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Polish president says Wikileaks taking toll on U.S.-Polish relations

From Jill Dougherty, CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said he believes "very much has gone the wrong way in Polish-American relations."
Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said he believes "very much has gone the wrong way in Polish-American relations."
  • Polish president complains of having to submit visa form to enter the United States
  • Cables indicate the United States may have taken Poland for granted
  • Komorowski: "Very much has gone the wrong way in Polish-American relations"

Washington (CNN) -- In Washington, most speeches by representatives of other countries are, well, diplomatic, carefully written to avoid controversy.

A speech by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski at the German Marshall Fund of the United States on Wednesday broke that mold.

Speaking off-the-cuff for much of it, Komorowski gave a frank and, at times, sarcastic evaluation of U.S.-Polish relations.

Citing Wikileaks disclosures of State Department cables, which some Polish officials believe show the United States put relations with Russia ahead of Poland's security interests, Komorowski said: "Like in marriage -- from time to time its worth taking your wife for a date." Translation: The United States should not take Poland for granted.

"It's like a mantra that's mumbled, some slogans are specifically repeated, and quite often there is no practice behind them," the Polish President said. "Today I spoke with President Obama about it. Perhaps I used slightly different words but I want to repeat the same: I simply believe that very much has gone the wrong way in Polish-American relations. And this can be testified to by leaks from different American cables."

Komorowski also complained about the requirement that he submit visa form to visit the United States. Referring to 18th century Polish heroes of the American Revolutionary War, he said: "Pulaski and Kosciusko today would also have to fill in the visa forms if they wanted to come to the United States."

Komorowski said, when he filled in his U.S. visa form, he was asked "whether I am involved in prostitution or if perhaps I was involved in genocide or whether I was a terrorist."

"Well, I don't take it as an insult," the Polish president added. "I'm not a prostitute. But I have to tell you when I had to answer the question whether I was a terrorist my hand shook a little. Because I do not want to lie. I do not want to lie to the United States.

"But I had some doubt. At the time of the Communist regime I was considered to be a terrorist. It was the language of some of the charges formulated by the prosecutor in the Communist state. So I did not know: Should I write the truth or lie in that form? So my suggestion is to skip that form. ... It's not understandable for us. It's nonsense. It spoils a lot in Polish-American relations."