186. Telegram From the Embassy in Poland to the Department of State1
670. Deptel 238.2 Saw Winiewicz this morning and told him Department did not regard PAP release official reply to approach on aid3 which I made October 25 Pursuant Department’s instructions.4 He replied that was correct, saying PAP release was issued in response inquiries from Polish correspondents and rumors going around concerning offer of aid by US to Poland. When I asked when we might expect official reply, Winiewicz said he was prepared give it to me then and there, orally, in same manner in which I had presented our approach to him. He said matter had been considered by his government. Following substance conversation:
Begin Summary. Poland cannot accept any aid or assistance of US (A) which carries implied or expressed political connotation or significance and/or (B) which provides for controls, to be exercised by American controllers in Poland, over end-use of such aid. He thought (A) was no great problem now in view President’s and Secretary’s statements that US was prepared give aid without requiring as condition the adoption of any political form of society by the recipients (apparently refers to remarks President’s speech October 315 and Secretary’s speech October 276). As regards (B) he remarked he understood our laws and regulations concerning certain types aid required American controllers which made such aid difficult for Poland to accept. At this point, Winiewicz said Poland did not need emergency aid such as now required by Hungary; also increase in gift parcels, of which he had heard much, would not help solve Poland’s economic problems.
Poland needed and would like have certain aid or assistance, on basis short-term credits (2, 3 to 5 years) or loans (he mentioned Export-Import Bank with which Poland’s relations and credit in past had been good) with respect following:
- Grains, particularly wheat and rye. There is considerable need for feed grains for stock and hogs (fact confirmed by our agricultural officer Wenmohs7). When Tasked in what quantities, Winiewicz replied he was not certain. When I suggested corn, he said, “oh no, because our Polish hams have distinct Polish flavor due our feeding methods. If we feed them corn, we’ll merely get [Page 442] Virginia hams.” Somewhat later in conversation he mentioned USSR had excellent wheat crop this year and Poland could get wheat there but inferred from his insinuations that as Soviet terms harsh, preferred American wheat.
- Fats and oils. Poland has considerable need (could not name quantities) for soya bean oil and certain fats for soap-making purposes.
- Cotton. There is need for from 15 to 20,000 metric tons of American cotton, repeating what he had said previously that Polish mills are adapted use such cotton.
- Fertilizer. There is need for fertilizers for types crops grown in Poland. Given no details as to types and quantities.
- Coal mining machinery and improved mining methods. Coal mining is one of Poland’s best economic assets and there is growing domestic need for coal due increase in industrial production and in population. According present plans, there must be reduction in coal exports to meet domestic needs. This might not be necessary if Poland could buy modern machinery such as used in US and gain by learning our methods. He remarked that machinery purchases could best be handled by loan as he did not believe US Government possessed machinery as in case agricultural products.
Winiewicz then remarked that there is big question in his mind as to what extent our complicated east-west trade regulations might impede kind of aid Poland needed but hoped this difficulty could be resolved.
He then remarked we must remember in view of present world situation and Poland’s peculiar relations with USSR, it was difficult carry on Poland’s foreign relations and handle matters this kind. It was at this point he mentioned that USSR had good wheat crop this year (referred above) and that Poland could get hard currency credit from USSR to buy machinery but implied terms both cases would be onerous.
In concluding, he said it was his opinion that less publicity there was about matter at this time better it would be for success. He gave as his reason peculiar relations with USSR, mentioning that high representatives of government would be going in few days to Moscow to discuss Polish-USSR problems in light recent developments and that until there could be something more definite about US aid, it was difficult answer numerous inquiries from correspondents and public. Said he thought only thing could be said publicly is that two governments are discussing possibility aid through normal commercial relations. Replied I did not know how Washington would feel about this.
In concluding, said I would advise Department of what he had told me.
Comments: 1. This occasion Winiewicz seemed display more interest our aid approach than on October 25. His references to press and public inquiries may indicate regime is being queried why US aid not accepted.[Page 443]
2. At no point in conversation did he refer again “round-table” discussion all outstanding US-Polish problems which he emphasized October 25 and reference to which appeared PAP release. This would seem indicate these two matters can be dealt with separately.
3. Got impression regime finds it somewhat difficult discuss US aid at this time when other pressing problems resulting from recent events not yet discussed and resolved with USSR.
4. Got impression Winiewicz reference to possibility aid from USSR mentioned not as sort of blackmail (if we don’t get aid from USA we can get it from USSR) but rather to indicate decided preference for US aid, along lines indicated, as compared similar assistance from USSR.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 748.5–MSP/11–1356. Confidential; Priority.↩
- Telegram 238 to Warsaw, November 6, instructed the Embassy to inform the Polish Foreign Office that an official reply to the U.S. aid offer was still expected. (Ibid., 748.5–MSP/11–456)↩
- See footnote 8, Document 173.↩
- See Document 110.↩
- See Document 149.↩
- See Document 128.↩
- John R. Wenmohs.↩