7. Cablegram From the Committee on Public Information Commissioner in St. Petersburg (Sisson) to the Chairman of the Committee on Public Information (Creel)1

If President will restate anti imperialistic war aims and democratic peace requisites of America thousand words or less comma short almost placard paragraphs comma short sentences comma I can get it fed into Germany in great quantities in German translation and can utilize Russian version potently in army and everywhere stop excerpts from previous statement2 will not serve stop need is for internal evidence that President is thinking of the Russian and German common folk in their situation of this moment and that he is talking to them stop can handle German translation and printing here paragraph obvious of [Page 17] course to you that disclosure German trickery against Russia in peace negotiations3 promises to immensely open up our opportunities for publicity and helpfulness stop4 with film expedition send supplies of transformers rheostats carbons cement rewinders number four cable stop Gaumont or Pathe machines preferable account convenience local repairs stop intersperce thousand foot comedies with educational reels stop soon as possible themes of some educational firms should be built into emotional dramas five to eight thousand feet stop choose film leader carefully stop no American not kindly and democratic must come in to Russia stop Smith5 is competent can handle advertising if necessary and attached him to my staff December first stop first film has gone admirably paragraph presently may be desirable to start our own newspaper stop it is mechanically feasible stop what is your view question would need desk man as capable as Rochester6 to get out paper stop would Sam Adams7 come to swing writing end devoting himself solely to this work question mark put some general news in cable stop several short items better than one long one stop could you utilize few paragraphs return service stop cable tolls low outgoing stop have you seen Thompson8

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 63, Entry 106, Correspondence, Cables, Reports, and Newspapers Received from Employees of the Committee Abroad, Nov. 1917–Apr. 1919, Box 2, BullardSisson—Russia—Cables. No classification marking. Sent via Western Union. A stamp on the back of the last page reads: “1918 Jan 4 AM 8 31.”
  2. Reference is presumably to Wilson’s speech of December 4. See footnote 2, Document 6.
  3. Reference is to the peace negotiations between the Central Powers and Russia leading to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, signed on March 3, 1918.
  4. In an undated note, Creel wrote that after receiving this cable he “went at once to the President, and after some urging, he made his great speech of January 8, 1918, in which he laid down the Fourteen Points.” (The note is bound in a volume of collected letters with an introductory note dated March 21, 1931; Library of Congress, Papers of George Creel, Woodrow Wilson and the Committee on Public Information, 1917–1931, Box 1, Vol. I, 1917–1918, 1931) House, however, makes no mention of Creel in his diary entry of January 9 describing the drafting of the speech. (Papers of Woodrow Wilson, vol. 45, pp. 550–559) Wilson’s speech before a joint session of Congress is printed in Foreign Relations, 1918, Supplement 1, The World War, vol. I, pp. 12–17.
  5. Guy Croswell Smith.
  6. Reference is presumably to Edward S. Rochester, a journalist who was editor of the CPI’s publication Official Bulletin.
  7. Reference is presumably to Samuel Hopkins Adams, a journalist who wrote for the CPI.
  8. William Boyce Thompson. For Thompson’s January 3 report on propaganda in Russia, see Foreign Relations, 1918, Supplement 1, The World War, vol. I, pp. 12–17.