November 22, 2001


Article 10 - Educational Committee appointed locally by Jewish communities will provide for distribution of proportional share of public funds allocated to Jewish schools in accordance with Article 9 and for organization and management of these schools. The provisions of Article 9 concerning the use of language in schools shall apply to these schools.

[page 21 of doc. begins]

Article 11 - provides that Jews shall not be compelled to violate their Sabbath and that no elections or registration shall be held on a Saturday.

Article 12 - provides that the foregoing provisions constitute obligations of international concern and shall he placed under the guarantee of the League of Nations, no change to be made without the consent of majority of council of League of Nations which will be binding on the United States and the leading Allies. Any member of the League Council can call attention of the Council to possible infraction, and Coucil may take jurisdiction of question.

Mr. Marshall in an interview of July 24, 1919 said: "The rights which have been secured have not been affected in favor of the Jews alone, but for all minorities." In this connection it is worthy of notice that Article 10 and 11 relate solely to the Jews.

In an earlier interview of June 30, 1919 (NEW YORK TIMES, July 1) Mr. Marshall said:

"Nothing thus far accomplished by the Peace Conference exceeds in importance the Polish Treaty. **** It is literally a charter of Liberty and the final act of emancipation of those who, for centuries, have been bereft of elemental human rights. ******* It enshrines in the law of nations the eternal principles of human liberty that constitute the distinctive features of the Ameican Constitution by means of which, despite the divergent racial elements of our population, we have become in fact as well as in spirit, a homogeneous, patriotic, just nation. We have long appreciated what at last is to enter into the consciousness of all people - that the true purpose of government cannot be realized until majorities look upon minorities as their equal before the law."

This statement is misleading because it gives the reader the idea that the rights granted the Jews in Poland are only those enjoyed by Jewish Americans whereas, quite the contrary is true. Another interesting point is that this interview bears the same date as the text of the Polish Treaty, namely, June 30, 1919, but the interview appeared July 1, 1919 in the NEW YORK TIMES, while the Treaty was withheld until the day following.

Premier Clemenceau as quoted in the NEW YORK TIMES of July 2d defended the provisions above set out saying:

"The following articles are of a rather different nature, in that they provide special privileges to certain groups of”

[page 22 of doc. begins]

these minorities: ****

"Six - Clauses 10 and 12 deal specifically with the Jewish citizens of Poland. The information at the disposal of the principal Allied and Associated Powers as to the existing relations between the Jews and the other Polish citizens has led them to the conclusion that in view of the historical development of the Jewish question and the great animosity aroused by it, special protection is necessary for the Jews of Poland. These clauses have been limited to the minimum which seems necessary under the circumstances of the present day, viz., the maintenance of Jewish schools and the protection of the Jews in the religious observance of their Sabbath.

It is believed that these stipulations will not create any obstacle to the political unity of Poland. They do not constitute any recognition of the Jews as a separate political community within the Polish State. The educational provisions contain nothing beyond what is in fact provided in the educational institutions of many highly organized modern states. There is nothing inconsistent with the sovereignty of the State in recognizing and supporting schools in which children shall be brought up in the religious influence to which they are accustomed in their home. Ample safeguards against any use of non-Polish language to encourage a spirit of national separation have been provided in the express acknowledgment that the provisions of this Treaty do not prevent the Polish State from making the Polish language obligatory in all its schools and educational institutions."

In an editorial in the NEW YORK TIMES of July 25, 1919 it is frankly admitted that the rights granted to the Jews in Poland would not be tolerated for a moment in this country and offers the weak excuse for differentiation that our immigrants came here voluntarily while the racial minorities in Eastern Europe have been there for thousands of years. This utterly misses the real point of the criticism, going to the ultimate justice of the rights granted.

Says the TIMES: - "Those in this country who have feared that our participation in this arrangement will make it easy for European nations to demand similar liberties for naturalized citizens in this country and thus make impossible any attempt at real Americanization are somewhat unduly alarmed. Most of the rights included in the term "cultural autonomy” are already possessed by everybody in America. Some of them are not: the provision for separate schools in which the mother tongue of the pupils is the language of instruction, though the language of the State must also be taught, and taught satisfactorily, would only perpetuate a condition which German immigrants have brought about in some parts of this country; but the further provision that such schools should receive part of the State funds would, of course, be inadmissible here - though we have heard in the last year or two of American public schools in which German is about the only language known to teachers and pupils. Such guarantees would also perpetuate the foreign language press.

[page 23 of doc. begins]

"But no racial group in America has any reason or right to claim privileges such as are provided in the Polish Treaty, since they are all recent immigrants who of their own choice came to a country which had its own institutions and used the English language. The racial minorities of Eastern Europe have dwelt alongside other people, intermingled beyond any hope of complete separation, for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years."

In further relation to Mr. Marshall the following additional facts are of interest:

(1) On June 7th the Department issued a statement giving a summary of Mr. Gibson’s reports to the effects that the stories as to pogroms were greatly exaggerated.

(2) On June 10th Mr. Marshall gave out in Paris a report from his personal representative in Poland in which it was stated:

8 "In its horror and system the acts recalled the worst epochs of the Middle Ages."

(3) This was followed on June 17th by a statement from Mr. Marshall making a bitter and vituperative attack on Mr. Gibson, charging that "Gibson’s report is necessarily based on the merest hearsay, parrot-like repetition of what has been told him in court circles." Many specific charges of cruelty were also set out including several which have since been reported by Mr. Gibson as unfounded.

This statement was played up in "THE JEWISH DAILY NEWS” (New York) of June 18th under the headlines "Mr. Gibson Indicted". The article stated:

"Mr. Louis Marshall, chairman of the Jewish Delegation in Paris, has not permitted the grass to grow beneath his feet. No sooner did Mr. Hugh Gibson, whose nomination as Ambassador to Poland is now before the Senate, report to the State Department that there were no pogroms in Poland that Mr. Marshall set to work to show that Mr. Gibson "has reported contrary to facts". Through Mr. Charles A. Selden, the Paris correspondent of the "NEW YORK TIMES”, Mr. Marshall issued a statement giving chapter and verse of the atrocities committed against the Jews in Poland by the Poles themselves. From the statement which appears on this page, it will be seen that the Poles admitted the pogroms, yet Mr. Gibson never heard of pogroms or knows anything of them. In other words his report is an attempt to whitewash the Poles." ***** In view of Mr. Marshall’s statement, and the attitude adopted by Mr. Gibson, we do not think the latter is the proper person to represent this country in Poland. His nomination is, as we have already said, now pending before the United States Senate. We have felt it our duty to protest against Mr. Gibson’s confirmation by the Senate and have sent the following telegram to Senator Calder, Wadsworth and Penrose:

[page 24 of doc. begins]

‘Louis Marshall’s indictment of Hugh Gibson, him deliberately reporting conditions in Poland contrary to facts, as printed in today’s ‘NEW YORK TIMES’, makes Mr. Gibson unfit to be American Ambassador to Poland. We appeal to you to block confirmation of his nomination.’

"We want to go on record that a man who in toto denies the wantom slaughter of human beings, of old men and women, of young girls and little children, is not the man to whom should be entrusted so important a post as the American Ambassadorship to Poland.

If the stories of the pogroms had been found to be untrue we would have accepted Mr. Gibson’s report, but when he bases his finding upon mere hearsay, we must dissent."

In relation to the deliberate campaign to defeat Mr. Gibson’s confirmation, shown in the above quotation, added significance attaches to the confidential report to the Department from Secretary Lansing contained in telegram No. 2910 of June 26, 5 p.m. that "Judge Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter in conversation with Gibson yesterday, intimated that confirmation of his appointment by the Senate might be jeopardized by the nature of his reports which they stated had done great harm to the Jewish race."

(6) On June 19, 1919 the American Mission stated in a telegram to the Department that Marshall and Cyrus Adler advised Ambassador Morganthau to decline to serve on the President’s commission to investigate pogroms against Jews and Jewish persecutions "urging that no Jew be appointed". The telegram continued: "Mr. Morganthau is in doubt and requests that you promptly ascertain the opinion of Schiff, Elkus, Nathan Strauss, Wise, Rosenwald and Samuel Lachman as to his acceptance."

On June 23, 1919 the Department sent duplicate telegrams to Louis Marshall at Paris and Felix Frankfurter in London conveying the following message from Judge Mack:

"All parties consulted advised Morganthau to decline appointment. Schiff, Elkus, Mack, Rosenwald, Wise, Nathan Strauss in wire to President are suggesting postponement until his return of commission and legal and technical advisors, but if inadvisable suggesting he consult Marshall and Frankfurter before acting. We have been allowed to see all of Gibson’s despatches. Statement commented on by Marshall erroneously attributed to Gibson, who is shortly due in Paris. Have requested that Gibson’s report be shown to Marshall. After seeing them and Gibson, advise strongly additional statement by Marshall. Mack."

[page 25 of doc. begins]

It seems quite possible that these Jewish leaders realized that an honest report would destroy the ammunition for their anti-Polish propaganda and show up more strikingly the utter unfairness of the attack on Mr. Gibson’s confirmation.

End Part 5  |  Continued Part 6

Back to Top