860.03/5–153: Telegram

No. 26
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Poland1


167. Proposal to offer gifts food to one or more satellites presently under urgent high level inter-agency consideration.2 Offer would be conditional upon agreement to distribution through agency such as International Red Cross. Idea could have considerable propaganda value whether or not offers accepted by regimes. Estimate four to five weeks planning necessary before definite offer could be made.

Desire urgently fol: 1) Your view degree seriousness food shortages your country indicating major commodities needed, particular areas which worse off than others and time of year when shortage likely be most severe; 2) Your estimate likely reaction to offer by regime and people; 3) Any other pertinent comments.

  1. Drafted by Katz and cleared with Barbour and Cox. Repeated for action to Bucharest and for information to Moscow.
  2. According to a memorandum from Phillips to Smith, Apr. 23, the possibility of initiating a food relief program had been suggested by Ravndal during a recent visit to Washington. The officials with whom Ravndal had spoken, C.D. Jackson among them, had seen enough merit in the idea to place it on the agenda of the PSB meeting of Apr. 23. (PSB files, lot 62 D 333, Luncheon Meetings) According to the minutes of that meeting, the idea was discussed and the Acting Director of the PSB, Morgan, was instructed to undertake staff consultations. (PSB files, lot 62 D 333, “Record of Meeting”)