Warsaw Embassy Files: 110 Policy Statements
Department of State Policy Statement1
The long-term objective of U.S. policy toward Poland is the elimination of Soviet-Communist control over the country and the creation of conditions for the development of a free, independent, and peaceful Polish state, which would be able, without interference from abroad, to determine its own relations with other states, especially the US. More immediate objectives are to demonstrate US interest in and continuing concern for the Polish people, and, by appropriate means, to sustain indigenous opposition to the present Polish regime. Our economic policy toward Poland currently seeks to prevent the Polish economy from contributing to the Soviet military potential, while at the same time allowing for an expansion of trade, on a selective basis, between Poland and western European countries of a character to benefit western European economy.
Internally, the Polish Communist Government is in firm control and the communization of Poland is proceeding steadily along the Soviet model. In the international arena, Poland is a loud and consistent supporter of the Kremlin’s foreign policies. With such close synchronization with Moscow, therefore, it is clear that US policy toward Poland cannot now be dissociated from the course of our relations with the USSR.
Though the Polish Government is completely hostile, the great majority of the Polish people are friendly toward the west, particularly the US. The United States has a deep reservoir of good will among the Polish population, which is an asset we intend to preserve. Accordingly, in the conduct of our relations with Poland, we find it useful to make a distinction between the Polish Government and the Polish people. Our efforts are directed toward facilitating the people [Page 503] of Poland to recover the ability to determine their own political orientation and to choose a representative government which will reflect their national aspirations. We are thus constantly endeavoring, by whatever means practicable, to demonstrate our interest in, and sympathy for, the Polish people, and at the same time to register our disapproval of the aims and tactics of the Communist-dominated government, which has been established against the will of the Polish people. Our purpose is not to excite the masses to open rebellion, which would be disastrous and futile at this time, but rather to strengthen hope and discourage apathy. Great caution is therefore required both in our disparagement of the government and in our appeals to the populace. We are bearing in mind, in this connection, that there are elements of potential disaffection within the regime itself. This exists not only among Socialists whose long-established party was ruthlessly amalgamated with the Communist Party in December, 1948, but also within the Communist Party ranks, as the deviation of former Vice-Premier Gomulka last summer demonstrated.2
We are presently according serious attention to the situation of the Catholic Church, which is coming under sharper government attack in Poland. Of the 24 million Poles, approximately 95 per cent are Catholic. The Church is well-organized and plays a large part in the education and social life of the Polish people. Church-State relations are now entering their most serious stage to date, with the government attacking on the lower levels of the hierarchy rather than at the top as was the case in Hungary. The complaints against the Church include the charge that the clergy has patronized and even cooperated with “criminal and anti-state groups, which are agencies of Anglo-American imperalism.” The Church has indicated it will not bow to the government without a major struggle. It is in our interest to help keep this potent and indigenous opposition to Communism in Poland alive and active by whatever means possible.
In our view, the existing differences and disunity among the exiled Polish political leaders is unfortunate, and, consequently, we look with favor upon the efforts currently being made by these leaders to unite; not, however, as a government-in-exile, but rather as a committee, council, or similarly organized body which would be broadly based and representative of thought and opinion among Poles abroad and [Page 504] would eschew immediate governmental aspirations. Such a unification of the Polish emigrés would undoubtedly have a beneficial effect inside Poland and would also be consistent with plans regarding similarly organized exile groups from several other eastern European countries.
As the Polish people fully realize, the US furnished much of the money and supplies for the large UNRRA aid Poland received, and we have also given substantial help to the United Nations child feeding program currently operating in the country. In implementing our policy of aiding the Polish people, we offer encouragement to the numerous foreign voluntary relief agencies, including about ten American organizations, functioning in Poland. Our support of these purely humanitarian activities should be continued so long as no controls are established by the Polish authorities which would alter the present character or purpose of the work. Recent reports indicate, however, that most of the foreign agencies may be forced to liquidate their Polish operations by the Polish Government, which feels that the post-war emergency period is now over and that there is no further need for the presence of foreigners in Poland to aid in distributing relief.
All information media in Poland are under the strict supervision of the government, with the result that the population is exposed to a constant flow of violent anti-American propaganda through the press and radio, as well as by other means. We do what we can in a hostile atmosphere and with limited facilities to counteract this propaganda. Perhaps our best weapon is the Voice of America, which has a large audience in Poland. Supplementing the radio broadcasts is the Wireless Bulletin. Although limited to a few thousand copies weekly, the Polish edition of the Bulletin is remarkably effective, and has become a favorite target for criticism by the government, which recently declared the Embassy official responsible for the Bulletin’s publication persona non grata and demanded his immediate recall.3 The Polish authorities have repeatedly expressed the view that the Bulletin should inform Poles exclusively about conditions in the US and exclude news from other countries. Our policy, however, is to make available to the Poles information about important world developments wherever they may occur, in view of the exclusion of so much news of this character from their own press and radio. Despite the increasing difficulties under which we operate there, our information program should be continued not only because it falls upon receptive ears but also because it is a live medium of contact with the Polish people and a symbol of our continuing interest in them.
Among the numerous irritants characterizing our current relations [Page 505] with Poland, none is regarded more seriously by the Polish Government than our policy respecting the Polish-German frontier, provisionally fixed by the Potsdam Agreement which placed an area of eastern Germany under Polish administration pending the final determination of the border. Our attitude toward this boundary question is that we will support a revision of Germany’s eastern frontiers in favor of Poland, but the extent of the area to be ceded to Poland is for determination when the final settlement is agreed upon. This statement of the American position was made by Secretary Byrnes at Stuttgart, Germany, in 1946.4 The policy was reaffirmed and further clarified by Secretary Marshall’s statement during the 1947 meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers at Moscow that the needs of the Polish and German peoples and of Europe as a whole should be taken into consideration in establishing the boundary.5
The permanent incorporation of these “Recovered Territories” into Poland is strongly supported by Poles at home and abroad, and is one of the few sources of popular support in Poland for the present Communist-controlled government. Among the major powers, the Soviet Union alone supports the Polish position on this issue. Our policy is continually exploited by the Polish Government, which plays upon popular sentiment in Poland in an endeavor to demonstrate that the US is supporting a recrudescent Germany and is more friendly to a [Page 506] former enemy than to Poland. Poland’s fear of Germany is genuine, and the permanent incorporation of these former German provinces into Poland represents a major Polish objective rather than a policy laid down by Moscow and concurred in by Poland. Poland’s continuing efforts to secure the support of the principal western powers, including the US for final establishment of the Oder-Neisse line would seem to suggest some doubt on the part of the Poles as to the sincerity of the existing Soviet guarantee of the frontier, as well as a fear that the Kremlin might eventually shift the border in Germany’s favor if such action would further Soviet objectives in Germany.
Last January, in furtherance of its campaign for the permanent incorporation of this former German territory into the Polish State, the Polish Parliament approved a law abolishing the Ministry for the Recovered Territories and transferring to the jurisdiction of the otherwise competent Ministries all matters which hitherto had fallen under the jurisdiction of the Ministry for the Recovered Territories. The effect of this law is to integrate the area into the general body politic of Poland. The Polish Government has deported from this territory all but a small proportion of the German citizens and racial Germans resident there at the close of the war and is proceeding with the resettlement of the area with Poles.
Since the war we have had considerable difficulties with the Polish Government in connection with our efforts to interview and assist several thousand residents of Poland who claim American citizenship. Most of these people are dual nationals, possessing both Polish and US citizenship. As Polish law does not recognize dual nationality, the Polish authorities regard these individuals exclusively as Polish citizens and, consequently, reject our contention that they may also be US nationals. A mixed Polish-American Nationality Commission was set up in Warsaw to resolve this complicated problem but was unsuccessful owing to the uncompromising attitude of the Polish members. The Commission was dissolved in 1948 at our suggestion, and we issued a warning about the Polish interpretation of their citizenship laws for the information of those who may contemplate travelling to Poland. During recent months the efforts of our Embassy at Warsaw to protect the interests of individuals recognized by the Polish authorities as possessing US citizenship exclusively have met with some success.
Poland is active in United Nations affairs. Their delegates are usually more familiar with life in the west than are the representatives from the USSR, the Ukrainian SSR, and the Byelorussian SSR, and their argumentation is generally likely to be more suave. However, the current chief Polish delegate to the UN, Julijusz Katz-Suchy, combines extreme bluntness and vigor in his attacks on the US with considerable knowledge of life in this country and acute perception of [Page 507] what arguments are likely to prove most difficult for us to answer. On political issues the Poles vote with the Soviets. Poland has taken the lead for the eastern European bloc in introducing the Spanish question into United Nations discussions and in pressing for measures designed to effect the removal of the Franco regime.6 The Polish delegation has also expressed special concern with the problem of Germany, particularly the Berlin situation.7 Poland is a member of the United Nations Special Committee on the Balkans but, like the USSR, has refused to occupy its seat.8 The Poles maintain a permanent resident delegation to the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) in Geneva. Both the resident delegate as well as special delegates to particular meetings, although consistently voting with the USSR and following the Soviet lead in debate, have shown a readiness, especially in meetings where the Soviets were not present, to work out compromise solutions and an apparent desire to use the Commission as one means of maintaining economic contacts with the west.
The government exercises almost exclusive control over the economy of Poland, which is gradually being shaped to serve the long-range objectives developed by the Kremlin for the Soviet-satellite area. Polish industry has been almost completely nationalized and a sweeping program of land reform, involving the division of large estates and the transfer of population from former eastern Poland now incorporated into the USSR to the eastern German provinces now under Polish administration, has been carried out. Furthermore, during recent months a program for the collectivization of Polish agriculture has been announced. Foreign trade, which is subject to strict exchange and licensing controls, is conducted largely by state trading organizations, with an ever diminishing volume falling to private hands. Poland is now in the final year of its Three Year Plan, a short-term program designed primarily to raise the standard of living which had declined severely during the war, and expects to embark in 1950 on a more ambitious plan designed to convert a largely agricultural economy to one predominantly industrialized.
Establishment in Moscow of the “Council for Mutual Economic Assistance”9 reveals Soviet intentions to coordinate the economies of the satellite countries within a general plan developed by the Council. [Page 508] Beginning with 1950 the economic plans of all member countries are to be drawn up in conformity with the “advice” of the Council, which all members are “obligated to accept and follow.” Within the last year Poland and Czechoslovakia have agreed on joint development of Upper Silesia, which is to become a “Second Ruhr” with large-scale coal, steel, and electric power enterprises. While the Polish-Czech joint development scheme is so far the most tangible illustration of the sort of coordination the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance may foreshadow, there are recent indications of an economic rapprochement between Poland and the Soviet Zone of Germany, undoubtedly sponsored by the Soviets, which point in a similar direction.
Our economic policy toward Poland is now designed to support major US foreign policy objectives in Europe, particularly the limitation of eastern Europe’s war potential and the recovery and development of the economies of western Europe. In the interest of our own national security and for the purpose of giving priority on US exports to the nations participating in the ERP, the present system of licensing nearly all US exports to European countries was begun in March 1948. In applying these controls to Poland, our objectives are to prevent the export of goods to Poland that would markedly strengthen Polish or Soviet military potential, and to assure the supplies of commodities required by ERP countries.10
In 1942 and again in 1946, we sought and received assurances from the Polish Government that it would not adopt measures prejudicial to the objectives of the World Conference on Trade and Employment. Since then, Polish representatives have attended the Geneva Trade Conference as observers and the Havana Trade Conference as delegates. However, Poland did not sign the Havana Charter for an international trade organization. Poland’s foreign trade is conducted almost entirely within the framework of bilateral quota and clearing agreements, which appear to discriminate in favor of eastern Europe. There is little likelihood that Poland will abandon a policy of bilateral trade, particularly so long as European currencies remain inconvertible. The only possibilities, therefore, that offer any hope for the development of less restrictive and less discriminatory trade policies are the conclusion of further Polish agreements with western Europe and the continued participation of Poland in international trade conferences.
The 1931 Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation between Poland and the US accords imports from Poland most-favored-nation treatment with respect to duties and quantitative restrictions. Under our March 1948 export regulations, exports from the US to Poland are restricted. Poland has charged the US with trade discrimination [Page 509] in violation of the principles of the UN Charter but violation of the 1931 Treaty has not yet been charged. Abrogation of this treaty, which has been considered, does not appear desirable at present.
Since the success of ERP, as presently conceived, depends upon a substantial volume of commerce between western and eastern Europe, we have not opposed the expansion of trade between Poland and western European countries on a selective basis. We seek, however, the voluntary agreement of western European countries, for security reasons, to maintain restrictions of exports to Poland similar to ours.
The International Bank has had under consideration a loan request by the Polish Government, which covers mining equipment for the expansion of Polish coal production. Although recognizing the significant economic reasons in favor of such a credit, we have considered that negative political considerations were overriding, especially Poland’s failure to meet international obligations such as compensation for nationalized properties. At present an International Bank coal mining equipment loan to Poland is considered to be less urgent in view of the greatly eased European coal supply situation.11
Based on the findings of the Timber Committee of the Economic Commission for Europe, the International Bank has been actively considering a timber credit to a number of timber-producing countries, including Poland. In view of the importance of additional timber supplies to western Europe, we interposed no objection to this credit. Poland, however, rejected participation in this credit because of the Bank’s failure to grant the coal equipment credit, and at the eighth session of the UN Economic and Social Council the Polish representative engaged in bitter recriminations against the Bank’s policies and those of the United States.12
In line with our traditional policy of non-interference with private commercial transactions, we would take no position regarding a private cotton credit to Poland through American exporters or banks, and US export licenses for cotton would probably be approved. A US Government cotton credit, it is felt, could only be justified by a substantial quid pro quo to the US or the OEEC countries, regardless of considerations concerning the importance of maintaining the Polish market for American cotton.
We should continue efforts to reach a settlement with Poland on the issue of compensation to US nationals for the loss of their property through nationalization. However, obtaining settlements on this issue must be considered secondary to our major political and economic objectives, such as national security, and east-west trade under ERP. [Page 510] We therefore should not yield to the Polish position that the settlement of this issue depends upon favorable US action on export licenses and financial assistance.
The bulk of Polish gold looted by the Germans does not appear to be monetary gold, and therefore Polish claims are not considered to be valid under the terms established by the Tripartite Gold Commission. Our policy with respect to Polish participation in the Gold Pool is that Poland is to be admitted under the same conditions as Austria and Italy; that is, if Poland signs a protocol agreeing to accept any allocation by the Tripartite Gold Commission in full satisfaction of all claims for looted monetary gold and agrees to other arrangements which have been made or will be made by the Gold Commission.
We continue to press for settlement of the Polish lend-lease account on the basis we have proposed—payment by the Polish Government of 125 million zlotys for use by the US Mission in Poland in final discharge of Polish financial obligations under the Lend-Lease Agreement. Our proposal also provides for the retention of US title to lend-lease arms and implements of war and for a mutual waiver of maritime claims arising since the outbreak of the war. The Polish Government has demanded certain export licenses as a condition for concluding a lend-lease settlement which, as in the case of the nationalization agreement discussed above, we do not find acceptable as a basis for negotiation.
During recent months Poland has manifested a lively interest in expanding its civil aviation services. In the western European area aviation privileges are currently desired in Belgium and Denmark, while in the Middle East, Egypt and Turkey are the principal targets. US civil aviation policy toward the Soviet Union and its satellites is set forth in National Security Council paper No. 15/1,13 and may be summarized briefly as follows: (1) to restrict the civil air operations of the USSR and its satellites to their own territory until the USSR grants, on a reciprocal basis, air rights in Soviet territory to the US and other states desiring such rights; (2) to prohibit the sale of aviation equipment and the use of maintenance facilities to the USSR and its satellites; and (3) to seek the cooperation of other non-curtain states in carrying out our policy on a “common front” basis. The State Department is actively engaged in endeavors to carry out the objectives of this policy, which is applicable to Poland as a satellite of the Soviet Union.14
c. relations with other states
The Soviet Union regards Poland as one of the most critical areas of its security zone in Europe. A large number of Soviet troops are [Page 511] still stationed on Polish territory under the pretext of safeguarding lines of communication with Germany. However, the Soviets have not thus far developed any antidotes for Polish nationalism, increasing dissatisfaction with economic conditions, Catholicism, and the individuality of the Polish peasant. The Kremlin’s problem remains one of converting Poland into a reliable dependency as quickly as possible and with the maximum cooperation of the Poles. Pressures exerted on the Soviets by the defection of Tito and the consolidation of the west have prompted Moscow to accelerate Poland’s Sovietization with unsatisfactory results to date. Divisive forces are operative within the United Polish Workers Party (Communist) and Soviet popularity has reportedly dropped to the lowest point since the war. Though active organized opposition cannot be expected, and would now be premature, the time of maximum Soviet and Communist appeal to the Poles has perhaps passed, except for the indoctrinable youth.
With the signing of a friendship treaty with Rumania in January 1949, Poland has concluded a network of mutual assistance pacts with all of the eastern European countries within the Soviet orbit except Albania and Finland. It is also bound to these states by a series of economic and cultural treaties designed to present a united Communist front throughout the orbit area. Among its allies aside from the USSR, Czechoslovakia is the most important. Despite a dormant territorial dispute and old animosities on both sides, the Soviet Union has succeeded in inducing these two countries to collaborate closely in the economic field. Polish-Czechoslovak economic integration includes the construction of joint industrial plants, the common development of the Silesian Basin, and increased use of the Oder and of Stettin as outlets for Czechoslovak products. The growing economic isolation of both countries from western markets increases their dependency on each other. Their rapprochement is undoubtedly designed to play an important role in augmenting the military, as well as the economic, potential of the eastern European bloc, and to mitigate the industrial drain on the USSR. Cooperation between Poland and Czechoslovakia is spreading from the economic field into the legal, social welfare, and labor fields, drawing the countries closer together with the possible ultimate aim of a federation between them.15
Poland has identified itself with the Cominform in its denunciation and treatment of Tito. Since July 1948, Yugoslav-Polish relations have markedly deteriorated. Poland, following the lead of the USSR, has greatly reduced its volume of trade with Yugoslavia, and, on [Page 512] Tito’s demand, has closed the Polish Information Center in Belgrade.16 Conversely, Poland has fostered closer relations with Albania. It is one of the first satellites to have concluded an economic agreement with Albania, and is also supplying that country with arms.
Poland, being predominantly Roman Catholic, has traditionally maintained the closest ties with the Holy See. Shortly after its inauguration, however, the Polish Provisional Government denounced the Concordat governing State-Church relations in Poland. The Polish Government is under no illusions concerning the difficulties which Catholic doctrine creates for the Sovietization of the country. This has resulted in an intensive, although subdued, conflict between the State and the Church. So far, Government efforts to introduce Marxist reforms (particularly those dealing with marriage, divorce, education and the training of youth) have been answered in a restrained but determined manner from the pulpits of the Church throughout Poland and through the issuance of pastoral letters and of articles in the few Church-sponsored publications at present permitted in the country. There are some signs that the Church is prepared to abandon its policy of caution and to stand up publicly to the regime, such action would probably be ineffective, but would preserve the Church’s moral position for the future.
The UK like the US, is profoundly influenced in its policy toward Poland by its relations with the USSR. As a signatory of the Yalta and Potsdam Agreement,17 the UK experienced the same lack of success as the US in efforts to bring about the free election of a representative post-war government in Poland. The UK view of the Communist regime in Poland and the tactics it has employed to liquidate political opposition has been forcefully expressed on several occasions to the Soviet Government, as the third signatory of the Yalta and Potsdam Agreements, as well as to the Polish Government.
British policy has shown a tendency to differ from our own in some important respects, notwithstanding the basic identity of views With respect to Poland. The British have considered it desirable to make certain concessions to the Poles with a view to reducing the points of friction between the two governments. The British Labor Party had, until recently, maintained frequent contacts with Polish Socialists. However, elimination of the Socialist Party as a factor of importance in Poland may have an adverse effect on British-Polish political contacts [Page 513] in the future. In the economic field, the UK has offered Poland minor credits and facilities in placing Polish orders for capital goods in the UK, and in January 1949 concluded a five-year trade agreement with Poland calling for a yearly exchange of goods valued at about $130,000,000.
The UK’s attitude toward Poland has been complicated by the presence in the UK of the remnants of the war-time Polish government-in-exile and many thousands of Polish troops who, for political reasons, refused to return home after the war. The presence in the UK of an important organized group of Polish emigrés has brought forth a steady stream of hostile Polish propaganda. Probably in an effort to reduce the tension arising from this situation, the British have attempted to dissociate themselves from the activities of dissident Poles abroad, and oppose recognition of any new Polish government-in-exile, or any Polish national committee which might be contemplated by Poles abroad, particularly if such a body should propose to have its seat in the UK. The British Government should be left in no doubt as to our views on Polish affairs, including developments among the emigrés, and must be impressed with the desirability of continuing to act in concert with us in matters affecting our relations with Poland. Any major division of opinion or difference in strategy may result in nullifying both our efforts.18
Poland’s post-war relations with France have followed an erratic course. The proximity of both countries to Germany, and the similar fate suffered by both in World War II at the hands of the Germans, encouraged the reestablishment of normal relations founded on a certain identity of views regarding the future of the German state. Following the elimination of Communists from the French Government, the participation of France in the ERP and its decisions regarding western Germany, relations between the two countries deteriorated. Poland’s request for a treaty of alliance has been met by the French with insistence upon a clause providing that the mutual assistance provisions of the treaty would only become operative after consultation with the three great powers. The Poles do not wish to subject the treaty to prior approval by the UK and the US and the matter has ended in a stalemate. As a result of a series of incidents, Polish-French relations have recently sunk to their lowest level since the end of the war. The Polish Government has been particularly active in seeking to utilize the Polish minority in France as a propaganda target.
The present need of French industry for Polish coal and Poland’s need for capital goods, however, continue to serve as an incentive to both countries to maintain normal relations. In February 1949 they [Page 514] renewed their trade agreement for one year and even increased the volume of goods to be exchanged. A partial settlement of Polish compensation for nationalized French properties has also been reached. Cultural relations continue normal and French cultural influence in Poland remains important.
Germany is still a focal point of Polish foreign policy. US, British, and French policies in Germany are vigorously attacked as fostering German revisionism and building up German military potential. At the same time, relations with the Russian-occupied zone of Germany are developing under Soviet instigation, especially in the economic field and some political rapprochement has also been noted. The Soviet attitude on Poland’s western frontier is being closely watched by the Poles, but so far there has been no indication of an impending change in the Soviet Union’s stand with regard to the Oder-Neisse line.
d. policy evaluation
In appraising our policy, due weight must be given to the fact that the Poles themselves are not free agents but are compelled to follow the Soviet line in the conduct of their foreign affairs. In the present state of major power relationships, this automatically excludes the possibility of harmonious relations with the US. Our efforts to induce the Poles to pursue policies that are more flexible and better calculated to serve purely Polish rather than Soviet objectives have been fruitless, but we have been able to make the Government aware of the implications, so far as relations with the US are concerned, of its one-sided alliance with the Soviet Union. We have also been fortunate in maintaining our popularity and prestige among the Polish population, despite a ceaseless barrage of hostile Communist propaganda. The Soviet blockade of Berlin and Communist successes in Asia, however, have caused some Poles to speculate about the efficacy of our policy for meeting the Communist challenge. Although we have been unable effectively to influence the Polish Government in the formulation or execution of policy, it is, nevertheless, in our interest to maintain a diplomatic mission in Warsaw. Our Embassy there stands as a symbol of freedom in the eyes of the Polish people, supplies us with useful intelligence, and affords us an opportunity to disseminate information about the US and its policies among a people who would otherwise be deprived of it. Warsaw, the capital of the largest Soviet satellite, is an excellent listening post.
Situated as it is between the Soviet Union and the Soviet Zone of Germany and with Soviet forces to its east and to its west, as well as on its own territory, Poland is at the mercy of Moscow. We must remember, in the conduct of our relations with Poland, that we are dealing with a puppet Government of the USSR and that any representations or negotiations we undertake are likely to be unsuccessful [Page 515] if our objectives are contrary to Soviet desires. In such circumstances, settlement of issues with Poland must depend upon our ability to secure the Kremlin’s acquiescence. Furthermore, because our objectives in Poland are primarily long-range in character, immediate results are generally not to be expected from our policy. Our policy has produced some positive results, however, in the economic field, where the application of our export licensing regulations has deprived Poland of considerable US capital equipment not readily obtainable elsewhere and necessary to advance the country’s ambitious industrialization program. Poland has been able, however, to obtain certain strategic goods from western European sources, notably Switzerland and Sweden. While one effect of our economic policy may be to discredit friendly non-communist officials and their more moderate policies, our policy has at the same time helped to disrupt the Polish Communist economic plans. On the other hand, it has likewise resulted in stimulating indigenous production and eastern economic integration, which in the long run will reduce Poland’s dependence on the west. As these conflicting factors show, the Poles face a real dilemma in attempting to reconcile their political orientation to the Soviet Union with the necessity of obtaining assistance and increased imports of capital goods and raw materials from the west.
Our publicity activities in Poland are encountering growing opposition from the Government, which is an unerring indication of their effectiveness. We anticipate even greater pressure in the future against this operation, and we may be requested to remove the US Information Office in Warsaw. This would, of course, be vigorously resisted. However, the Government by taking harsh police measures against the patrons of USIS might finally destroy its effectiveness except as a symbol. Such a development would leave us with the Voice of America as our only useful medium of contact with the Polish people. It is essential, therefore, that the Voice of America be made ready now to meet the situation by expanding the Polish language services.
With our knowledge and approval an unofficial committee of prominent US citizens has been formed in New York City for the purpose of assisting financially and otherwise exiled national groups from several of the Communist-dominated European countries. A prime qualification for aid by the committee is that the exiled nationals should form a united organization or front, broadly based and representative. The emigré Polish leaders are anxious to affiliate with the committee, but realize they must first achieve unity among themselves. We have long urged this course upon them. The mass of the Polish emigration is presently in Europe and the focal point of their political activity is London, where a determined effort is soon to be made to form a united front. If the London unification endeavors are successful, then arrangements for association with the New York committee [Page 516] would be a valuable step forward both for the Poles and ourselves.
- Department of State Policy Statements were concise documents summarizing the current United States policy toward a country or region, the relations of that country or region with the principal powers, and the issues and trends in that country or region. The Statements provided information and guidance for officers in missions abroad. The Statements were generally prepared by ad hoc working groups in the responsible geographic offices of the Department and were referred to appropriate diplomatic posts abroad for comment and criticism. The Statements were periodically revised.↩
- The Polish Workers’ Party (the Communist Party in Poland) and the Polish Socialist Party held a merger congress in Warsaw, December 15–21, 1948. The new party was named the United Polish Workers’ Party. Wladyslaw Gomulka was Secretary General of the Polish Workers’ Party until August 1948 and Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regained Territories until January 1949. In November 1949, Gomulka was expelled from his last party leadership post, member of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party. The extensive reporting by the Embassy in Poland on government and party developments is included principally in the Department of State files: 860C.00, 860C.01, and 860C.00B.↩
- Regarding the Wireless Bulletin and the Opal incident referred to here, see telegram 406, March 17, from Warsaw, p. 500.↩
- On September 6, 1946, at Stuttgart, Germany, then Secretary of State James F. Byrnes delivered an address restating United States policy on Germany; for text, see Department of State Bulletin, September 15, 1946, p. 496.↩
The reference here is to the statement on the Polish-German frontier made by then Secretary of State George C. Marshall at the April 9, 1947 meeting of the Fourth Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers at Moscow. For the text of the statement, see ibid., April 20, 1947, pp. 693–694, or Department of State Publication 3556, Germany 1947–1949: The Story in Documents (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1950), pp. 146–148.
The American policy on the Polish-German frontier as formulated by Secretary Byrnes and reaffirmed and clarified by Secretary Marshall was restated by Secretary of State Acheson during a meeting with 10 Congressmen on the afternoon of May 18 on the eve of the Secretary’s departure for the Sixth Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, May 23–June 20, 1949, at Paris. The substance of the Polish-German frontier question was not discussed at the Sixth Session of the Council, but Secretary Acheson adverted to the issue during Council meetings on June 10 and 12. He asked if there was any use in putting forth new proposals on the matter in view of the Soviet attitude that the frontier was final. The Soviet representative never responded to the query (CFM Files, Lot M–88, Paris CFM, Minutes of Meetings). On June 23 Secretary Acheson appeared before an Executive Session of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to report on the recently concluded Council of Foreign Ministers session. Congressman Thomas S. Gordon of Illinois asked whether there had been any discussion of the Polish frontier at the Council’s meetings, and Secretary Acheson replied as follows:
“We asked the Russians to state what their position was. This is one of the most embarrassing issues the Russians have to face. ‘What is your attitude’, we asked the Russians. ‘You have said in the past that the present line between Poland and Germany is final and that nobody can discuss it anymore and all a peace treaty can do is to ratify it. You have taken this attitude. There is no use anybody else putting forth proposals if you are not even ready to discuss them. Is that your attitude?’ The Russians refused to answer.”↩
- For documentation on United States relations with Spain, see vol. iv, pp. 721 ff.↩
- For documentation on Germany, including the lifting of the Berlin blockade, see vol. iii, pp. 1 ff.↩
- Documentation on the United Nations Special Committee on the Balkans is scheduled for publication in volume vi.↩
- Regarding the establishment of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, see pp. 1–9.↩
- For documentation on United States policy on trade with Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, see pp. 61 ff.↩
- Regarding the attitude of the Department of State with respect to economic assistance to Poland, see telegram 228, April 9, to Warsaw, p. 101.↩
- Regarding the International Bank’s timber loans in Eastern Europe, see Current Economic Developments, No. 224, October 17, p. 157.↩
- See editorial note, p. 184.↩
- For documentation regarding United States civil aviation policy toward Eastern Europe and Soviet Union, see pp. 184 ff.↩
- Considerable detailed reportage from the Embassies in Warsaw and Praha on cooperation between Poland and Czechoslovakia in the economic field is included in file 760C.60F of the Department of State’s Central Files.↩
- For documentation on the attitude of the United States toward the conflict between Yugoslavia and the Cominform, see pp. 854 ff.↩
- See Part VI of the Report of the Crimea Conference (the U.S.-U.K.-Soviet Heads of Government Conference at Yalta), February 11, 1945, Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, p. 973, and Part IX of the Report of the Tripartite Conference of Berlin (the U.S.-U.K.-Soviet Heads of Government Conference at Potsdam), August 2, 1945, Foreign Relations, The Conference of Berlin (Potsdam) 1945, vol. ii, p. 1508.↩
- For documentation regarding the attitude of the United States toward Eastern European exile groups and leaders, see pp. 277 ff.↩