36. Memorandum of Conversation Between the President’s Deputy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Rostow) and the Economic Minister of the Polish Embassy (Lychowski)0

Dr. Lychowski called on me today, Monday, June 5, 1961, to assure that the U.S. Government, at a sufficiently high and responsible level, understood fully the political implications, as he saw them, of the PL 480 negotiation in which he is now engaged.

He believes that if we proceed with this long run agreement there will be two major political consequences. First, American industry will be brought into intimate contact, over a wide range, with Polish industry. I asked him what political basis there was in Poland for such an intensification of contact. He said that Gomulka had fought and won a major battle; namely, a battle to permit Polish industry to develop on lines of comparative advantage with respect to the international economy as a whole rather than merely on the basis of the requirements of [Page 74] the Communist bloc. He stated that there were, perhaps, five years in which Poland could make good on Gomulka’s policy which evidently went to the degree of long run political independence that Poland might be able to enjoy. And the proposals leading to more intimate association between American and Polish industry were, in his view, crucial to the success of Gomulka’s policy.

Second, with respect to agriculture, the use of counterpart funds in the rehabilitation of Polish agriculture, combined with the tiding over of the Polish food deficit, would not only guarantee that the relatively free condition of Polish agricultural life would be maintained but that the U.S. would be associated in an intimate relationship with that 47% of the Polish population which is still in rural areas.

In general, he expressed the hope that the decision on his proposals would not be taken on the American side without a full appreciation of the political implications as seen on the Polish side. To understand these implications required both political insight and professional economic knowledge of the proposals. It was for that reason, he stated, that he had approached me.

  1. Source: Department of State, Polish Desk Files: Lot 67 D 238, PL 480 Negotiations 1961. Confidential. Drafted by Rostow.