860C.00/2–347: Telegram

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


179. For Secretary Marshall. On Feb 1 I had general talk with Premier1 to give him unofficially background as published in Sat Eve Post re US public opinion on Polish western frontiers and also to give him my impressions of present trends in US based on my recent trip home2 re supplying of food supplies to European countries. Principal reason for my asking interview was to impress on Osobka-Morawski great danger to Polish independence because of policy followed by Communists in Govt. I feel that Osobka’s position during next months will be increasingly precarious because of his PPS affiliation and I thought it well to make to him remarks such as “I know you are a Polish Patriot but I am very apprehensive re attitude of Communists in Govt who are Communists first and Poles second.”

2. I explained reason for Secretary Byrnes’ Stuttgart speech3 and said that it was unfair and inaccurate on part of Polish Govt press to interpret it as contrary to Polish interests. On contrary it was a protection to Poland because it impeded unilateral action against Poland. [Page 415] It is significant that Osobka made no comment except at times to smile which led me to believe that he was not in disagreement with my statements re danger Communist domination of Poland. In my opinion he is fully cognizant of Red plans for elimination all independent elements—even relatively subservient Govt controlled PPS—from political life in Poland. I made it clear that views expressed were purely personal and that I had no instructions on subject but from recent trip home I was convinced American people are fed up with Communist attempts dominate Europe and rest of world. I said American people slow to take action but once we become aroused as in case of Hitler we don’t give up until job is finished. I said I hoped Communists would realize this before it is too late.

3. On food situation I said there is great reluctance on part of American public to furnish supplies to European countries unless distribution is controlled by US. Use of UNRRA supplies for political purposes in Yugoslavia was cited as one reason for this attitude. (For reasons of tact I did not refer to irregularities in Poland re distribution of UNRRA supplies.) I also mentioned that abundant food supply available in Poland for those who have sufficient financial means would be an argument to Congress for wondering why Poland should be given further food supplies. (Osobka said Poland would be in serious need of cereals before next harvest.) We discussed rationing of foodstuffs. Osobka said Polish Govt wished to maintain open market but that any one who had money could buy all he wanted. I indicated my opinion that if only rich people could have abundant food Polish Govt policy is undemocratic and unjust. He said Poles were so accustomed during occupation to violations of Nazi regulations—then considered to be patriotic duty—that rationing restrictions would be violated in any case even today.

In answer to my question he said that he had never received letter from La Guardia since latter’s trip to Poland.4 Although I did not say so I had in mind La Guardia’s promise to me to write re Polish Govt’s permitting American Embassy to have access to American citizens arrested for political reasons.5

Conversation was conducted on most cordial and friendly plane. I did not mention recent elections. Feeling that PSL will be out of Govt after Feb 4 I wished to give some hope to leader of only element [Page 416] left in Govt which in its heart of hearts is anti-Communist and nationalistic that all our eggs are not in Mikolajczyk basket much as we may deplore measures taken against him and his party.

At close of interview Osobka requested me send you his most sincere good wishes.

  1. Edward Osobka-Morawski, Prime Minister of the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity.
  2. Ambassador Lane was in the United States during October and November 1946 for consultation; for his own account of the trip, see Lane, I Saw Poland Betrayed, Chapter xviii.
  3. For the text of the Secretary of State’s speech on American policy toward Germany, delivered in Stuttgart on September 6, 1946, see Department of State Bulletin, September 15, 1946, pp. 496–501.
  4. Fiorello La Guardia, Director General of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, visited Poland in August 1946.
  5. In a letter to La Guardia dated February 1, not printed, Ambassador Lane protested strongly against the errors in fact and criticism of American diplomatic representatives contained in an article by La Guardia published in the newspaper PM on January 4, 1947. Ambassador Lane also protested against La Guardia’s failure to write a letter to Polish Prime Minister protesting against the treatment of American citizens in Poland. (Polish Desk File: Lot 58 D 407: File “Arthur Bliss Lane”)