711.60C/2–1747: Telegram

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


279. February 15 I called on Premier Cyrankiewicz1 accompanied by Keith2 and Zagorski3 to pay my respects and to take leave. Am reporting fully by airgram4 interview which lasted 90 minutes. As Cyran was not responsible for actions of Polish Government prior to his taking office and as I am leaving Poland it was possible for me to have franker talk regarding our dissatisfaction regarding present Polish-American relations than I have been able up to now.

I said I did not wish to discuss elections as our position has been so fully made known by Department in its various notes and in Secretary Marshall’s statement January 28.5 I emphasized obstructionist attitude of Polish Government and especially of Foreign Office in matters vitally concerning US such as protection American citizens, attitude of government-controlled press, aviation agreement and many other individual cases.

I said that press was continually stressing Soviet friendship for Poland and resulting aid from Soviet Union but in effect Soviet Union had refused Polish request for 500,000 tons of grain and in my opinion Soviet Government could not furnish financial aid to Poland. Cyran expressed agreement. That being case from what source was Poland to obtain financial assistance so sorely needed at this time? I asked Cyran how Polish Government in light of its continual attacks on US and hostile attitude displayed publicly can expect US to furnish financial assistance. I pointed to our great material aid furnished through UNKRA as well as through private [Page 419] relief organizations $90 million credits furnished by US Government and in turn Polish Government treats US as though we were Poland’s most dangerous enemy.

Cyran did not deny my charges but indicated that persons in government attacking US did not truly represent government’s views. I begged to differ with him saying that I had been brought up on theory that Foreign Ministry is always official government mouthpiece.

Cyrankiewicz said that regardless of attitude which Polish Government had assumed towards US which he deprecated he hoped we would not desert Poland. If we should cut off assistance we would push Poland to the east and would make Poland more dependent economically and politically on Soviet Union than is now the case. He said that he and leaders of Socialist Party wished to regain independence for Poland but this is not possible unless Poland has closer ties with west.

I concluded interview by stressing importance for Poland’s own sake that Polish Government embark on new policy and spontaneously indicate desire to cultivate our friendship rather than obstruct our attempts to protect our interests and to work more harmoniously together.

Cyran impressed me as quiet spoken strong and resourceful man with keen appreciation of Poland’s precarious position due to geographical reasons. In my opinion he has courage tempered with discretion. With exception of Mikolajczyk he is first Polish Government official with whom I have spoken who has been bold enough to admit that Polish Government is under domination Soviet Union and that it is not independent to act on its own initiative.

The important question now to determine is whether Cyran will be permitted by Moscow masters of this government to issue a strong policy or whether he may modify attitude which he expressed to me because of realization that he could not go counter to line charted by Soviet Government.

  1. Józef Cyrankiewicz, General Secretary of the Polish Socialist Party, was designated Prime Minister in the new Polish Cabinet formed on February 7.
  2. Gerald Keith, Counselor of the Embassy in Warsaw.
  3. Steven Zagorski, Foreign Service staff officer in the Embassy in Warsaw, who served as interpreter for Ambassador Lane.
  4. Airgram 111, February 18, from Warsaw, not printed (711.60C/2–1847).
  5. See the editorial note, p. 414.