The Secretary of State to President Wilson

My Dear Mr. President: After consultation with Secretary Mc-Adoo today, and in line with our talk last evening, I have prepared the enclosed telegram which Secretary McAdoo approves.

If it meets with your approval will you be good enough to send it to the telegraph office of the Department so that it can immediately be put upon the wires?28

Faithfully yours,

Robert Lansing

Draft Telegram to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Page)29

For Crosby.30 The Russian situation has been carefully considered and the conclusion has been reached that the movement in the south and southeast under the leadership of Kaledine and Korniloff offers at the present time the greatest hope for the reestablishment of a stable government and the continuance of a military force on the German and Austrian fronts. While there can be no certainty of the success of Kaledine it is not improbable that he may succeed. From Moscow and Tiflis come very favorable reports as to the strength of the movement and as to the weakening power of the Bolsheviki.

In view of the policy being pursued by Lenine and Trotsky which if continued will remove Russia as a factor in the war and may even make her resources available to the Central Powers, any movement tending to prevent such a calamity should be encouraged even though its success is only a possibility.

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It would seem unwise for this Government to support openly Kaledine and his party because of the attitude which it seems advisable to take with the Petrograd authorities, but it is felt that the Kaledine group should be shown that the Allied Governments are most sympathetic with his efforts. Without actually recognizing his group as a de facto government, which is at present impossible since it has not taken form, this Government cannot under the law loan money to him to carry forward his movement. The only practicable course seems to be for the British and French Governments to finance the Kaledine enterprise in so far as it is necessary, and for this Government to loan them the money to do so. In that way we would comply with the statute and at the same time strengthen a movement which seems to present the best possibility of retaining a Russian army in the field.

You will, after conferring with the Ambassador, take this matter up with the proper British and French authorities having charge of financial matters and report as soon as possible their views and whether or not they are willing to adopt the course above outlined and if so, to what extent financial aid will be required.

In view of the fact that this matter relates to credits to foreign governments and at the suggestion of Secretary McAdoo, who approves of the policy, I am addressing this telegram to you directly assuming that you will before taking the matter up with representatives of Great Britain and France confer with the Ambassador as to the politic course to pursue.

I need not impress upon you the necessity of acting expeditiously and with impressing those with whom you talk of the importance of avoiding it being known that the United States is considering showing sympathy for the Kaledine movement, much less of providing financial assistance.

  1. On the same day President Wilson replied: “This has my entire approval.” For correspondence previously printed concerning the Kaledin movement, see Foreign Relations, 1918, Russia, vol. i, pp. 306322, passim, and ibid., vol. ii, pp. 40, 587, 588, 601603, 609, 611, 650.
  2. This telegram was sent Dec. 13, 1917, 2 p. m. (file No. 763.72/8200a).
  3. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and delegate of the Treasury to the Inter-Allied Council on War Purchases and Finance.