No. 746

740.5/2–2051: Airgram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom 2

top secret
air priority

A–1615. Re Depto 536, Feb 20.3

I. Chief features of Polish situation are:

Creation of a machinery of Soviet control making regime as currently constituted adequate to anticipate and respond to Soviet requirements; distinguished by (a) early and continuous attack (since mid-1948) on the strong national Communist tendency through purge of Gomulka-type Communist leaders, (b) placement numerous Soviet nationals in key posts of Government, Party, Armed Forces and Police, and (c) presence of estimated 55,000 Soviet troops in Poland.
Steady improvement in reliability and professional competence of Armed Forces through restriction of highest command positions to Soviet officers, presence of estimated 2–3,000 Soviet officers as instructors and aides, purge of non-Communist from officers corps and revamped, accelerated program of political indoctrination.
Military expansion to estimated 180,000 in Polish ground forces with significant quantities of Soviet tanks, vehicles and heavy guns; Air Force is reportedly now receiving Soviet jet fighter aircraft. While overall military strength, competence and esprit have not reached Bulgarian attainment, Polish military capabilities would probably permit effective use of Polish units against Germany or in Balkans.
Forced advance of Polish economy along course of rapid industrialization for purpose of building heavy industry workshop in Poland as integral part of total power of Soviet Communism. Great effort is being made to achieve 6-Year Plan (1950–1955) revised upward at Soviet insistence; but in spite of Moscow’s provision of [Page 1491] considerable industrial equipment on credit, this exertion is prolonging and intensifying existing strains on manpower, living standards and even raw materials. Mining, metallurgical, chemical and, to lesser extent, textile, as well as merchant marine industries have significant role in this Soviet-bloc planning. Proportion of Polish trade with remainder of Soviet bloc steady increases. Farm collectivization, now extending only to about 3 percent of the peasantry, is being pressed against universal but passive opposition of villages.
Effective liquidation of anti-Communist underground, except for passive skeletal remnants; Roman Catholic Church, while under constant pressure and growing restriction, remains only substantially intact anti-Communist organization. With gradual elimination of educational and social activities of Church, influence of Communist indoctrination on youth is perceptible. Adult population for most part hopes for liberation through war but morale is depressed by present physical conditions of existence, sense of personal insecurity, fears of a revived Germany and doubts concerning policy of West toward Germany.
Vulnerabilities arising from traditional Polish hatred of Russia and Communism, nationalist opposition to Soviet imperialism and unreliability of majority of Communist Party members. Although successful Titoist movement virtually precluded under present circumstances, vulnerabilities would, in event of general war, make possible large-scale underground that could tie down considerable number of Soviet security forces, and might even render Poland a military liability to USSR.

II. US policy toward Poland is to:

Cooperate with other Western countries in the creation of conditions making possible the establishment of an independent, democratic state and development of free institutions.
Support and stimulate unlimited psychological resistance to international Communism as a system, nationalist resentment against Soviet imperialism ….
Place increasing reliance on information media, particularly Polish language broadcasts, to counteract and combat Soviet Communism in Poland as normal contacts with Polish people are systematically eliminated by regime.
Keeps Poles aware of their Western cultural heritage and otherwise endeavor to conserve to greatest possible degree under existing conditions their spiritual ties with West.
Sustain Polish people by repeated expression of our sympathetic concern for their welfare under present hardships and by indication of significance of developing Western policy, strength and unity.
Maintain a diplomatic mission at Warsaw, in view of important services it can still perform at this critical time in spite of growing restrictions on operations, so long as it is possible to continue diplomatic relations without suffering intolerable indignities; resist harassment of US official personnel at Warsaw and seek protection of Embassy by reciprocal treatment in every feasible respect of Polish official personnel in US.
Encourage activities, especially efforts toward achieving unity, of Polish exile organizations as providing a focus of hope for the oppressed Polish people and a rallying center for a free and democratic Poland; assist survival of intellectual leaders in exile as asset for future and utilize their knowledge in combating Communism in Poland.
Keep constantly in mind in our policy toward Germany the permanent interests of the Polish people, recognizing that the needs of both Poland and Germany, as well as those of Europe as a whole, must be taken into account in the final settlement of the problem of the boundary between the two countries; make clear to Polish people by our information media that US policy is not designed to encourage the re-emergence of an aggressive, militaristic Germany, but rather the integration of German capabilities with those of other European states in the interests of a free, democratic Europe as a whole.
Seek to limit Polish contribution to war potential of Soviet bloc by strict export controls, yet not interfere with Polish exports (particularly coal, timber products and food supplies) which might improve relative military-economic advantage of Western European countries as against Soviet bloc.
Favor restriction of civil air service from Poland to Western countries in accordance with our bilateral understandings with many NATO countries concerning the containment of Soviet bloc civil aviation.

III. Proposals section 3 Deptel 4000, March 2,4 also hold for Poland and cooperation of NATO countries if anything even more desirable in this case. To this may be added need for continuing coordination among NATO countries in:

Maintenance of line of communications with Western diplomatic missions in Poland as by RAF courier flights.
Implementation of agreed civil aviation policy toward Poland.

  1. Drafted by Vedeler and Dillon of EUR/EE and by Tims of DRS; cleared with Barnard of EUR, Wolf of RA, and Cox and Calhoun of GPA; and signed for Acting Secretary Webb by Bonbright.
  2. Not printed, but see footnote 2, Document 617.
  3. Document 617.