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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 19, 1958


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    The Polish Embassy in Washington reports on the negative American opinion of the Rapacki Plan, as well as calls for free elections in eastern Europe.
    "Note from Department III Director Jeleń ," February 19, 1958, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Polskie dokumenty dyplomatyczne 1958 (Warszawa: Polski Instytut Spraw Międzynarodowych, 2011), Document #71, pp.167-168. Translated by Jerzy Giebułtowski.
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February 19, file note of Department III director:

information of the embassy in Washington about American reaction

to the Rapacki Plan

Warsaw, February 19, 1958

Top Secret


The PRP embassy in Washington (First Secretary Kmiecik) reports:

1) With reference to the Rapacki Plan, the American interlocutors keep returning to the German problem. They simply say that the Rapacki Plan would have been accepted passed more easily, had we agreed to a 'free election' in Germany, because then – as it is implied to us – our neighbor would be Ollenhauer, not Adenauer. This issue, in one form or another, keeps recurring in conversations.

On the other hand, the German ‘lobby’ is active here on a very large scale. The German ambassador-to-be in Washington, Grewe, obtained his habilitation in international law at the University Konigsberg, and taught international law in Berlin during the war.

Apart from that Dr Walter Becher, chief of the all-German bloc in the Bavarian Landtag and secretary general of the Sudetendeutscher Rat, is now travelling around the United States. He is the publisher of Sudeten-Bulletin in Munich. He was invited to Washington by a group of American congressmen. In his numerous conversations he claims that the greatest danger of the Rapacki Plan is the preservation of the status quo, but, after all, in Central Europe there can be no military solutions without general political solutions. So Becher demands a 'free election' not only in Germany, but also in Poland and Czechoslovakia. This is undoubtedly an extreme position, but it is one of those that influences American opinion just now.

2) What is interesting and very curious is that in its assessment of the Rapacki Plan almost the entire Polish émigré press follows the negative American opinions. The way we understand it is that professional and paid professional politicians – even if they liked the Rapacki Plan – cannot admit any autonomy of Polish policies, because they would lose face in the eyes of the State Department.

3) Enormous help in improving the reputation of the German came from the [launch of] the first American satellite. Now all American-German organizations are feting Wernher von Braun, the satellite’s constructor, who restored the German and American prestige.

/–/ Jeleń

AMSZ, z. 9, w. 48, t. 639


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