No. 749

740.5/4–2451: Telegram

The United States Deputy Representative on the North Atlantic Council ( Spofford) to the Secretary of State 1


Depto 823. Further deputies 31st mtg April 23.2

1. In deputies discussion of Pol ref Depto 822 Fr noted Pol and Czecho similar in having cultural and econ bonds with West, stronger democratic tradition than Balkan satellites, common relation to Ger and resultant psychological climate. Can and others agreed disquiet Poles seriously concerned at prospect rearmament Ger or Ger reunited under auspices either East or West. Belg and Den reported their non-committal replies to Polish démarche on Ger rearmament last year. All deps agreed that Poland falls into general satellite pattern of heavy Soviet domination of administration, [Page 1502] army, and economy, without popular support. Netherlands thought some small measure independent action remained in Pol local admin. Neth, US and others noted increasing Cominform success with youth. Canada noted resistance centers on Catholic Church and traditional anti-Russian feeling, but now latent. Belg believed traditional pro-west attitude preserved among intelligentsia to UK inquiries, US and Can said Pol exile movements not integrated. Only Belg believed they retained any ties within Poland. UK and Belg felt Church has survived by compromise and is now weakening. Fr called attention to tactic of dividing Catholic hierarchy from masses. Neth added some success achieved in subverting lower clergy, in part by increasing their income with proceeds nationalization church property. Fr and Neth noted tension arising from Vatican refusal to accept integration of church in annexed German territory with Polish church.

2. Fr and Neth believed army hampered by Sov stinginess with milit supplies. UK, who felt others somewhat underestimated armed forces, noted more liberal Sov policy and training of troops as offensive forces since Rokossovsky took over. With US, UK commented that because of this and anti-Ger sentiment, Polish armies might now be effective against Germany, although less so elsewhere. UK reported little popular confidence in Soviet guarantees of annexed areas. US view that resistance might be strong enough to hamper Soviets in war noted with surprise. UK said strong guarantees of support wld be necessary to overcome remembrances of Warsaw in minds of Polish resisters. Was generally agreed that armed forces total about 400,000; army 180,000; security police 50,000; other police 175,000; navy and air force about 7,000 each. Netherlands said army “not formidable” and being rebuilt with difficulty after total destruction in last war. US figure of 55,000 was only estimate Sov troops in Pol. Den noted recent Pol purchases in Stockholm of large quantities of maps of Den and surrounding waters.

3. UK and others felt econ programs have met fair degree success. UK noted absence of major trouble in shift from agriculture to semi-industrial economy but added that work conditions and shortages of civilian goods might lead to labor trouble. France and US believed some difficulties arising from lack of skilled labor and raw materials and especially noted Sov stranglehold on economy. Neth noted housing problem and found lack of reliable statistics made any judgment of econ situation uncertain. Den and Ice remarked that postwar trade agreements increasingly difficult to renew as Polish demands shift from food to manufactured goods, raw materials, and hard currency. Den said Pol has threatened to put coal on “strategic list” if West restrictions on strategic materials [Page 1503] continue. Den also noted failure of trade negots with Sweden based largely on ill-will arising from Pol arrest of Swedish nationals. Deps agreed that collectivization of agriculture proceeding cautiously and against passive resistance. Fr noted technique of limiting land holdings to sub-marginal size. Den noted emphasis on reconstruction of transport network and added strategic importance emphasized by Sov supervision of East-West lines.

Port indicated no reply made to Pol overtures aimed at renewing relations.

  1. Repeated to all other NATO capitals, Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, and Heidelberg.
  2. Telegram Depto 822 from London, April 24, was a brief summary report of the transactions of the 31st Meeting of the North Atlantic Council Deputies. Regarding the discussion of Poland, it reported as follows:

    “Political discussion on Poland brought wider participation with respect to intelligence by deps of small nations than previous discussions but few indications of policy. Will seek stimulate latter. No indications serious disagreement with any points in section I of Dept’s A–1615.” (740.5/4–2451)

    For text of A–1615, see Document 746.