The Secretary of State to President Wilson

My Dear Mr. President: I enclose a telegram of the 16th from William English Walling to Mr. Polk21 and also two telegrams (No’s 1270 and 1288) from Francis which bear on the same subject.22

It would seem that certain phrases uttered by you are being used by the radical socialists (probably under German influence) to force the Provisional Government to declare a policy which will remove the chief incentive to Russian offensive operations, namely, control of the Dardanelles and possession of Constantinople. It is an adroit scheme to advance argument of what is the use of Russia continuing the war and why should she not make a separate peace, if neither in territory nor in indemnity she can be compensated for the enormous expenditure of life and money which a vigorous prosecution of the war will entail.

It is an insidious and ingenious plan to win over the Russian people to the idea of a separate peace, which seems to me a very real danger and one that ought to be avoided, if possible.

Cannot some interpretation of the language, which is being used, be given which will remove the idea so industriously circulated in Russia before it has gone too far to counteract the effect?

Of course the only way in which that can be done is by a message from you to Francis for the Russian Government and for publication in Russia. I realize the difficulty of doing this, but the harm which is being done seems to me very great. It may cost this country millions of men if this movement for a separate peace cannot be checked. I feel that every day that the argument remains unanswered increases the peril.

Faithfully yours,

Robert Lansing