The Ambassador on Special Mission to Russia (Root) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: I am glad to learn that the Council of National Defense is sending a R. R. Commission to Russia.

Very definite instructions to them will be necessary to avoid confusion & interference between them & the President’s Commission. They will report to different departments & be under different instructions in the ordinary course.

It is plain that we can’t have three bodies dealing with the Russian Government at the same time—the regular Embassy the President’s Mission & the R. R. Commission.

The President’s mission must discuss the transportation subject with the Russian Government for that is the most important of all & if we cannot talk about that we will be discredited & of no account.

I suggest that the R. R. Commission be attached to the President’s commission as expert advisers make preliminary reports to it for its information & make through it any communication which seems desirable to be made to the Russian Government.

I think Mr. Willard will understand the importance of this & of leaving no uncertainty.

I shall go to Washington in full time for final instructions but I understand the R. R. men are to leave Wednesday.

Faithfully Yours

Elihu Root