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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, 1919

Poland,   pp. 741-800 PDF (21.7 MB)

Page 792

6. Poland is beset by the confusion of ideas and the degeneration
of popular morale caused by decades of political tyranny and made
acute by five years of war. For over one hundred years all sections
of Poland have been ruled by despotisms of varying severity, and
the people at large have been accustomed to identify the Govern-
ment, not with the manifestation of majority opinion, but with
personal rule by ukase and decree. The Jews suffer from the fact
that the Polish Government, substituting popular government for
despotic rule, lacks the will or the power to protect them, and have
been ready to invoke external aid in order to exact from the Polish
authorities protection of themselves not as a minority, but because
of their racial allegiance. Some representatives of the Jewish
national movement who have been conspicuously active refuse to
subordinate the Jewish question to the general needs oT the Polish
State. The fault in this regard does not lie entirely on the Jewish
side, since the question once raised was eagerly picked up by the
National Democratic Party. The voluntary separation of the Jew
from purely Polish interests has led, in localities where other prob-
lems of nationality exist, to arbitrary identification of the Jews
with anti-Polish elements. So long as nationality is an issue, the
Jew who does not declare himself Polish is regarded as the ally
of any visible alien factor. On the other hand, in view of the un-
certainty of the final disposition of White Russia, Lithuania, and
Galicia, the difficulties besetting the Jews in these regions have been
undeniably very great. Yet, since the Jews are enjoying the pro-
tection of the growing Polish State, the Poles claim that they owe
active personal support to the Government that ensures them liberty
and commercial opportunity. The numerical inferiority of the Jews
in what is undeniably Poland has at the same time proved no check
to their political assertiveness. The opportunity to profit by an
occasional balance of power claimed to excuse the maintenance of a
Jewish national party does not appear to justify perpetuating so
great an irritation and such a separation of the Jews from the
customary divisions of modern politics.
We may here refer with propriety to the report of the Inter-
Allied Commission on Poland, of which Professor R. H. Lord and
General Kernan were the American members, and to whose state-
ments on the Polish problem it is desired to invite special attention.
The account of the Jewish parties supplied by the Italian member of
that Commission has been found very helpful and substantially
accurate. He invited the most important parties to submit any
extensions or corrections which they desired to make, but no fur-
ther information was supplied. As hereafter appears, most of the
questions raised and of the suggestions made in the Report on Poland

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