The Minister in Poland ( Gibson ) to the Acting Secretary of State

No. 1

Sir: In confirmation of my telegram No. 3 [6] of May 2nd,2 I have the honor to report that I have today delivered to General Pilsudski, Chief of the Polish State, my letters of credence as American Minister to Poland.

I have the honor to transmit herewith enclosed for the information of the Department a copy of the remarks I made on that occasion (enclosure No. 1), together with copy and translation of General Pilsudski’s reply. …

The ceremonies on this occasion were very simple. General de Yatzyna, Superintendent of the Military Schools, called for me with an aide shortly before four o’clock with three open carriages and two squadrons of lancers, for the drive to the Belvedere Palace at the other end of the city, the old country home of the Kings of Poland. The guard of honor was drawn up in the court yard as we drove in and the military band played the American National Anthem. The Chef de Protocole, Count Przyzdziecki and several aides in full uniform led the way to the room where I was to be received. The Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, M. Wróblewski, met me at the door and escorted me to the other end of the room where he presented me to the Chief of State who was waiting with his staff and the members of the cabinet. After I had read my speech and General Pilsudski had replied, I presented to him the members oi my staff and he in turn presented me to the cabinet.

General Pilsudski then asked me to be seated, and we talked for about twenty minutes, after which we took our leave and returned to our hotel. As we came out of the palace the band played the Polish National Anthem.

I have [etc.]

Hugh Gibson
[Page 743]
[Enclosure 1]

Remarks of the American Minister (Gibson) on the Occasion of His Reception by the Chief of the Polish State (Pilsudski), May 2, 1919

I have the honor to place in Your Excellency’s hands the letters accrediting me as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America near Your Excellency’s Government.

I esteem it a high honor to have been chosen by the President of the United States as the first American Minister to Poland. My satisfaction will be complete if I can contribute in some measure to the welfare of the Polish Nation and can faithfully interpret the friendship of the American people. This friendship, deeply rooted and sincere, dates from the time of Kosciuszko and Pulaski whom we claim a right to share with you as national heroes. Devotion to the Polish cause could not but be strong in a country where today four million Poles rejoice that the mother land has been restored through the force of her constancy and courage.

Even before America assumed the responsibility of participation in the world war, our President voiced the views of the whole American people in stating that no peace could last or ought to last which did not provide for a united, independent Poland. The reconstitution of your country therefore represents to the people of the United States a logical expression of the idea on which their own national life is founded. It represents a break with the past and the entrance into a new and we hope a more stable world order. There is no lover of freedom, no man of vision who is not filled with content at this great triumph of national faith and of justice as between peoples. It gives us all fresh courage for the trials of the future.

For only a misguided patriot and a poor friend could fail to see the problems still to be met and the obstacles still to be overcome; first and foremost, the task of consolidating the Polish state, through the unselfish assistance of the whole population, without regard to former political or social differences; then, there is the work of repairing the ravages of war and restoring normal life so that all may enjoy their share of material happiness. In these things my countrymen hope that they may be privileged to help. Whatever they can do will be done gladly as a humble tribute to a people which has suffered gloriously and has its place secure in our affections.

The future we can face with confidence. For Poland’s present problems are but temporary and Poland’s friends have faith that a [Page 744] people which has been so tenacious in their struggle for freedom will be equal to the trials and ordeals of the new order where Poland shall take her place as a great, peace-loving and happy nation.

[Enclosure 2—Translation]

Reply of the Chief of the Polish State ( Pilsudski ) to the Remarks of the American Minister ( Gibson ) on the Occasion of His Reception, May 2, 1919

Mr. Minister: In delivering to me the letters by which President Wilson has accredited you near the Polish Government as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, you have been good enough to use words at the same time cordial and forceful to express on the one hand the friendly sentiment of sympathy of the United States for Poland and your personal feelings as well, and on the other hand to make clear the means by which you hope to accomplish the task which has been confided to you near the Polish Government.

I thank you sincerely, Mr. Minister. Permit me to say that in describing your mission so clearly and in so lofty a manner my fullest support is assured to you from this time on.

This great day where we are permitted to greet the first envoy of the United States reminds us of all that Poland, now born anew, owes to your country.

Our thoughts turn first to your illustrious President, that great statesman admired by all Poles, who was the first to proclaim to all the world the right of a united Poland to an independent and sovereign existence. We think with gratitude of the noble and victorious Republic of the United States, always ready to serve humanity in its difficulties for new and more equitable forms of international life and of that hospitable country of America which has become a second mother land for thousands of our children.

Your words, Mr. Minister, are at the same time a precious pledge of the support and assistance which the great American Republic will certainly not fail to give us freely in our efforts to consolidate the new Polish State. We are fully aware of the grandeur and at the same time of the difficulty of this task. We assume it, nevertheless, with confidence, firmly resolved that Poland shall resume in the family of nations its rightful place,—a Poland happy and peaceful governed in the memorable words of Lincoln “by the people and for the people”. Conscious of the bonds of friendship uniting us to America, I myself, the Government and the whole of Poland will work to draw even closer these bonds already so ancient, [Page 745] and we are glad that in the accomplishment of this task we can count upon the help of a diplomat who has already distinguished himself so brilliantly.

Welcome among us!

  1. Not printed.