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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 03, 1958


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    Deputy Minister Winiewicz recounts his conversation with Ambassador Beam, in which Winiewicz replies to the American note concerning the Rapacki Plan by asserting the Polish intention to continue pursuing the Plan. Beam assures Winiewicz of the American interest in positive relations with Poland.
    "Deputy Minister Winiewicz, 'Record of Conversation with US Ambassador on May 3, 1958' ," May 03, 1958, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Polskie dokumenty dyplomatyczne 1958 (Warszawa: Polski Instytut Spraw Międzynarodowych, 2011), Document #142, pp.319-321. Translated by Jerzy Giebułtowski.
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May 3, deputy minister Winiewicz’s record of conversation

with the US ambassador on the Rapacki Plan

May 3, 1958

Top Secret!

v. urgent


of conversation with US ambassador on May 3, 1958

Yesterday ambassador of the United States J.D. Beam asked to see me today. After a brief introduction he handed in a note (see attachment6[1]) that is a reply to our note and memorandum of the 14th of this year regarding the nuclear-free zone in Central Europe.7[2] When I read it, I gave Beam the following preliminary reply:

1) We can welcome the fact that the United States took such a position with respect to the Polish plan, to which we attach the greatest importance, and that it appreciates the Polish government’s intentions, which wishes to contribute to consolidating security and peace.

2) The American note would require that we study it and take a position. Thus we reserve the right to formulate a written reply. We wish to continue discussing the Rapacki Plan with them and we will not drop our proposals, which we find right.

3) The negative position of the government with respect to the Polish Plan is based on the assumption that is necessary [to immediately implement] universal disarmament solution. Given that the past has shown how difficult it is to achieve an international universal disarmament agreement, the Rapacki Plan proposes a nuclear-free zone in a limited as a preliminary step. Our position, we believe, is still more realistic and therefore more effective.

4) Our memorandum clearly provides for discussion on limitation of conventional weapons as the next step following agreement as to the zone’s denuclearization. Also in this respect, the basis of our thinking is realism, dictated by the fact that, after all, quite recently the Western powers rejected the Soviet plan (of November 1956), which envisaged simultaneous establishment of a zone of limited conventional and nuclear armament. Another important element of our plan are control proposals, to which the American note, unfortunately does not devote enough attention.

5) As regards Germany, we still believe that what hinders discussion and agreement about reunification is precisely remilitarization and nuclear armament of the Bundeswehr.

6) It is not my intention to discuss those points of the American note that are not directly connected with the Rapacki Plan. I only wish to emphasize once again that a top-level meeting is both advisable and weighty, and could help remove many obstacles for intentional détente and create the basis for solving controversial problems.

Beam did not defend the claims of the note. He did, however, ask for elaboration of our position, primarily with respect to conventional disarmament. He took down my replies. In an extended argument, citing his government’s position, he countered our fears as to Bundeswehr’s armament, stressing the moments that the US constantly underlines:

a) the American government understands and appreciates Polish apprehension about the German danger, apprehensions that stem from historical experience;

b) nuclear weapons for the Bundeswehr will not be delivered immediately, and on arrival will remain in sole discretion of the American command;

c) the FRG government does not try to have the ban lifted on the production of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons in West Germany;

d) the current German government, just as the American one, acts without aggressive intentions, only in the interest of self-defense.

Toward the end of the conversation Beam, like the American note stressed the intention of the US government to continue developing good relations with Poland.

Throughout the conversation, Beam tried to stud his argument with friendly tones toward Poland. I, on my part, strongly stressed that by no means do we treat the American note as sounding off [rejection?] of the Rapacki Plan; on the contrary, we uphold the plan, and will discuss and promote it.

Undoubtedly, the negative assessment of the Plan’s substance in the American note is merely an overture to the NATO meeting [scheduled for] after Sunday; whereas its tone takes into consideration its echoes among the Polish opinion, but also the possible repercussions in the opinion of the West, which looks kindly on the Rapacki Plan.

/–/ Winiewicz


We shall publish a summary of the American note in Monday’s press. Tomorrow we are running a brief piece on the fact of Beam’s visit.

AMSZ, z. 23. w. 14, t. 163

6 The attached note read, among others, that the Polish proposals are “too limited in terms of their scope, so as to reduce the danger of nuclear war or create a reliable European basis for security. These proposals do not refer to the fundamental issue of continued production of nuclear weapons by the existing nuclear powers, neither do they take into consideration the fact that today’s scientific technology is not sufficient to detect the existing nuclear weapons”; se also doc. no 220.

7 Doc. no 62.


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