Modzelewski later told me that all cases had been referred to Ministry of Justice.

I have endeavored for past 2 weeks to have interview with Minister of Security or with his deputy. All requests have been evaded by various excuses.57

Copy of note being forwarded by despatch.58

  1. Not printed; the Ambassador reported having received from the Polish Foreign Office notes regarding three American citizens arrested by Polish authorities (360C.1121/10–1645).
  2. In airgram A–504, December 17, the Ambassador reported that in a conversation with the Polish Foreign Minister he again had requested to be permitted to interview presumptive American citizens under arrest (360C.1121/12–1745).
  3. Henryk Swiatkowski.
  4. Stanislaw Radkiewicz, who was also a leader in the Polish Workers’ Party.
  5. An unsigned and undated memorandum transmitted to the Department in despatch 86, October 31, 1945, from Warsaw, lists 15 separate occasions between October 13 and October 23 when Lieutenant Tonesk tried unsuccessfully to obtain an appointment for the Ambassador at the Ministry of Security (360C.1121/10–3145).
  6. Despatch 86, October 31, not printed