121. Telegram From the Embassy in Poland to the Department of State1

1410. I have been somewhat disappointed by lack of any specific implementation of President’s wishes to build bridges in Poland. Consular [Page 336] negotiations are proceeding satisfactorily if somewhat slowly but hardest points remain to be decided.

We must bear in mind that there is strong evidence that during past year Poles and Russians have not seen eye to eye in number of situations:

Russia wanted to withdraw from co-chairmanship in Southeast Asia. Poles claim they have so far successfully dissuaded them.
Poles were very disturbed at Khrushchev’s idea of visiting West Germany.
Evidence suggests that Russians were unenthusiastic about Gomulka plan.2
Poles were undoubtedly disturbed at way Khrushchev was ousted.
Poles have openly shown their differences with Russians over way to treat Communist China.

I do not think these differences are of fundamental significance. Poles in own protection must remain loyal allies of Russia. Nevertheless, they do suggest that Poles might desire second string to their bow and might be willing to find it in West. It would seem to me the part of wisdom to encourage them to do this. This view is reinforced by fact that until unfortunate Carey incident (Embtel 1405),3 Poles recently have been rather forthcoming with us. I refer to their acceptance of the Atoms and Kennedy exhibits, the quick agreements on IMG, and the generally friendly tenor of the consular negotiations.

I recognize that it is not easy to come up with ways of conciliating Poles without running into more important adverse effects. Nevertheless, I do believe that we might urgently examine possibility of taking one or more of following steps:

To restore legal possibility for Poland to make Title I PL 480 purchases or alternatively to hint more strongly that we would be prepared to enter into a favorable Title IV contract with them.
To offer to open one or more US ports to Polish shipping in connection with negotiation of satisfactory consular convention (Embtel 1245).4
To abolish in US travel restrictions on Polish civilian officials.

Any one of these three steps would, I believe, have favorable effect locally. I must point out that having talked at some length about bridge building some time ago, we shall lose our momentum if we do not now take steps quickly to implement it. I also note that in the Secretary’s [Page 337] second talk with Rapacki no mention was made of bridge building. We have no record of the first.5 It seems to me important to get this project moving again.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL POL–US. Confidential; Limdis.
  2. Reference is to Gomulka’s call for a freeze on nuclear weapons in Central Europe. Rapacki formally presented the details of the proposal at a March 5, 1964, press conference.
  3. Telegram 1405 from Warsaw, November 1, reported that Poland had declared a U.S. military attaché persona non grata. (Department of State, Central Files, PER WARSAW)
  4. Telegram 1245 from Warsaw, December 11, reported that talks on a consular convention were moving at a good pace. (Ibid., CON 4 POL–US)
  5. The second talk is recorded in Document 120; regarding the first talk, dealing with Vietnam, see footnote 1 thereto.