37. Memorandum of Conversation0

SUBJECT

  • Farewell Call of the Polish Ambassador

PARTICIPANTS

  • The President
  • Ambassador Romuald Spasowski, Embassy of the Polish People’s Republic
  • Harold C. Vedeler—EE

The President opened the conversation by commenting on the change in US-Polish relations that had taken place during the Ambassador’s stay here of the past six years. The President said that he understood the Ambassador had done much to help in this development and had been very cooperative. The President was sorry to see the Ambassador who had contributed so much to these relations leave from his pres-ent assignment. The Ambassador replied that he had tried to do all he could to assist in this improvement.

[Page 75]

The President said there had been some recent statements which were not helpful to these relations but he did not believe that they would do any fundamental harm to them. He continued that it was important to have harmonious relations between the United States and Poland since this contributed to reduce international tensions of a general nature. The Ambassador heartily agreed to this last statement and added that his Government wanted to see the further growth of these relations.

The Ambassador then said that he would like to raise two points before leaving. The first of these was economic in character and related to the continuing interest of his Government in the further expansion of economic relations between Poland and the United States. In this connection he mentioned the economic negotiations now in progress and expressed the hope that there would be another agreement for a PL-480 transaction. He also referred to the matter of an industrial credit for Poland indicating that his Government hoped that attention would be paid to this interest of Poland. He would be extremely glad if such negotiations would not be too prolonged and, alluding to a statement of the President, he said the results of the negotiations should not be too little and too late.

In introducing the second matter that he wished to raise he mentioned that he had discussed several times in the Department during his stay in Washington the German question and its significance for Poland. A focal point of the German question for Poland was the German-Polish border and he desired to recall that the Polish people could not understand the lack of a clearly defined American position on this subject. He said it would be much better for US-Polish relations if the United States Government could make a definitive statement on the boundary.

The President replied that the question of the border was connected with the problem of Berlin. It was difficult for the United States to take a position on the boundary question opposed by the German Government and at the same time to obtain any settlement of the Berlin question. As the Ambassador was aware the United States has maintained the position that it was not possible to settle the boundary question until there was a German peace settlement. But if an understanding could be reached on Berlin then some of these other problems might be resolved. The President said that he knew of course how the Polish people feel about the border question. The Ambassador concluded his remarks on the subject of the German-Polish boundary by reiterating that a statement by the United States on this subject would substantially assist relations between the United States and Poland.

The discussion then turned again to economic relations between the two countries. The President said that the amendment to the Battle Act had been passed by the Senate and was now in the House. It was indicated that discussions looking toward a new PL 480 agreement were [Page 76]in progress and that the agreement was expected to be concluded in several weeks. The Ambassador expressed his disappointment that it had not been possible for the United States to extend the credit of $5 million to Poland which had been under discussion from the previous administration. He then referred to the declining curve of industrial credits for Poland pointing out that credits of $30 million had been extended in 1957, $25 million in 1958, $6 million in 1959 and none in 1960. It was explained that while an industrial credit of $5 million had been under consideration for some months problems had been encountered by the US Government because of the extension by Poland of a credit of $13 million to Cuba. It had accordingly not been possible to complete action on this matter during the present fiscal year and the allocation had been lost. The question of further industrial credit to Poland would need to await consideration in the next fiscal year. (At this point the President said that he would like to have from the Department a background paper on the previous request of the Poles for a $5 million credit and on their current interest in industrial credits.) The President then asked who the Ambassador’s successor would be and the latter replied that Mr. Drozniak, an extremely able man, would be coming to Washington soon to take his place. The President asked what the Ambassador would do as his next assignment to which the Ambassador replied that he would be in charge of African and Asian affairs at Warsaw.

The President inquired what the extent of the trade was between Poland and France. The Ambassador said he was not precisely informed about the extent of the current trade between the two countries. As for the trade between Poland and Britain it amounted to $50 million on one side and Polish exports to the United States during last year reached $37 million. The Ambassador commented that economic relations between Poland and the United States had increased substantially and said that his Government anticipated a further increase in exports. He said that ham which the Americans liked constituted the principal export to the United States. The President asked if the formation of the Common Market would present problems for Poland and the Ambassador stated that it would.

As the Ambassador was about to leave the President said that he had been extremely cooperative and had apparently done much for the benefit of the relations between the two countries. The Ambassador noted the special interest in Polish affairs which the President had taken, expressed appreciation of this and the hope that this interest would continue. In saying goodbye the President indicated that he had a new reason for interest in Polish matters since his new godchild was on one side of Polish descent.

  1. Source: Department of State, Presidential Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 66 D 149. Official Use Only. Drafted by Vedeler and approved by the White House on June 21.