107. Memorandum of Conversation Between President Eisenhower and His Assistant Special Counsel (Areeda)0


Restoring Most-favored-nation treatment to Poland

I put before the President the State Department recommendation that we restore most-favored-nation tariff concessions to Poland and noted these points: (a) this action was approved by the NSC in 19581 and reapproved by the OCB in 1960;2 (b) the Polish assumption that this step would follow the successful conclusion of claims settlement arrangements; (c) Poland anxiously awaits this step; (d) the bulk of our imports from Poland consists of canned hams which would not be affected by the proposed action; and (e) Jim Hagerty believed that the proposed action would be well received by Polish-Americans.

The President was concerned with the timing. He felt that if the proposed action were taken during September or October it could be distorted by political demagogues unless accompanied by a careful explanation. With respect to the Polish desire for prompt action, the President said that Mr. Dillon could tell the Polish Ambassador that the President has this matter before him, must consider the domestic aspects, and must therefore await a propitious moment for this public step.

The President wondered whether he should take the occasion of his late-September Chicago address to a Polish-American group to state that this matter is pending, to note Poland’s developing independence from Soviet domination, and to emphasize the U.S. interest in furthering that development. I asked the President whether such a statement by him would prejudice the position of the Polish Government vis-à-vis the Soviet Union. The President replied to the effect that growing independence was a necessary premise for the proposed action; to take the action implies the premise. Why, he asked, should we hesitate to say so.

The President directed me to discuss the matter with Dillon, to inform General Persons,3 and to ask Jim Hagerty to inquire into the potential effect of the proposed action upon Polish-American groups.

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I related this to Mr. Morgan4 who undertook to bring General Persons up-to-date. I also told Jim Hagerty and offered to supply him with a factual memorandum that could be the basis of inquiries by him.5

Phillip Areeda
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, DDE Diaries. Confidential. Drafted by Areeda.
  2. Reference is to NSC 5808/1, Document 46.
  3. See Document 95.
  4. General Wilton B. Persons, Assistant to the President.
  5. Gerald D. Morgan Deputy Assistant to the President.
  6. No Record of further discussion of this issue by Areeda, Hagerty, or other officials has been found.