101. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Elbrick) to the Secretary of State 1

SUBJECT

  • Approach to the Polish Government Concerning U.S. Economic Aid

Discussion:

In his talk last night the President made, albeit in general terms, a very clear offer of aid to Poland.2 It would be desirable now to bring [Page 269] this offer specifically to the attention of the Polish Government prior to the departure of their delegation to Moscow.

The approach to the Polish Government should be done quietly and confidentially, if possible, through diplomatic channels so that the Poles might be fortified by this knowledge in their negotiations with the Soviets, without the embarrassment that might be caused by public disclosure of a formal U.S. Government approach at this time.

We do not believe it desirable to have you call in the Polish Ambassador here for the following reasons:3

1. If you were to call in the Polish Ambassador, it would cause a strong press reaction which might be detrimental to our interests.

We believe it preferable that our Ambassador in Warsaw4 be instructed to call at the Foreign Office and, referring to the President’s address, inform the Polish Government that the U.S. Government is prepared to discuss with the Polish Government means of implementing the President’s offer of aid.

We do not believe that mention should be made of the open door left for general economic and other negotiations by the Polish note of October 20 [2?] declining the invitation of the Polish observers at our election.5 It would appear better to reserve this opening for other purposes, i.e., general economic negotiations, increase in cultural and other exchanges, etc.

While the U.S. offer of foodstuffs to Poland after the Poznan disturbances remains open in the terms of Mr. Hoover’s letter of July 7,6 nevertheless we do not believe it desirable to relate our present offer to the previous one in view of the fact that the offer at that time was specifically rejected by the Polish Government.

When Ambassador Jacobs makes the offer, he could be instructed to inform the Poles orally that we would be glad to receive a delegation here in Washington for economic aid discussions.

[Page 270]

If the offer is made discreetly in Warsaw, there is much less likelihood of any widespread publicity. We would inform the Poles at the time that we did not intend to make an announcement concerning Ambassador Jacobs’ approach.

Recommendation:

That you approve our instructing Ambassador Jacobs to call at the Polish Foreign Office, to make appropriate reference to the President’s address of October 23, and to notify the Polish Government that the U.S. Government was prepared to discuss the granting of U.S. economic aid to Poland and that we would be ready to receive a Polish delegation in Washington for this purpose.7

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 748.5–MSP/10–2456. Secret. Drafted by Beam and Trivers.
  2. See Document 99. At 10:25 a.m. on October 23, Secretary Dulles informed Allen Dulles that he had “asked for a study re stimulating economic help etc. Yesterday the Poles were all in favor of offers of aid. The Sec. was surprised”. The Director of Central Intelligence replied that “we should do something though he does not know what—no strings though”. The Secretary indicated that “[w]e are not as free as we might be—our proposed amendment was defeated in Congress”. They then discussed the possibility of voluntary agencies, businessmen, and labor unions doing something. (Memorandum of telephone conversation by Bernau; Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, White House Telephone Conversations)
  3. On October 24, at 11:30 a.m. Dulles met with Eisenhower to discuss the question of economic assistance to Poland: “We reviewed briefly the Polish situation. I said that we had been studying possibilities of economic aid and felt that there were sufficient possibilities under the law to justify indicating to the Poles that we would be glad to receive any views they might have on this subject. The President agreed that it would be appropriate to initiate this matter with the Polish Ambassador on a quiet basis”. (Memorandum of conversation by Dulles; ibid., Meetings with the President)

    Following his meeting with the President, Dulles called Under Secretary Hoover at 12:31 p.m. and asked him to handle the matter. Hoover said that he would get Elbrick together with Herbert V. Prochnow, Deputy Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, to determine what to say. (Ibid., White House Telephone Conversations)

  4. Ambassador Joseph E. Jacobs had been in Munich for medical treatment. He took the train from Berlin to Warsaw on the evening of October 20/21.
  5. See footnote 2, Document 92.
  6. For text of this letter, see Department of State Bulletin, July 23, 1956, p. 151.
  7. Dulles initialed the source text and wrote “OK”; Hoover initialed his concurrence.