860C.51/11–945: Telegram

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

543. In talk November 7 of more than one hour with Rajchman he urged on me need for granting credits to Poland. He said he had received cool reception in Washington and he would be glad to know reasons therefor. I said that I could not answer for Washington but I could say that as I had previously mentioned to him I personally was opposed to credits being granted until four questions are satisfactorily solved: Rate of exchange, nationalization of industrial property, freedom of press and terroristic arrests by security police.

Rajchman replied that rate of exchange question could be solved easily by Polish Government granting to us an unlimited credit in zlotys, amount of which would be refunded once Poland becomes member of International Stabilization Fund.69 Not knowing details of conditions of Polish adherence thereto I did not comment on this point.
Rajchman said that after long talk with Mine he is convinced that Polish Government wishes to meet our views regarding adequate compensation for properties which are to be nationalized.
As to freedom of press he said that American correspondents are perfectly free to report information even though not agreeable to Polish Government. I agreed that this is now the case and I said that I would likewise report to Dept that freedom of press in Poland appears now to be greater than before. I said however that I felt sure that this condition is partly due to our representations in the matter. He expressed agreement with me that great frankness in our relations with Polish Government would have salutary effect. I am glad to record that there has been an improvement with respect to freedom of expression of press: more newspapers have appeared and criticism of the Govt on the part of the Catholic Tygodnik Powszechny70 had been printed. Furthermore American correspondents have freely reported re conditions in Poland.
Rajchman claimed he had no information regarding the arrests of Americans and others. On November 6 Berman admitted to me that arrests for political offenses are taking place and said that it would be “illogical not to take action against our adversaries”. I replied that this condition would not be understood by United States public and that if known it would have very unfortunate effect on United States relations with Poland.

He said that in his opinion elections could not take place prior to middle of calendar year of 1946. One reason was lack of transport. I said I had recommended to Dept that 3-year credit for 1000 trucks which had been previously promised in Paris should be granted71 this being in addition to trucks obtained by Polish Govt, from UNRRA.

I am strongly of the opinion that maintenance of firm attitude against suppression of liberties will have most important effect here as is already noticeable with respect to liberalization of press comments. In order faithfully to carry out Dept’s policy I feel that I should be in a position to receive personally from Dept detailed instructions regarding relationship of Polish situation to our international relationships as a whole. I likewise believe it would be advantageous to Dept if I could give orally my impressions of a nation [Page 411] which has been cut off from normal communication with the US for almost 6 years. Furthermore I feel that my position vis-à-vis Polish Government would be strengthened following my return.

I recommend that I be instructed to proceed to Washington about Dec. 1st for consultation for a period not exceeding 10 days. If Dept concurs I would bring Lovell72 with me to arrange many administrative problems which confront us here.

  1. i.e., International Monetary Fund.
  2. A Catholic weekly newspaper published in Krakow.
  3. In his telegram 470, October 25, 6 p.m., the Ambassador in Poland reported that the Poles had shown no desire to conclude the 1000-truck deal in its original form and the trucks originally segregated for the purpose had been returned to the general pool of the Army–Navy Liquidation Commission: the Ambassador stated that the delay had been and continued to be due to the failure of the Poles to state what they wanted (860C.24/10–2545). In telegram 262, November 9. 4 p.m., to Warsaw, the Department concurred in the Ambassador’s recommendation that the 3-year credit, without down payment, continue to be extended to Poland for the purchase of 1000 trucks (860C.24/11–945).
  4. Alfred H. Lovell, Jr., Third Secretary of Embassy.