611.60C31/7–2947: Telegram

The Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Clayton 1) to the Under Secretary of State (Lovett)


3010. For Lovett from Clayton. As per arrangement, Mr. Minc2 called to see me in Geneva yesterday and he and Dr. Lychkowski, acting as interpreter, had lunch with me.

Mr. Mine stated that he hoped very much that Poland’s abstention from participation Paris conference3 would not have any effect on their trade relations with the United States and expressed the hope specifically that no barriers would be placed in the way of such trade.

I told Mr. Mine that the matter to which he referred was something that had taken place since I left home and that I was not in position to make any final statement on the subject but that my own view was that Poland’s refusal to take part in Paris conference was a political decision made for her by others; was contrary to the real interests and desires of Poland and that I did not believe should result in the erection of any barriers against normal commercial transactions between Poland and the United States. I added, however, that, in my opinion, such transactions would be on a different basis due to such decision. Upon being asked for an interpretation of this remark I stated that I felt sure under the circumstances Poland could not expect any assistance from the United States in the way of credits or otherwise; that when Poland had something to sell which we wanted to buy we would be in the market to purchase such commodities for cash and that when Poland wished to buy something which we had for sale I knew of no reason why she should not make such purchases also for cash.

[Page 436]

I added that numerous incidents had recently occurred in the relations between the United States and Poland which gave us the impression that the Polish Government had an unfriendly attitude toward the United States. I did not include in these incidents the most recent one in which Poland refused to participate in the Paris conference of European nations for working out a plan for the rehabilitation of Europe because we had the distinct impression that this decision was one that was made for Poland against her interests and against her desires. I did refer to the demand of the Polish Government for the removal of the plane of our Air Attaché at Warsaw; the arrest of the air crew of the plane of the Harrison Mission4; the great delay and difficulty which our mission in Warsaw had in arranging contacts and conferences with American citizens in Poland; the refusal of Poland to enter into an aviation agreement with the United States, the attacks in the Polish press on the United States.

Mr. Minc said that there could be no question of an unfriendly attitude on the part of Poland toward the United States, that he knew very little about most of the incidents to which I had referred but he did know something about the so-called arrest of the crew of the plane of the Harrison Mission; that the facts were that the Harrison plane arrived with due notice and the compliance of all usual formalities but that the plane promptly returned to Berlin, reappearing at the airport at Warsaw after a lapse of 3 or 4 days and this time without any notice whatever or compliance with formalities and, under these circumstances, the people at the airport had no other recourse but to detain the members of the crew for a short period until they could get the necessary instructions; that this detention lasted only about 30 minutes or 1 hour at the most and that it certainly could not be referred to as an arrest.

Mr. Minc stated that he was only the Minister of Commerce and Industry of a small country and that he had nothing to do with important political decisions of the great powers but that he was deeply interested in maintaining friendly commercial relations with the west, that he was now in Paris engaged in the negotiation of a trade agreement between France and Poland, that the orientation of Poland’s economy lay mainly toward the west and that there was no reason so far as he knew why this should not continue and expand. He asked about the International Bank and whether the Paris matter would affect Poland’s application to the bank for credits with which to expand her productive capacity of coal.

I replied to Mr. Mine that I agreed fully with his remark that Poland’s commercial interests and contacts were predominantly with [Page 437] the west and that this would undoubtedly continue unless the decisions of politicians should temporarily make it otherwise. I said that in regards credits, my previous remarks had referred only to credits of United States Government agencies, that so far as the International Bank is concerned I could not speak with any authority but that the International Bank obtains all its lending funds through the sale of debentures to the American public and that I felt that the bank would have great difficulty in selling debentures to the American public for the purpose of obtaining funds with which to make loans to Poland in view of what had happened.

Mr. Minc stated that they had now expanded their coal production to about 57 million tons which was about as far as they can go by their own unaided efforts, that if they could obtain the desired credit from the International Bank they could expand production in 1948 by another 10 million tons and in 1949 by an additional 10 million tons. He said that of the 57 million tons which will be produced in 1947, 19½ million tons will be exported, of which only 6 million tons will go to Russia, He said that the desired credit is for the purpose of re-equipping the coal mines and for port reconstruction; that the internal transportation system can be expanded to the desired limit without external aid. He said that Poland is now producing locomotives at the rate of 20 per month and railway cars at the rate of 1,000 a month.

I was greatly surprised at these figures.

Mr. Mine said that Poland requires 90,000 tons of cotton annually of which Russia will furnish 50,000 tons, making it necessary for them to purchase 40,000 tons outside, that the cotton textile industry is working at only 80% of capacity due to difficulty in obtaining the necessary raw materials. I have grave doubts that Russia is supplying as much as 50,000 tons of raw cotton to Poland. If she is doing so, it is only under extreme pressure and not because she has any such quantity as a normal surplus.

The interview was friendly throughout but very frank on both sides and the situation was left so that we have complete freedom of action. Since increased production of coal in Europe in the quickest possible time is the most important problem in European reconstruction, I recommend that the Department raise no objection to consideration by the International Bank of the extension of a credit to Poland for re-equipping her coal mines and such reconstruction of her ports as may be necessary to move the coal export on the understanding of course that no increase in the export of coal to Russia would take place. Aside from the above reason, I believe it is important for the United States to maintain commercial relations with Poland and other [Page 438] countries similarly situated, believing it is in our long-term interest to do so. Such policy will make it much more difficult for Russia to maintain her hold on these countries.

Sent Department as 3010; repeated Warsaw as 128.

  1. Under Secretary Clayton was serving as Chairman of the United States Delegation to the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment, held in Geneva, April 10–October 30. For documentation on those meetings, see volume i : United States interest in international economic collaboration. This telegram was sent through the facilities of the Embassy in Paris.
  2. This meeting between Under Secretary Clayton and Polish Minister of Trade and Industry, Mine, had been arranged at the request of the Polish Delegation of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, then meeting in Geneva.
  3. The Conference of European Economic Cooperation, July 12–September 22. For documentation regarding this conference, see volume iii : The political and economic crisis in Europe.
  4. Regarding the Harrison Mission under reference here, see the editorial note, supra.