Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of Protocol (Woodward)

Participants: The President
Josef Winiewicz, Polish Ambassador
Stanley Woodward, Chief of Protocol

The President received the new Polish Ambassador, Josef Winiewicz, at 12:00 noon today.

After an exchange of courtesies, the Ambassador said that he considered it a great honor to represent his country in Washington, that these were critical times for his country and that it would be his mission to send to Warsaw such communications that we might have to make to the Polish Government and that he would undertake in turn to keep us informed of developments in his country. The Ambassador also said that Poland would never forget the help given by the U.S. at the end of the first World War and at the end of the second World War.

The President replied that we should like to be helpful and that as the Ambassador had stated, we had proven our desire by our actions; the United States had made heavy sacrifices during this war; we did not seek territorial gains or reparations and we did not believe that dividing up spoils among the victors was the way to peace. The President went on to say that we did not like the elections held in Poland, that they were not in accordance with the Agreement made at Yalta nor with the terms of the Agreement made at Potsdam and that we wanted to be on friendly terms with Poland but that the Polish Government would have to make that possible. The President said that he was not unmindful of the terrible times through which Poland [Page 418] had passed and that the long established friendship between our two nations gave us a most friendly sympathy toward that country, that he repeated we wished to continue on friendly terms with Poland if possible, and that he had nothing further to say.1

The President thereupon arose and terminated the visit, something which I have never seen him do before.

  1. For the texts of the prepared remarks exchanged between President Truman and Ambassador Winiewicz on the occasion of the presentation of the Ambassador’s letters of credence, see Department of State Bulletin, February 16, 1947, pp. 298–299.