Major ceremonies were held in 1982 to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. With the exceptions of Washington and Lincoln, he was glorified and eulogized as no other president in American history. Even conservative President Ronald Reagan joined the chorus of applause. In early 1983, newspapers and television networks remembered the fiftieth anniversary of Roosevelt's inauguration with numerous laudatory tributes.
And yet, with each passing year more and more new evidence comes to light which contradicts the glowing image of Roosevelt portrayed by the mass media and politicians.
Much has already been written about Roosevelt's campaign of deception and outright lies in getting the United States to intervene in the Second World War prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Roosevelt's aid to Britain and the Soviet Union in violation of American neutrality and international law, his acts of war against Germany in the Atlantic in an effort to provoke a German declaration of war against the United States, his authorization of a vast "dirty tricks" campaign against U.S. citizens by British intelligence agents in violation of the Constitution, and his provocations and ultimatums against Japan which brought on the attack against Pearl Harbor — all this is extensively documented and reasonably well known.
Not so well known is the story of Roosevelt's enormous responsibility for the outbreak of the Second World War itself. This essay focuses on Roosevelt's secret campaign to provoke war in Europe prior to the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939. It deals particularly with his efforts to pressure Britain, France and Poland into war against Germany in 1938 and 1939.
Franklin Roosevelt not only criminally involved America in a war which had already engulfed Europe. He bears a grave responsibility before history for the outbreak of the most destructive war of all time.
This paper relies heavily on a little-known collection of secret Polish documents which fell into German hands when Warsaw was captured in September 1939. These documents clearly establish Roosevelt's crucial role in bringing on the Second World War. They also reveal the forces behind the President which pushed for war.
While a few historians have quoted sentences and even paragraphs from these documents, their importance has not been fully appreciated. There are three reasons for this, I believe. First, for many years their authenticity was not indisputably established. Second, a complete collection of the documents has not been available in English. And third, the translation of those documents which has been available in English until now is deficient and unacceptably bad.
When the Germans took Warsaw in late September 1939, they seized a mass of documents from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a letter of 8 April 1983, Dr. Karl Otto Braun of Munich informed me that the documents were captured by an SS brigade led by Freiherr von Kuensberg, whom Braun knew personally. In a surprise attack, the brigade captured the center of Warsaw ahead of the regular German army. Von Kuensberg told Braun that his men took control of the Polish Foreign Ministry just as Ministry officials were in the process of burning incriminating documents. Dr. Braun was an official of the German Foreign Office between 1938 and 1945.
The German Foreign Office chose Hans Adolf von Moltke, formerly the Reich's Ambassador in Warsaw, to head a special Archive Commission to examine the collection and sort out those documents which might be suitable for publication. At the end of March 1940, 16 of these were published in book form under the title Polnische Dokumente zur Vorgeschichte des Krieges ["Polish Documents on the Pre-History of the War"]. The Foreign Office edition was subtitled "German White Book No. 3." The book was immediately published in various foreign language editions in Berlin and some other European capitals. An American edition was published in New York by Howell, Soskin and Company as The German White Paper. Historian C. Hartley Grattan contributed a remarkably cautious and reserved foreword.
The translation of the documents for the U.S. White Paper edition was inexcusably bad. Whole sentences and parts of sentences were missing and portions were grossly mistranslated. H. Keith Thompson explained to me why this was so during a conversation on 22 March 1983 and in a letter of 13 May 1983. A poor first draft English-language translation had been prepared in Berlin and sent to America. It was given to George Sylvester Viereck, a prominent pro-German American publicist and literary advisor to the German Library of Information in New York City. Thompson knew Viereck intimately and served as his chief aide and re-writer. Viereck had hurriedly redrafted the translation from Berlin into more readable prose but without any opportunity of comparing it to the original Polish text (which he could not read in any case) or even the official German-language version. In making stylistic changes for the sake of readability, the meaning of the original documents was thereby inadvertently distorted.
The matter was also discussed at a small dinner for Lawrence Dennis hosted by Thompson at Viereck's apartment in the Hotel Belleclaire in New York City in 1956. Viereck explained that he had been a highly paid literary consultant to the German government, responsible for the propaganda effect of publications, and could not be concerned with the translation groundwork normally done by clerks. Even the most careful translation of complicated documents is apt to distort the original meaning, and literary editing is certain to do so, Viereck said. Thompson agreed with that view.
In preparing the English-language text for this essay, I have carefully examined the official German translation and various other translations, and compared them with facsimiles of the original Polish documents.
The German government considered the captured Polish documents to be of tremendous importance. On Friday, 29 March, the Reich Ministry of Propaganda confidentially informed the daily press of the reason for releasing the documents:
These extraordinary documents, which may be published beginning with the first edition on Saturday, will create a first-class political sensation, since they in fact prove the degree of America's responsibility for the outbreak of the present war. America's responsibility must not, of course, be stressed in commentaries; the documents must be left to speak for themselves, and they speak clearly enough.
The Ministry of Propaganda specifically asks that sufficient space be reserved for the publication of these documents, which is of supreme importance to the Reich and the German people.
We inform you in confidence that the purpose of publishing these documents is to strengthen the American isolationists and to place Roosevelt in an untenable position, especially in view of the fact that he is standing for re-election. It is however not at all necessary for us to point Roosevelt's responsibility; his enemies in America will take care of that.
The German Foreign Office made the documents public on Friday, 29 March 1940. In Berlin, journalists from around the world, including the United States, were given facsimile copies of the original Polish documents and translations in German. journalists were permitted to examine the original documents themselves, along with an enormous pile of other documents from the Polish Foreign Ministry.
The release of the documents was an international media sensation. American newspapers gave the story large front page headline coverage and published lengthy excerpts from the documents. But the impact was much less than the German government had hoped for.
Leading U.S. government officials wasted no time in vehemently denouncing the documents as not authentic. Secretary of State Cordell Hull stated: "I may say most emphatically that neither I nor any of my associates in the Department of State have ever heard of any such conversations as those alleged, nor do we give them the slightest credence. The statements alleged have not represented in any way at any time the thought or the policy of the American government." William Bullitt, the U.S. Ambassador to Paris who was particulary incriminated by the documents, announced: "I have never made to anyone the statements attributed to me." And Count Jerzy Potocki, the Polish Ambassador in Washington whose confidential reports to Warsaw were the most revealing, declared: "I deny the allegations attributed to my reports. I never had any conversations with Ambassador Bullitt on America's participation in war."
These categorical public denials by the highest officials had the effect of almost completely undercutting the anticipated impact of the documents. It must be remembered that this was several decades before the experiences of the Vietnam war and Watergate had taught another generation of Americans to be highly skeptical of such official denials. In 1940, the vast majority of the American people trusted their political leaders to tell them the truth.
After all, if the documents made public to the world by the German government were in fact authentic and genuine, it would mean that the great leader of the American democracy was a man who lied to his own people and broke his own country's laws, while the German government told the truth. To accept that would be quite a lot to expect of any nation, but especially of the trusting American public.
Comment from Capitol Hill generally echoed the official government view. Senator Key Pittman, the Democratic Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, called the documents "unmitigated falsehood designed to create dissension in the United States." Senator Claude Peper, Democrat of Florida, declared: "It's German propaganda and shouldn't affect our policies in the least." Only a few were not impressed with the official denials. Representative Hamilton Fish of New York, the ranking Republican member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called for a Congressional investigation and declared in a radio address: "If these charges were true, it would constitute a treasonable act. If President Roosevelt has entered into secret understandings or commitments with foreign governments to involve us in war, he should be impeached."
American newspapers stressed the high-level denials in reporting the release of the documents. The New York Timesheadline read: U.S. BRANDS AS FALSE NAZI DOCUMENTS CHARGING WE FOSTERED WAR IN EUROPE AND PROMISED TO JOIN ALLIES IF NEEDED. The Baltimore Sun headlined: NAZI DOCUMENTS LAYING WAR BLAME ON U.S. ARE ASSAILED IN WASHINGTON.
Although the book of Polish documents was labeled "first series," no further volumes ever appeared. From time to time the German government would make public additional documents from the Polish archives. These were published in book form in 1943 along with numerous other documents captured by the Germans from the French Foreign Ministry and other European archives, under the title Roosevelts Weg in den Krieg: Geheimdokumente zur Kriegspolitik des Praesidenten der Vereinigten Staaten ["Roosevelt's Way Into War: Secret Documents on the War Policy of the President of the United States"].
An important unanswered question is: Where are the original Polish documents today? Unless they were destroyed in the conflagration of the war, they presumably fell into either American or Soviet hands in 1945. In view of recent U.S. government policy on secret archival material, it is very unlikely that they would still be secret today if they had been acquired by the United States. My guess is that if they were not destroyed, they are now either in Moscow or at the East German Central State Archives in Potsdam.
It is particularly important to keep in mind that these secret reports were written by top level Polish ambassadors, that is, by men who though not at all friendly to Germany nonetheless understood the realities of European Politics far better than those who made policy in the United States.
For example, the Polish ambassadors realized that behind all their rhetoric about democracy and human rights, and expressions of love for the United States, the Jews who agitated for war against Germany were actually doing nothing other than ruthlessly furthering their own purely sectarian interests. Many centuries of experience in living closely with the Jews had made the Poles far more aware than most nationalities of the special character of this people.
The Poles viewed the Munich Settlement of 1938 very differently than did Roosevelt and his circle. The President bitterly attacked the Munich agreement, which gave self-determination to the three and a half million Germans of Czechoslovakia and settled a major European crisis, as a shameful and humiliating capitulation to German blackmail. Although wary of German might, the Polish government supported the Munich agreement, in part because a small Polish territory which had been a part of Czechoslovakia against the wishes of its inhabitants was united with Poland as a result of the Settlement.
The Polish envoys held the makers of American foreign policy in something approaching contempt. President Roosevelt was considered a master political artist who knew how to mold American public opinion, but very little about the true state of affairs in Europe. As Poland's Ambassador to Washington emphasized in his reports to Warsaw, Roosevelt pushed America into war in order to distract attention from his failures as President in domestic policy.
It is beyond the scope of this paper to go into the complexities of German-Polish relations between 1933 and 1939 and the reasons for the German attack against Poland at dawn on the first day of September 1939. However, it should be noted that Poland had refused to even negotiate over self-determination for the German city of Danzig and the ethnic German minority in the so-called Polish Corridor. Hitler felt compelled to resort to arms when he did in response to a growing Polish campaign of terror and dispossession against the one and a half million ethnic Germans under Polish rule. In my view, if ever a military action was justified, it was the German campaign against Poland in 1939.
Poland's headstrong refusal to negotiate was made possible because of a fateful blank check guarantee of military backing from Britain — a pledge that ultimately proved completely worthless to the hapless Poles. Considering the lightning swiftness of the victorious German campaign, it is difficult to realize today that the Polish government did not fear war with Germany. Poland's leaders foolishly believed that German might was only an illusion. They were convinced that their troops would occupy Berlin itself within a few weeks and add further German territories to an enlarged Polish state. It is also important to keep in mind that the purely localized conflict between Germany and Poland was only transformed into a Europe-wide conflagration by the British and French declarations of war against Germany.
After the war the Allied-appointed judges at the International Military Tribunal staged at Nuremberg refused to admit the Polish documents as evidence for the German defense. Had these pieces of evidence been admitted, the Nuremberg undertaking might have been less a victors' show trial and more a genuinely impartial court of international justice.
Authenticity Beyond Doubt
There is now absolutely no question that the documents from the Polish Foreign Ministry in Warsaw made public by the German government are genuine and authentic.
Charles C. Tansill, professor of American diplomatic history at Georgetown University, considered them genuine. "… I had a long conversation with M. Lipsky, the Polish ambassador in Berlin in the prewar years, and he assured me that the documents in the German White Paper are authentic," he wrote. Historian and sociologist Harry Elmer Barnes confirmed this assessment: “Both Professor Tansill and myself have independently established the thorough authenticity of these documents.” In America's Second Crusade, William H. Chamberlin reported: "I have been privately informed by an extremely reliable source that Potocki, now residing in South America, confirmed the accuracy of the documents, so far as he was concerned."
More importantly, Edward Raczynski, the Polish Ambassador in London from 1934 to 1945, confirmed the authenticity of the documents in his diary, which was published in 1963 under the title In Allied London. In his entry for 20 June 1940, he wrote:
The Germans published in April a White Book containing documents from the archives of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, consisting of reports from Potocki in Washington, Lukasiewicz in Paris and myself. I do not know where they found them, since we were told that the archives had been destroyed. The documents are certainly genuine, and the facsimiles show that for the most part the Germans got hold of originals and not merely copies.
In this 'First Series' of documents I found three reports from this Embassy, two by myself and the third signed by me but written by Balinski. I read them with some apprehension, but they contained nothing liable to compromise myself or the Embassy or to impair relations with our British hosts.
In 1970 their authenticity was reconfirmed with the publication of Diplomat in Paris 1936-1939. This important work consists of the official papers and memoirs of Juliusz Lukasiewicz, the former Polish Ambassador to Paris who authored several of the secret diplomatic reports made public by the German government. The collection was edited by Waclaw Jedrzejewicz, a former Polish diplomat and cabinet member, and later Professor Emeritus of Wellesley and Ripon colleges. Professor Jedrzejewicz considered the documents made public by the Germans absolutely genuine. He quoted extensively from several of them.
Mr. Tyler G. Kent has also vouched for the authenticity of the documents. He states that while working at the U.S. embassy in London in 1939 and 1940, he saw copies of U.S. diplomatic messages in the files which corresponded to the Polish documents and which confirmed their accuracy.
Two Key Diplomats
Two American diplomats who played especially crucial roles in the European crisis of 1938-1939 are mentioned often in the Polish documents. The first of these was William C. Bullitt. Although his official position was U.S. Ambassador to France, he was in reality much more than that. He was Roosevelt's "super envoy" and personal deputy in Europe.
Like Roosevelt, Bullitt "rose from the rich." He was born into an important Philadelphia banking family, one of the city's wealthiest. His mother's grandfather, Jonathan Horwitz, was a German Jew who had come to the United States from Berlin. In 1919 Bullitt was an assistant to President Wilson at the Versailles peace conference. That same year, Wilson and British Prime Minister Lloyd George sent him to Russia to meet with Lenin and determine if the new Bolshevik government deserved recognition by the Allies. Bullitt met with Lenin and other top Soviet leaders and upon his return urged recognition of the new regime. But he had a falling-out with Wilson and left diplomatic service. In 1923 he married Louise Bryant Reed, the widow of American Communist leader John Reed. In Europe Bullitt collaborated with Sigmund Freud on a psychoanalytical biography of Wilson. When Roosevelt became President in 1933, he brought Bullitt back into diplomatic life.
In November 1933, Roosevelt sent Bullitt to Moscow as the first U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union. His initial enthusiasm for the Soviet system gave way to a deep distrust of Stalin and Communism. In 1936 the President transferred him to Paris. He served there as Roosevelt's key European diplomat until 1940 when Churchill's assumption of leadership in Britain and the defeat of France made his special role superfluous.
In the Spring of 1938, all U.S. envoys in Europe were subordinated to Bullitt by an internal directive of the State Department. As the European situation worsened in 1939, Roosevelt often spoke with his man in Paris by telephone, sometimes daily, frequently giving him precisely detailed and ultra-confidential instructions on how to conduct America's foreign policy. Not even Secretary of State Cordell Hull was privy to many of the letters and communications between Bullitt and Roosevelt.
In France, the New York Times noted, Bullitt "was acclaimed there as 'the Champagne Ambassador' on account of the lavishness of his parties, but he was far more than the envoy to Paris: He was President Roosevelt's intimate adviser on European affairs, with telephone access to the President at any hour."
Bullitt and Roosevelt were fond of each other and saw eye to eye on foreign policy issues. Both were aristocrats and thorough internationalists who shared definite views on how to remake the world and a conviction that they were destined to bring about that grand reorganization.
"Between these teammates," the Saturday Evening Post reported in March 1939,
there is a close, hearty friendship and a strong temperamental affinity. The President is known to rely upon Bullitt's judgment so heavily that the ambassador's mailed and cabled reports from abroad are supplemented several times a week by a chat by transatlantic telephone. In addition, Bullitt returns to the United States several times each year to take part in White House councils, to the displeasure of the State Department, which considers him a prima donna.
In the whole roster of the State Department the President could not have found an adviser who would have been so responsive to his own champagne personality as Bullitt. Both men, born patricians, have the same basic enthusiasm for remolding society …
In Europe, Bullitt spoke with the voice and the authority of President Roosevelt himself.
The second most important American diplomat in Europe was Joseph P. Kennedy, Roosevelt's Ambassador at the Court of St. James. Like Bullitt he was a wealthy banker. But this Boston Catholic of Irish ancestry was otherwise a very different sort of man. Roosevelt sent Kennedy, an important Democratic party figure and father of a future President, to Britain for purely political reasons. Roosevelt disliked and distrusted Kennedy, and this sentiment grew as Kennedy opposed the President's war policies more and more vehemently. Moreover, Kennedy despised his counterpart in Paris. In a letter to his wife, he wrote: "I talk to Bullitt occasionally. He is more rattlebrained than ever. His judgment is pathetic and I am afraid of his influence on F.D.R. because they think alike on many things."
Here now are extensive excerpts from the Polish documents themselves. They are given in chronological order. They are remarkably lucid for diplomatic reports and speak eloquently for themselves.
* * * * *
On 9 February 1938, the Polish Ambassador in Washington, Count Jerzy Potocki, reported to the Foreign Minister in Warsaw on the Jewish role in making American foreign policy:
The pressure of the Jews on President Roosevelt and on the State Department is becoming ever more powerful …
… The Jews are right now the leaders in creating a war psychosis which would plunge the entire world into war and bring about general catastrophe. This mood is becoming more and more apparent.
in their definition of democratic states, the Jews have also created real chaos: they have mixed together the idea of democracy and communism and have above all raised the banner of burning hatred against Nazism.
This hatred has become a frenzy. It is propagated everywhere and by every means: in theaters, in the cinema, and in the press. The Germans are portrayed as a nation living under the arrogance of Hitler which wants to conquer the whole world and drown all of humanity in an ocean of blood.
In conversations with Jewish press representatives I have repeatedly come up against the inexorable and convinced view that war is inevitable. This international Jewry exploits every means of propaganda to oppose any tendency towards any kind of consolidation and understanding between nations. In this way, the conviction is growing steadily but surely in public opinion here that the Germans and their satellites, in the form of fascism, are enemies who must be subdued by the 'democratic world.'
On 21 November 1938, Ambassador Potocki sent a report to Warsaw which discussed in some detail a conversation between himself and Bullitt, who happened to be back in Washington:
The day before yesterday I had a long conversation with Ambassador Bullitt, who is here on vacation. He began by remarking that friendly relations existed between himself and [Polish] Ambassador Lukasiewicz in Paris, whose company he greatly enjoyed.
Since Bullitt regularly informs President Roosevelt about the international situation in Europe, and particularly about Russia, great attention is given to his reports by President Roosevelt and the State Department. Bullitt speaks energetically and interestingly. Nonetheless, his reaction to events in Europe resembles the view of a journalist more than that of a politician …
About Germany and Chancellor Hitler he spoke with great vehemence and strong hatred. He said that only force, and ultimately a war would put an end to the insane future German expansionism.
To my question asking how he visualized this coming war, he replied that above all the United States, France and England must rearm tremendously in order to be in a position to oppose German power.
Only then, when the moment is ripe, declared Bullitt further, will one be ready for the final decision. I asked him in what way a conflict could arise, since Germany would probably not attack England and France first. I simply could not see the connecting point in this whole combination.
Bullitt replied that the democratic countries absolutely needed another two years until they were fully armed. In the meantime, Germany would probably have advanced with its expansion in an easterly direction. It would be the wish of the democratic countries that armed conflict would break out there, in the East between the German Reich and Russia. As the Soviet Union's potential strength is not yet known, it might happen that Germany would have moved too far away from its base, and would be condemned to wage a long and weakening war. Only then would the democratic countries attack Germany, Bullitt declared, and force her to capitulate.
In reply to my question whether the United States would take part in such a war, he said, 'Undoubtedly yes, but only after Great Britain and France had let loose first!' Feeling in the United States was no intense against Nazism and Hitlerism, that a psychosis already prevails today among Americans similar to that before America's declaration of war against Germany in 1917.
Bullitt did not give the impression of being very well informed about the situation in Eastern Europe, and he conversed in a rather superficial way.
Ambassador Potocki's report from Washington of 9 January 1939 dealt in large part with President Roosevelt's annual address to Congress:
President Roosevelt acts on the assumption that the dictatorial governments, above all Germany and Japan, only understand a policy of force. Therefore he has decided to react to any future blows by matching them. This has been demonstrated by the most recent measures of the United States.
The American public is subject to an ever more alarming propaganda which is under Jewish influence and continuously conjures up the specter of the danger of war. Because of this the Americans have strongly altered their views on foreign policy problems, in comparison with last year.
Of all the documents in this collection, the most revealing is probably the secret report by Ambassador Potocki of 12 January 1939 which dealt with the domestic situation in the United States. This report is given here in full:
The feeling now prevailing in the United States is marked by a growing hatred of Fascism and, above all, of Chancellor Hitler and everything connected with Nazism. Propaganda is mostly in the hands of the Jews who control almost 100 percent radio, film, daily and periodical press. Although this propaganda is extremely coarse and presents Germany as black as possible — above all religious persecution and concentration camps are exploited — this propaganda is nevertheless extremely effective since the public here is completely ignorant and knows nothing of the situation in Europe.
Right now most Americans regard Chancellor Hitler and Nazism as the greatest evil and greatest danger threatening the world. The situation here provides an excellent platform for public speakers of all kinds, for emigrants from Germany and Czechoslovakia who don't spare any words to incite the public here with every kind of slander. They praise American liberty which they contrast with the totalitarian states.
It is interesting to note that in this extremely well-planned campaign which is conducted above all against National Socialism, Soviet Russia is almost completely excluded. If mentioned at all, it is only in a friendly manner and things are presented in such a way as if Soviet Russia were working with the bloc of democratic states. Thanks to the clever propaganda the sympathy of the American public is completely on the side of Red Spain.
Besides this propaganda, a war psychosis is being artificially created. The American people are told that peace in Europe is hanging only by a thread and that war is unavoidable. At the same time the American people are unequivocally told that in case of a world war, America must also take an active part in order to defend the slogans of freedom and democracy in the world.
President Roosevelt was the first to express hatred against Fascism. In doing so he was serving a double purpose: First, he wanted to divert the attention of the American people from domestic political problems, especially the problem of the struggle between capital and labor. Second, by creating a war psychosis and by spreading rumors about danger threatening Europe, he wanted to get the American people to accept an enormous armament program which exceeds the defense requirements of the United States.
Regarding the first point, it must be said that the internal situation on the labor market is steadily growing worse. The unemployed today already number twelve million. Federal and state expenditures are increasing daily. Only the huge sums, running into billions, which the treasury expends for emergency labor projects, are keeping a certain amount of peace in the country. Thus far there have only been the usual strikes and local unrest. But how long this kind of government aid can be kept up cannot be predicted. The excitement and indignation of public opinion, and the serious conflict between private enterprises and enormous trusts on the one hand, and with labor on the other, have made many enemies for Roosevelt and are causing him many sleepless nights.
As to point two, I can only say that President Roosevelt, as a clever political player and an expert of the American mentality, speedily steered public attention away from the domestic situation to fasten it on foreign policy. The way to achieve this was simple. One needed, on the one hand, to conjure up a war menace hanging over the world because of Chancellor Hitler, and, on the other hand, to create a specter by babbling about an attack of the totalitarian states against the United States. The Munich pact came to President Roosevelt as a godsend. He portrayed it as a capitulation of France and England to bellicose German militarism. As people say here: Hitler compelled Chamberlain at pistol-point. Hence, France and England had no choice and had to conclude a shameful peace.
The prevalent hatred against everything which is in any way connected with German Nazism is further kindled by the brutal policy against the Jews in Germany and by the émigré problem. In this action, various Jewish intellectuals participated: for instance, Bernard Baruch; the Governor of New York State, Lehman; the newly appointed judge of the Supreme Court, Felix Frankfurter; Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau; and others who are personal friends of President Roosevelt. They want the President to become the champion of human rights, freedom of religion and speech, and the man who in the future will punish trouble-makers. These groups of people who occupy the highest positions in the American government and want to pose as representatives of 'true Americanism' and 'defenders of democracy' are, in the last analysis, connected by unbreakable ties with international Jewry.
For this Jewish international, which above all is concerned with the interests of its race, to portray the President of the United States as the 'idealist' champion on human rights was a very clever move. In this manner they have created a dangerous hotbed for hatred and hostility in this hemisphere and divided the world into two hostile camps. The entire issue is worked out in a masterly manner. Roosevelt has been given the foundation for activating American foreign policy, and simultaneously has been procuring enormous military stocks for the coming war, for which the Jews are striving very consciously. With regard to domestic policy, it is very convenient to divert public attention from anti-Semitism, which is constantly growing in the United States, by talking about the necessity of defending religion and individual liberty against the onslaught of Fascism.
On 16 January 1939, Polish Ambassador Potocki reported to the Warsaw Foreign Ministry on another lengthy conversation he had with Roosevelt's personal envoy, William Bullitt:
The day before yesterday, I had a longer discussion with Ambassador Bullitt in the Embassy where he called on me. Bullitt leaves on the 21st of this month for Paris, from where he has been absent for almost three months. He is sailing with a whole 'trunk' full of instructions, conversations, and directives from President Roosevelt, the State Department and Senators who belong to the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
In talking with Bullitt I had the impression that he had received from President Roosevelt a very precise definition of the attitude taken by the United States towards the present European crisis. He will present this material at the Quai d'Orsay [the French Foreign Ministry] and will make use of it in discussions with European statesmen. The contents of these directives, as Bullitt explained them to me in the course of a conversation lasting half an hour, were:
1. The vitalizing of foreign policy under the leadership of President Roosevelt, who severely and unambiguously condemns totalitarian countries.
2. United States preparations for war on sea, land and air will be carried out at an accelerated pace and will consume the colossal sum of 1.25 billion dollars.
3. It is the decided opinion of the President that France and Britain must put an end to any sort of compromise with the totalitarian countries. They must not get into any discussions aiming at any kind of territorial changes.
4. They have the moral assurance that the United States will abandon the policy of isolation and be prepared to intervene actively on the side of Britain and France in case of war. America is ready to place its whole wealth of money and raw materials at their disposal.
The Polish Ambassador to Paris, Juliusz (Jules) Lukasiewicz, sent a top secret report to the Foreign Ministry in Warsaw at the beginning of February 1939 which outlined U.S. policy towards Europe as explained to him by William Bullitt:
A week ago, the Ambassador of the United States, William Bullitt returned to Paris after a three months' leave in America. Meanwhile, I have had two conversations with him which enable me to inform you of his views regarding the European situation and to give a survey of Washington's policy.
The international situation is regarded by official circles as extremely serious and in constant danger of armed conflict. Those in authority are of the opinion that if war should break out between Britain and France on the one hand, and Germany and Italy on the other, and should Britain and France be defeated, the Germans would endanger the real interests of the United States on the American continent. For this reason, one can foresee right from the beginning the participation of the United States in the war on the side of France and Britain, naturally some time after the outbreak of the war. As Ambassador Bullitt expressed it: 'Should war break out we shall certainly not take part in it at the beginning, but we shall finish it.'
On 7 March 1939, Ambassador Potocki sent a remarkably lucid and perceptive report on Roosevelt's foreign policy to his government in Warsaw. This document was first made public when leading German newspapers published it in German translation, along with a facsimile reproduction of the first page of the Polish original, in their editions of 28 October 1940. The main National Socialist party newspaper, the Voelkischer Beobachter, published the Ambassador's report with this observation:
The document itself needs no commentary. We do not know, and it does not concern us, whether the internal American situation as reported by the Polish diplomat is correct in every detail. That must be decided by the American people alone. But in the interest of historical truth it is important for us to show that the warmongering activities of American diplomacy, especially in Europe, are once again revealed and proven by this document. It still remains a secret just who, and for what motives, have driven American diplomacy to this course. In any case, the results have been disastrous for both Europe and America. Europe was plunged into war and America has brought upon itself the hostility of great nations which normally have no differences with the American people and, indeed, have not been in conflict but have lived for generations as friends and want to remain so.
This report was not one of the Polish documents which was released in March 1940 and published as part of the "German White Book No. 3" (or the German White Paper). However, it was published in 1943 as part of the collection entitled "Roosevelt's Way Into War." As far as I can determine, this English translation is the first that has ever appeared. Ambassador Potocki's secret report of 7 March 1939 is here given in full: