40. 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
Washington, August 4, 1961, 11:45 a.m.
Dr. Lychowski called on me today. He made the following points.
- The Polish government will announce that its harvest this year is about 1.4 million tons greater than last year’s harvest. This figure will be false. The true increase will be of the order of magnitude of 5–600,000 tons. He said the reason for the lie was that Gomulka was under very heavy pressure from other Communist parties to go back to collectivization. He wants to be in the position of saying that his method works well. Further, Dr. Lychowski stated flatly that the Soviet grain harvest this year will be bad. The 400,000 tons of grain deliveries to Poland from the Soviet Union will come; but they will come late. In the light of the modest increase in the Polish harvest and the probable slowness in Soviet deliveries, he expressed the hope that we would find it possible to provide at least the same amount of grain under the PL 480 agreement as we did last year. That is, he said, 1.4 million tons. He advanced two political arguments for our continued support at this level. First, that we should help Gomulka continue to avoid collectivization (he described his mission in Washington as “helping the Old Man” maintain his agricultural policy); second, that Soviet tourists from the western provinces of Russia to Poland are increasing, and an ample Polish supply of bread and meat in Poland is good propaganda. He stated that in Russia, while the cities have enough bread, there is some trouble with the bread supply in the provinces.
- He raised the question of whether, in line with a contingent agreement with the Eisenhower Administration, we might find it possible to allocate in FY 1962 $5 million from the contingency fund via the Export-Import Bank for the purchase of industrial equipment in the U.S.
- He told me of the Western European complaint that U.S. PL 480 grain was permitting Poland to increase its exports of animal products to Western Europe. He stated that the Department of Agriculture has a long reply to this charge. If it were regarded as a serious matter by the U.S., Poland would be prepared to buy feed grains for dollars in the U.S. up to a limited amount, to be financed through the Export-Import Bank via the contingency fund; or, alternatively—as I understood his argument—Poland [Page 81]would be prepared to buy feed grains in dollars if the contingency fund were used to finance an equivalent amount of the transport costs of PL 480 grain shipments.
I received these statements without comment.
W. W. Rostow1