47. Memorandum From A. Denis Clift of the National Security Council Staff to Secretary of State Kissinger, Washington, February 22, 1974.1 2




  • A. Denis Clift [ADC initialed]


  • Proposal for Official Visit by Gierek in 1974




February 22, 1974

On the assumption that the White House has already approved in principle an official visit by Polish First Secretary Gierek in 1974, State has forwarded the memorandum at Tab B setting forth tactical options aimed at ensuring that Polish Cardinal Wyszynski does not attempt to block or hamper the visit.

State has based its assumption on Polish Ambassador Trampczynski’s report of his conversation with you during a State reception on November 29, 1973 during which it is reported (Memcon at Tab C) that you informed the Ambassador that the visit would take place during 1974.

I believe it would be appropriate to consider a visit by Gierek later this year. While we are still at odds with the Poles over their ICCS performance, other aspects of our relations have shown improvement during 1973 —particularly in the work of the trade and science commissions established during the President’s 1972 Warsaw visit. As you know, the communique from the visit recorded the Polish leaders’ acceptance of the President’s invitation to pay a return visit to the United States.

The schedule proposal for your signature to the President at Tab A would recommend that he approve an official visit by Polish First Secretary Gierek during September-November 1974.

Turning to the issue of advance consultations with the Catholic church, State believes that the success of the Gierek visit will depend in part on the attitude of the Polish/American community and that this attitude will be influenced by the position which Polish Cardinal Wyszynski adopts toward the visit. State accordingly recommends advance consultations with the Cardinal, suggesting that Ambassador Davies might take up the issue directly with the Polish Cardinal or that the State Department could ask U. S. Cardinal Krol, who has responsibilities for Polish church matters in the United States, to discuss the Gierek visit with Cardinal Wyszynski.

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In my opinion once the schedule proposal has been approved for the Gierek visit, it would be useful to have advance consultations. However, I believe it would be best to have the White House handle this matter — perhaps either General Haig as chief of the White House staff or Peter Flanigan — with Cardinal Krol. The necessary talking points would be as follows:

  • — Reference to the 1972 Warsaw communique, and the Polish leaders’ acceptance of the President’s return invitation.
  • — The President is extending an invitation to First Secretary Gierek for the autumn of 1974.
  • — The White House wanted Cardinal Krol to know in the belief that he might wish to afford Cardinal Wyszynski the courtesy of notification of the visit in advance of the public announcement.
  • — Recalling his very warm and cordial reception in Poland in 1972, it is, of course, the President’s hope that First Secretary Gierek’s visit will be successful.

If you agree that the consultations should be handled by the White House along the above lines, we will draft the necessary talking points following approval of the schedule proposal. (The ICCS issue has been coordinated with Bill Stearman.)


That you sign the schedule proposal at Tab A.
Following approval of the proposal, that you approve having a member of the White House Staff consult with Cardinal Krol, in advance of public announcement of the Gierek visit.


Prepare talking points for Haig

Prepare talking points for Flanigan

DISAPPROVE, let State handle


  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, NSC Staff for Europe, Canada, and Ocean Affairs, Convenience Files, Box 71, October 1974—Poland—First Secretary Gierek (1) WH. Confidential; Nodis. Sent for action. Attached but not published are Tab A, an undated draft schedule for Gierek’s visit, Tab B, a February 15 memorandum from Executive Secretary Springsteen to Scowcroft on preparations for Gierek’s visit, and Tab C, memorandum of conversations, December 4, 1973, Davies had had with staff of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding their positive reactions to the proposed Gierek visit to the U.S. Kissinger did not initial any option.
  2. Clift recommended that the U.S. invite First Secretary Gierek to visit the United States in 1974.