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

5366. Subject: US policy toward Poland.

Following comments and recommendations concerning US policy toward Poland are submitted with thought that they may be useful in context of policy reviews taking place during transition period.
Begin summary. While recognizing Poland’s current position as staunch Warsaw Pact ally of USSR ruled by doctrinaire, conservative Communist regime, I believe that evolutionary trends inevitably will continue develop here as in other areas of Eastern Europe. To encourage such trends, to enhance US influence and to promote in long term better relations between Poland and West, we recommend continued, low-visibility, student, professor and technical exchanges; expanded use of PL–480 funds for English language teaching and research projects; revamping VOA broadcasts; and reinstitution some form of Media Guarantee Program. We also favor maintenance of MFN for Poland, competitive commercial credits, renewed efforts conclude consular convention, and encouragement of Polish participation in international organizations. Lastly, we believe it would be helpful if US, in consultation with FRG, could take public position recognizing de facto permanency of present Polish western boundaries. End summary.
Poland’s political situation and prospects. Recent Fifth Congress of Polish Communist Party reaffirmed Gomulka’s leadership and gave strong support to program emphasizing loyalty to USSR “for better or worse,” and conservative policies relating to internal political and economic life. Re international affairs, regime stresses hostility to FRG, necessity of recognizing status quo in Europe, and Soviet preeminence in Eastern Europe. Conservative line and continued leadership of Gomulka are supported by USSR, which wishes stability in Poland, and reflect desire of Polish regime to damp down and absorb internal stresses in wake of “March events” and Czechoslovakia.
However, despite lid imposed by Fifth Congress, there is tension and maneuver in dynamics of internal politics. Younger elements, both party and non-party, are pushing for recognition, and nationalist themes continue to be voiced although in muted fashion. Regardless of personal fortunes such individual pretenders as Gierek and Moczar, pressures for less doctrinaire approach to political and economic problems facing Poland exist and are certain to increase. Although Soviets as well as Gomulka and his cohorts will attempt to restrain such pressures, and may be successful in short run, I am persuaded that over long term evolutionary [Page 379] trends in Poland as well as elsewhere in Eastern Europe cannot be contained. It should be our policy to contribute discreetly but effectively to develop such trends.
US image in Poland. There is broadly based sentiment of good will toward US in Poland resulting from many factors, including numerous family ties with relatives in US, admiration for US as technologically advanced country of democracy and opportunity, and respect for US as leader of non-Communist world. Young people in particular tend regard US with sympathy as most modern state endowed with highest standard of living. At same time, regime propaganda pictures US as imperialist power trying to act as world’s policeman (Viet-Nam) and internal conflicts in US are played up. While this propaganda is not in itself very convincing, it is all-pervasive, persistent, and its effectiveness is increasing as cultural, media and other contacts with US are reduced. To counter regime propaganda and to maintain and if possible enhance good US image in Poland, we should aim at improving our cultural, informational, and scientific programs in Poland.
With these elements in mind, we recommend following (to be elaborated in year-end policy assessment):
Exchange and cooperative programs: (1) Expand government-sponsored, long-term student and professor exchanges; (2) encourage further institution-sponsored programs, such as Academy of Sciences, Stanford University, and projected Kansas University English language exchange; (3) develop new PL-480 cooperative and research projects in scientific fields; (4) continue efforts obtain Congressional approval for ten-year English program, and meanwhile expand current English-teaching program; (5) augment present facilities and exchanges with Krakow Children’s Hospital; (6) encourage Ford Foundation’s joint-project concept and further foundation exchanges, like Kosciuszko; and (7) support international cooperative programs, like current FAO/UNDP projects.
Media: (1) Develop new program to replace former IMG (International Media Guarantee); (2) enter 1969 Warsaw Book Fair and Poznan Trade Fair; (3) utilize in Poland results of Yugoslav book reprint program; (4) foster US-Polish university book exchange; and (5) target Polish language VOA programs to an increasing extent on youth.
Consular convention: We have had indications recently that Poles would like to conclude negotiations on consular convention (separate report will be submitted) and we recommend reopening discussions on this subject.
Trade: Believing that our economic as well as political interests are furthered through East-West engagement, multi-lateralism and improvement BOP situation, we recommend: (1) maintenance MFN; (2) flexible US trade policy including industrial credits at least up to Berne Convention limits to East European countries and competitive CCC [Page 380] credits; (3) realistic strategic licensing; (4) resumption normal commercial promotion activities; and (5) discreet encouragement meaningful Polish participation in international bodies such as GATT and ECE, and increased contact wherever feasible between Poland and other East European countries and OECD.
Oder-Neisse line. I am aware of difficult and complicated nature of this problem, particularly from standpoint of our relations with FRG. Also, I am under no illusions that US—and even FRG—recognition of boundary would result in immediate improvement basic FRG-Polish relations or related East-West security and political problems. However, I am impressed with insistence and effectiveness of Polish propaganda re impermanent nature of western frontiers, and I am also impressed with fact that no responsible Western official seems to believe that significant alteration in Oder-Neisse boundary will be feasible or that FRG recognition at some later date can be traded for anything worthwhile.
In this situation, I feel that we should prepare ground for time when US spokesman could issue statement expressing our confidence that delimitation of boundaries of reunified Germany in a peace treaty would reflect factual situation east of the Oder-Neisse.
Timing and exact wording obviously would have to be worked out with FRG and other Allies with greatest care, possibly associating it with some significant measure or statement relating to European security and Western Alliance. Ideally it should follow or be in conjunction with statement by FRG itself concerning various aspects its Eastern policy. Probably no time is an ideal time for such a step in so far as US-FRG relations are concerned; but I believe it would pay dividends in terms of lessening impact of Communist propaganda and in injecting realism into important aspect of East-West relations, thereby furthering our long-range interests in Europe.
Conclusion. We recognize of course, that in post-Czechoslovakia period, and with general tightening of ideological screws in Eastern Europe, it is not politically desirable nor would it be effective for us to undertake broad-gauged program of “bridge-building” initiatives toward Poland or others of Warsaw Pact Five. Nevertheless, we should continue to play for long term in pursuing program of type outlined above, which, in discreet and non-ostentatious manner, is aimed at furthering evolutionary trends in Poland and building on already broad base of sympathetic regard for us.
Enunciation of new US stand on frontiers, while admittedly a more far-reaching and complicated political move, in my view could be influential in this part of Eastern Europe in lessening impact of one major element of Communist propaganda line and conceivably in preparing way for more rational Polish-FRG relations.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 POL–US. Secret.