208. Notes on the Meeting of the Operations Coordinating Board, Washington, December 12, 19561

[Here follows discussion of items 1–4; see footnote 2, Document 213.]

5. Aid to Poland.

At the OCB meeting Mr. Stassen raised the question of aid to Poland.2 He stated that the President had given clear-cut instructions that everything possible should be done. In spite of this, it appeared that nothing was being done. In his view, the Embassy had transmitted a request from the Poles for aid. The President had said “give aid”; yet the matter was being stalled by technicalities. The Chairman replied that the matter was more complicated than it might appear. There were problems such as the Battle Act. Certain legal findings would be required before aid could be extended. Decisions in this matter were not the sole responsibility of State but would require concurrence of various agencies. The U.S. was actively discussing the matter with the Polish Government, but the Polish Foreign Office was not being completely helpful because it is under Russian domination. Mr. Hollister stated that he did not consider that he had received a clear-cut request for aid from the Polish Government and that until this was received he could not proceed. He felt that the telegram from the Embassy was not adequate.2 Furthermore, there would have to be careful determination as to the source of funds. He questioned the possibility of the use of the special Presidential fund. In any case, commitments in connection with Hungarian refugees had already over-commited this fund.

The Chairman suggested that it might be helpful to have a report prepared for the Board on the status of the matter. The working group should prepare such a paper in collaboration with E. Representatives of Commerce, Agriculture, Treasury should be asked to participate. [Page 506] Mr. Staats said that he thought such a report could be made available to the Board for its meeting next week.3


E—Mr. Kalijarvi

EE—Mr. Trivers

  1. Source: Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 62 D 430. Top Secret. Drafted by Richards.
  2. See footnote 8, supra.
  3. See footnote 8, supra.
  4. At the Acting Secretary’s Staff Meeting on December 13, L was requested “to prepare a staff study examining the legal and legislative background which might affect a policy determination that Poland could be considered a friendly country not under the domination of the Soviet Union for the purposes of Title I of PL–480.” (Notes by Grant E. Mouser, December 14; ibid., EE Files: Lot 76 D 232, US/Polish Talks—Preparations) Also on December 13, Kalijarvi sent a memorandum to Randall recommending “that United States policy should allow surplus agricultural commodities to be exported to Eastern European countries when political developments, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, indicate that it is in our national interest for these commodities to be exported for dollars at world market prices.” The prompt approval of the Council on Foreign Economic Policy was sought. (Ibid., FOAICA Files: Lot 64 A 293, CFEP 528—Authorities & Programs for the Disposal of Surplus Agricultural Products Abroad)