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The post of the US ambassador to Poland has been vacant since the departure of Georgette Mosbacher half a year ago. The reason for that has recently been described by the news portal Onet. While Bix Aliu is the current Charge d'affairs at the US embassy in Warsaw, it is widely known that Mark Brzezinski, a career diplomat, former US ambassador to Sweden, and son of Professor Zbigniew Brzezinski - the famous national security advisor to President Jimmy Carter - is designated to take over the diplomatic post.

As reported by Onet, the reason Polish authorities are refusing to issue an agrément for Mr Brzezinski’s arrival in Warsaw is his Polish citizenship. According to the interpretation of the Polish government, since Zbigniew Brzezinski held Polish citizenship and was born in Poland, his son is automatically a derived Polish citizen. In order to take up the diplomatic post, he would have to ask President Andrzej Duda to formally renounce it.

Mark Brzezinski claims that he has never been a Polish citizen. Therefore, he cannot renounce the citizenship he does not hold in the first place. Implicitly, the American government finds the ceremony humiliating, as the Polish side wants it to obediently bow to its wishes. Onet claims that the Information about blocking Mr Brzezinski's arrival came from a source inside the Polish government.

One of the former ambassadors points out that in the case of Zbigniew Brzezinski and his sons, Ian Brzezinski and Mark Brzezinski, Poland has for years recognized their diplomatic status as citizens of the United States, not Poland. - According to the Vienna Convention, an agrément can be refused without any particular reason- says our source.

You can’t be an ambassador to your home country

Article 8 of the Vienna Convention states that members of a diplomatic mission should be citizens of the state they represent, but the receiving state may agree to accept a diplomat who is at the same time a citizen of that state- explains a doctor of international law (he is asking to remain anonymous because he is an active-duty diplomat).

However, the Convention is one thing, and the long-standing practice of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is another story altogether.

- It rules out the possibility of a Polish citizen carrying out a diplomatic mission, because he could claim fiscal and legal immunity- says our source, adding that the proverb "you can't be an ambassador in your own country" is literally put into practice in Poland.

One of the former deputy foreign ministers recalls that it has happened several times that a diplomat holding Polish citizenship was appointed the head of mission in Poland. The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused the nomination each time. negative. The case of Nicolas Rey, a US ambassador who was born in Warsaw but was not a Polish citizen, is often wrongly evoked in this context. However, there were others. - In the past, there was a case when a Polish citizen born in Poland became an ambassador simply by mistake. He was discreetly asked to renounce his Polish citizenship, which he did. The case was handled with discretion. Making such matters public does not serve international relations- adds the former deputy minister.

Such sensitive matters should be handled discretely

But there is yet another problem from the point of view of Polish law. According to the people we spoke with, Mark Brzezinski's citizenship is "presumed" by the Polish government. Brzezinski would automatically become a Polish citizen if he confirmed his derived citizenship. 

- It means that the entire issue is nothing but a pretext to put pressure on the Americans- claims our source.

All of our sources point out that leaking this information to the media is disastrous - both for the success of Ambassador Brzezinski's possible diplomatic mission and for Polish-American relations in general.

- These kinds of situations, especially between allies, should be handled with absolute discretion- the former deputy foreign minister tells us. He predicts that the confusion connected with the nomination of the very experienced German ambassador Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven, who was accused of being the son of a former Nazi officer, will be repeated. For the sake of retaining their dignity, Germans could not withdraw his nomination. Still, in the end, Poland accepted him anyway.


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