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

Poland,   pp. 741-800 PDF (21.7 MB)


Page 795

in a highly charged atmosphere there was quite enough fault on both
sides to explain the adherence to the every-day practices of Russian
civil warfare, as it is reported to us in this almost civil strife on
Russian territory. No one would attempt to justify it. General
Jadwin was present at the taking of Minsk and a personal witness to
the strenuous efforts of the military authorities toward preventing
acts of violence. The results showed definite progress among the
military in the discipline of the army in the conception of their duty
toward the civilian population and in their ability to carry it out.
Proportionately to the population only about 20%  as many were
killed as at Wilno. A large percentage of those, were in the suburbs
and out of reach of the military patrols in the city. Part of those
in the town were the result of bystanders' statements that shots
directed at the entering troops had come from a certain meeting-
house in which Jews had congregated and five of them were killed.
Reported Bolshevik activity and sniping with the desire to rob
explain most of the cases except the reprehensible unbalanced con-
duct of one petty officer who killed nine. Many of the offenders were
arrested and six of them were sentenced to be shot.
Following the Minsk experience, improvement was made in the
technique of handling patrols so that further reports from Rowno
and Bobruisk subsequently captured by the Poles indicate more
successful precautions against maltreatment of the Jewish population.
In practically all of these cases inquiries have been regularly un-
dertaken by the military authorities by the civil government of
Poland, and in several by direct Diet committees. The local civil
authorities have also followed the usual processes of criminal inquiry
and the cases are in various stages of development. In several the
inquiry has been followed by the appropriation of damages to those
who have suffered loss.
Payments had begun to be made in Wilno, Pinsk, and Lemberg
before our departure from Poland. If complaints as to slowness and
uncertainty of military and government punishment and relief were
heard as they were it seemed nevertheless to indicate that orderly
process of government was in operation. With a state of war in
the land and the many vexing problems incident to Poland's situa-
tion, we could not find substantial ground of criticism of the methods
of prevention and relief for an altogether unhappy situation. Pa-
tience and forbearance must be administered to all sides of the
question, with honest effort to recover their war-torn country as soon
as possible. It will be a difficult matter to reassure the citizens of
Poland that the outside world will be as prompt and efficient in doing
its duty-to make the world safe for Poland and all other struggling
democracies.
795
POLAND


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