Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, 1917, Supplement 2, The World War, Volume I
File No. 861.00/873
The Ambassador in Russia ( Francis) to the Secretary of State
[Received December 27.]
Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith along with other documents a translation of the so-called “secret treaties” as they appeared in the organ of the Soviets.1
I have [etc.]
Memorandum by the Second Political Section of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the Agreement Regarding Constantinople and the Straits
On February 19/March 4, 1915, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs transmitted to the British and French Ambassadors at Petrograd a memorandum expressing the desire that as a result of the present war, the following territories should be incorporated into Russia: the city of Constantinople, the western coast of the Bosphorus, of the Sea of Marmora, and of the Dardanelles; southern Thrace up to the line Enos-Midia; the coast of Asia Minor between the Bosphorus, the River Sakaria, and a point on the Gulf of Ismid to be determined later; the islands of the Sea of Marmora and the islands of Imbros and Tenedos. The special rights of France and Great Britain within the limits of these territories would remain untouched.
The French and British Governments have expressed their agreement to the above, provided the war be successfully concluded and satisfaction be given to a whole series of claims of France and England, both within the limits of the Ottoman Empire and elsewhere.
These claims, as far as they concern Turkey, amount to the following:
- The recognition of Constantinople as a free port for the transit of goods not proceeding from Russia or going there, and of the liberty of passage of commercial vessels through the Straits.
- The recognition of the rights of England and France in Asiatic Turkey, to be determined through a special agreement between Great Britain, France and Russia.
- The maintenance of the Mohammedan Holy Places and of Arabia under independent Moslem rule.
- The inclusion in the British sphere of influence of the neutral zone of Persia, established by an agreement between Great Britain and Russia in 1907.
Having recognized that these demands, in general, are to receive satisfaction, the Russian Government made, however, certain reservations:
With a view to formulating Russia’s desires concerning the Mohammedan Holy Places, it is necessary to ascertain at once whether these places will remain under Turkish rule, the Sultan keeping the title of calif, or whether it is proposed to create new independent states. In the opinion of the Russian Government it would be desirable to separate the califate from Turkey. In any case, the liberty of pilgrimages must be guaranteed.
Whilst consenting to the inclusion of the neutral zone of Persia in the sphere of British influence, the Russian Government considers it just that the cities of Ispahan and Yezd be assigned to Russia, and also that the part of the neutral zone which cuts in like a wedge between the Russian and Afghan frontiers and extending as far as the Russian border at Zulfikar be included in the Russian sphere of influence.
The Russian Government desires to settle at the same time the question regarding northern Afghanistan contiguous with Russia, in the sense of her desiderata expressed during the negotiations in 1914.
After Italy’s entrance into the war, the Russian desiderata were communicated also to the Italian Government, and the latter expressed its consent, provided there be a victorious termination of the war, a realization of Italy’s claims in general and in the east in particular, and that Russia recognize for Italy rights identical with those of Great Britain and France within the territories ceded to Russia.
The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs ( Sazonov) to the Russian Ambassador in Paris ( Izvolski)
1226. February 23/March 8 the French Ambassador announced to me in the name of his Government that France is disposed to view with the greatest favor the realization of our desires with respect to the Straits and Constantinople (as outlined in my telegram to you No. 937) for which I asked you to express to Delcasse my appreciation. In his talks with you Delcasse had long before repeatedly expressed the assurance that we may count on the sympathy of France. Before, however, giving us a more definite assurance in the foregoing sense he referred to the necessity of first clarifying the attitude of England, whence he feared objections.[Page 496]
The British Government has now expressed in writing its consent to Russia’s annexing the Straits and Constantinople within the limits demanded by us. The only condition it stipulates is the security of its own economic interests as well as a like favorable attitude on our part toward England’s political aspirations in other provinces.
I personally, reposing as I do full confidence in Delcassé, consider his assurances perfectly satisfactory. However, in order to satisfy the Imperial Government, it is desirable to obtain a more precise statement to the effect that France agrees fully to satisfy our desires, even as the British Government has done.
The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs ( Sazonov) to the Russian Ambassador at London ( Benckendorff)
1265. Referring to the memorandum of the British Embassy of March 12, please express to Grey the profound appreciation by the Imperial Government of England’s full and final agreement to solve the question of the Straits and Constantinople conformably to Russia’s wishes. The Imperial Government fully appreciates the sentiments of the British Government and feels assured that the unreserved recognition of their mutual interests will forever secure the friendship between Russia and Great Britain.
Having already granted the conditions regarding commerce in the Straits and Constantinople, the Imperial Government sees no objection to the confirmation of its agreement to establish: (1) free transit through Constantinople for goods neither proceeding from Russia nor destined to Russia; and also (2) free passage of commercial vessels through the Straits.
In order to facilitate the operation of breaking through the Dardanelles which the Allies have undertaken, the Russian Government is disposed to assist in attracting to this undertaking the states of which the cooperation appears useful to Great Britain and France.
The Imperial Government shares the opinion of the British Government that the Holy Places of Islam must in the future also remain under independent Moslem rule. It is desirable to ascertain whether it is planned to leave these places under the rule of Turkey, the Sultan of Turkey retaining the title of calif, or whether it is proposed to create new independent states, since the Imperial Government would only be able to formulate its desires in accordance with one or other of these assumptions. On its part the Imperial Government would consider most desirable the separation of the calif ate from Turkey, The liberty of pilgrimages must assuredly be guaranteed.[Page 497]
The Imperial Government confirms its agreement to the inclusion of the neutral zone of Persia in the British sphere of influence. It considers just, however, to reserve that the regions of the towns of Ispahan and Yezd forming with them one inseparable whole should be assigned to Russia in view of the Russian interests existing there.
The neutral zone now penetrates as a wedge between the Russian and Afghan frontiers and reaches the Russian frontier at Zulfikar. It is therefore necessary to incorporate a part of this wedge in the Russian sphere of influence.
Essential importance is attached to the question of the building of a railway in the neutral zone. This matter will require a further friendly examination.
The Imperial Government counts on the recognition of its liberty of action in its own sphere of influence, covering particularly the right of privileged development in this sphere of its financial and economic enterprises.
Finally, the Imperial Government considers desirable the simultaneous settlement also of the questions in northern Afghanistan, contiguous with Russia, in the sense of the wishes expressed by the Imperial Ministry in the preceding negotiations last year.
Treaty between Italy, Russia, France, and Great Britain
The Italian Ambassador at London, Marquis Imperiali, by order of his Government, has the honour to communicate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sir E. Grey, to the French Ambassador (at London), M. Cambon, and to the Russian Ambassador (at London), Count Benckendorff, the following memorandum:
Article 1. Between the General Staffs of France, Great Britain, Russia and Italy, a military convention must be concluded without delay. This convention will determine the minimum number of the military forces which Russia will have to move against Austria-Hungary, in case the latter should wish to direct all her forces against Italy, in the event that Russia decided to struggle chiefly against Germany. The said military convention will also regulate the questions regarding armistices in so far as such through their nature enter into the sphere of the control of the Supreme Commander of the armies.
Art. 2. On her part, Italy undertakes, with all the means at her disposal, to conduct, in union with France, Great Britain and Russia, war against all the states at war with them.
Art. 3. The naval forces of France and Great Britain will unremittingly and actively cooperate with Italy so long as the fleet of Austria shall not be destroyed or until the moment of the conclusion of peace. Between France, Great Britain and Italy a naval convention to this effect must be concluded without delay.[Page 498]
Art. 4. By the future treaty of peace Italy must receive: the province of the Trentino; all southern Tyrol up to its natural geographical frontier which is the Brenner; the town and district of Trieste; the counties of Gorizia and Gradisca; all of Istria up to the Quarnero, including Volosca and the Istrian islands of Cherso and Lussin, as well as the small islands of Plavnik, Unie, Canidole, Palazzuoli, the islands of San Pietro di Nembi, Asinello and Gruica with the neighbouring islets.
Note. 1. In execution of the foregoing in article 4, the frontier will be carried through the following points: from the Piz Umbrail in a northerly direction to the Stelvio and farther along the watershed of the Rhsetian Alps it will proceed right up to the sources of the River Adige and the River Eisach, after which it will pass through the Reschen and Brenner Mountains and the heights of the Oetz and Ziller. After that the line of frontier must return south, cut the mountain of Toblach and proceed to the present frontier of the Carnic Alps; following it, it will proceed to Mount Tarvis, and then pass along the watershed of the Julian Alps through the Predil Pass, Mount Mangart, the Tricorno and the watersheds of Podberdo, Podlaniscam and Idria. Thence the frontier will proceed in a southeasterly direction to the Schneeberg in such a way that the basin of the River Save and its affluents should not form a part of the Italian territory. From the Schneeberg the frontier line will go down to the coast comprising Oastua, Mattuglia and Volosca as Italian possessions.
Art. 5. Italy will also receive the province of Dalmatia within its present boundaries, including within its limits to the north Lisarica and Tribania, and to the south all possessions up to a line drawn from the coast at Cape Planka eastwards along the watershed, in such a way that among the Italian possessions should enter all the valleys lying along the course of the rivers that empty at Sebenico, such as the Cicola, the Kerka andthe Butisnica with all their affluents. In the same way there will be assigned to Italy all the islands lying to the north and west of the coasts of Dalmatia, beginning with the islands of Premuda, Selve, Ulbo, Scherda, Maon, Pago, and Patadura towards the north, and southward as far as Meleda, including the islands of St. Andrew, Busi, Lissa, Lesina, Tercola, Curzola, Cazza and Lagosta with all the rocks and islets lying near them, and also Pelagosa, but exclusive of the islands of the Great and Little Zirona, Bua, Solta and Brazza.
Are to be neutralized:
- The entire coast from Cape Planka in the north to the southern extremity of the Sabbioncello Peninsula in the south, including that entire peninsula in the neutralized zone.
- A part of the coast beginning with a locality lying ten versts south of the cape “Old Ragusa,” and southwards to the stream Voiussa so that there should be comprised in the neutralized zone the entire Gulf of Cattaro and the ports of Antivari, Dulcigno, San Giovanni di Medua and Durazzo, saving that the rights of Montenegro which proceed from the declarations exchanged by the contracting parties in April and May 1909 must not be infringed. However, considering that these rights were recognized for the present possessions of Montenegro only, they must not be subsequently extended to the territories and harbours which might be assigned to Montenegro. Consequently, no part of the coast now belonging to Montenegro is to be subject to neutralization. Are to remain in force the restrictions concerning [Page 499]the port of Antivari to which Montenegro herself expressed her consent in 1909.
- Finally, all the islands that shall not be accorded to Italy.
Note 2. The following territories on the Adriatic will be included by the powers of the Quadruple Entente in the limits of Croatia, Servia and Montenegro: in the northern Adriatic the entire coast from the Bay of Volosca which is on the border of Istria to the northern frontier of Dalmatia, including all the coast now belonging to Hungary and the entire coast of Croatia, the port of Fiume and the small harbours of Novi and Carlopago, as well as the islands of Veglia, Pervicchio, Gregorio, Goli and Arbe; in the southern Adriatic, where Servia and Montenegro are interested, all the coast from Cape Planka to the River Drin with the important ports of Spalato, Ragusa, Cattaro, Antivari, Dulcigno, and San Giovanni di Medua, and with the islands Great Zirona, Little Zirona, Bua, Solta, Brazza, Jaclian and Calamotta.
The port of Durazzo to be assigned to the independent Mohammedan state of Albania.
Art. 6. Italy is to receive in entire ownership Valona, the island of Saseno and a territory extensive enough to secure them from a military standpoint approximately between the River Voiussa in the north and east, and up to the frontier of the district of Shimar in the south.
Art. 7. Italy, having received the Trentino and Istria, according to article 4, Dalmatia and the Adriatic islands, according to article 5, and the Gulf of Valona, must, in the event of the formation in Albania of a small autonomous neutralized state, not oppose the possible desire of France, Great Britain and Russia to divide between Montenegro, Servia and Greece the northern and southern frontier districts of Albania. Its southern coast from the frontier of the Italian province of Valona and up to the Cape Stylos is to be neutralized.
Italy will be accorded the right to conduct the foreign affairs of Albania; at all events Italy is bound to agree to leave to Albania a territory sufficiently extensive in order that the latter’s frontiers coincide west of Lake Ochrida with the frontiers of Servia and Greece.
Art. 8. Italy is to receive in entire ownership all the islands of the Dodecanese now occupied by her.
Art. 9. France, Great Britain and Russia recognize in principle the interest of Italy in the maintenance of the political balance of power in the Mediterranean and her right to receive at the partition of Turkey a share equal to their own in the Mediterranean basin, namely, in that part thereof which is contiguous with the province of Adalia where Italy has already acquired special rights and secured interests reserved in the Italo-British convention. The zone to be delivered into the possession of Italy will be more definitely delimited at the proper time in conformity with the interests of France and Great Britain. In the same way, the interests of Italy are to be taken into consideration also in the event that the territorial integrity of Turkey in Asia should be supported by the powers for a further period of time, and in case there should take place only a delimitation of spheres of influence among them. In the event that France, Great Britain and Russia during the course of the present war were to occupy certain provinces of Turkey in Asia, all the province contiguous with Adalia, and below more accurately defined, is to be left to Italy which also reserves for herself the right of occupying it.[Page 500]
Art. 10. In Libya are recognized to Italy all the rights and privileges which have hitherto been accorded to the Sultan on the basis of the treaty of Lausanne.
Art. 11. Italy is to receive a part of the war contribution corresponding to the extent of the sacrifices and efforts she shall have made.
Art. 12. Italy adheres to the declaration made by France, England and Russia regarding the leaving of Arabia and of the Holy Places of the Mohammedans under the control of an independent Mohammedan power.
Art. 13. In the event that the French and British colonial possessions in Africa shall be increased at the expense of Germany, France and Great Britain recognize in principle to Italy the right to demand for herself certain compensations in the sense of an extension of her possessions in Eritrea, Somaliland, in Libya and the colonial provinces contiguous with the colonies of France and England.
Art. 14. England undertakes to facilitate to Italy the immediate realization on the London market on favourable terms of a loan for an amount not less than 50 million sterling.
Art. 15. France, England and Russia assume the obligation to support Italy as regards the non-admission by her of representatives of the Holy See in any diplomatic action whatever regarding the conclusion of peace or the regulating of questions bound up with the present war.
Art. 16. The present treaty is to be kept secret. As regards the adhesion of Italy to the declaration of September 5, 1914, this declaration only will be made public immediately after the declaration of war by or against Italy.
Having taken cognizance of the present memorandum, the representatives of France, Great Britain and Russia, having been duly empowered thereto, have agreed with the representative of Italy, who has also been empowered by his Government for this purpose, that: France, Great Britain and Russia express their entire agreement to the present memorandum, presented to them by the Italian Government. As regards articles 1, 2, and 3 of this memorandum, which concern the coordination of the military and naval operations of the four powers, Italy declares that she will begin active operations in the nearest possible future and, in any event, not later than one month after the signature of the present document by the contracting parties.
The undersigned have affixed their signatures and seals to the present agreement in London, in four copies.
- Sir Edward Grey
- Marquis Imperiali
- Count Benckendorff
The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs ( Sazonov) to the Russian Ambassador at Paris ( Izvolski)
948. Referring to my telegram No. 6063, 1915. At the forthcoming conference you are to be guided by the following general principles:
The political agreements made among the Allies during the period of the war must remain unshakable and are not subject to revision. Such is the Russian agreement with France and England regarding Constantinople, the Straits, Syria and Asia Minor, as well as the London treaty with Italy. Propositions regarding the distribution of Central Europe are premature. Russia, however, will accord entire freedom to France and Great Britain as regards the fixing of the western frontiers of Germany, counting that those allies will accord Russia equal liberty in the establishment of her boundary with Germany and Austria.
It is especially necessary to insist on the exclusion of the Polish question from the subjects of international deliberations and on the elimination of all attempts to put the future of Poland under the guarantee and control of the powers.
As regards the Scandinavian powers, efforts should be made to restrain Sweden from hostile action towards Russia, and there should be in connection therewith a consideration of the measures for attracting Norway on the side of the Allies in case war with Sweden should not be averted.
Roumania having already been offered all the political advantages capable of inducing her to take up arms, it is quite useless to seek new allurements for that power.
The question of forcing the Germans out of the Chinese market is of the very gravest significance but, since its solution is impossible without the collaboration of Japan, it would be preferable to refer consideration of it to the economic conferences in which Japanese representatives will take part. Such reference does not exclude the desirability of an exchange of views on the subject through diplomatic channels between Russia, France and England.
Memorandum by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the Question of Asia Minor
As a result of the negotiations that took place during the spring of 19161 in London and Petrograd, the British, French and Russian Governments came to an agreement regarding the future distribution of their zones of influence and their territorial acquisitions in Asiatic Turkey, as also regarding the forming within the borders of Arabia of an independent Arab state or of a confederation of Arab states.
This agreement in its general lines amounts to the following:
Russia acquires the provinces of Erzerum, Trebizond, Van and Bitlis, as well as the territory of southern Kurdistan along the line Mush-Sert-Ibn Omar-Amadia-Persian frontier. On the coast of the Black Sea the terminal of the Russian acquisitions would be a point west of Trebizond to be determined later.
France receives the strip along the coast of Syria, the vilayet of Adana and a territory bounded on the south by the line Aintab-Mardin up to the future Russian frontier and on the north by the line Ala Dagh-Caesarea-Ak Dagh-Yildiz Dagh-Zara-Egin-Harput.
Great Britain acquires the southern part of Mesopotamia with Baghdad, and reserves for herself the ports of Haifa and Acre.
By an agreement between France and Great Britain, the zone between the French and British provinces will form a confederation of Arab states, in which the zones of influence will be determined at the same time.
Alexandretta is declared a free port.
With a view of safeguarding the religious interests of the Allied powers, Palestine along with the Holy Places will be separated from the Turkish territory and will be subjected to a special régime by agreement of Russia, France and Great Britain.
In view of the general rule, the signatory powers to this agreement bind themselves mutually to respect the concessions and privileges that had existed up to the war in the regions acquired by them.
They agree to share in the Ottoman debt proportionately to their respective acquisitions.
Memorandum by the Russian Minister of War (Polivanov) on the Circumstances of Rumania’s Entrance into the War and the Latest Considerations Regarding the Rumanian Question
Since the outbreak of the European war Roumania had officially assumed a neutral attitude, which very often and perceptibly hesitated towards one side or the other according to the progress of military operations. It was based on two principal impulses: the wish not to be late for the partition of Austria and the effort to squeeze as much as possible out of the belligerents.
Our successes in Galicia and Bukovina in 1914 and in the beginning of 1915 (the taking of Lemberg and Przemyśl) and the appearance of our advance detachments on the farther side of the Carpathians brought the question of Roumania’s entrance into the war on the order of the day. The negotiations that were begun were protracted owing to the insistence of our military authorities on carrying through the strategical frontier in Bukovina in such a way that this entire province should remain in the possession of Russia. At the end of May of the same year began our retreat from Galicia and Poland together with the evacuation of Bukovina. In conjunction with this a change took place in the disposition of the governing circles in Roumania and the negotiations concerning her entering the war ceased of themselves. At the close of 1915 and in the beginning of 1916, after the devastation of Serbia and the entrance of Bulgaria into the war, Roumania’s policy inclined very perceptibly to the side of our enemies. The Roumanian Government at that time passed a whole series of very advantageous commercial agreements with Austria and Germany regarding the sale of wheat and the delivery of other foodstuffs, receiving in exchange therefor gold and necessary manufactured articles. This circumstance caused our military, financial and commercial departments to show greater precaution with regard to exporting from Russia to Roumania both military supplies and stores of various kinds that might fall into the hands of our enemies. Actually the entire exportation was almost stopped.
The brilliant offensive of General Brussilov in the spring and summer of 1916 once more inclined Roumanian neutrality to the side of the Entente powers and made it possible to resume the interrupted negotiations concerning her entrance in the war.[Page 504]
It should be remarked that from the very outset the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Commander in Chief considered the maintenance by Roumania of neutrality more advantageous for us on military grounds than her active participation in the war. But subsequently General Alexeiev adhered to the Allies’ point of view, who saw in Roumania’s entrance into the war the dealing of the coup de grâce to Austria and the approach of the end of the war.
In August 1916 there was signed with Roumania a military and political agreement according her territorial aggrandizements (Bukovina, the Banat, Transylvania) such as evidently did not correspond to Roumania’s share in the military operations as she undertook to declare war on Austria-Hungary alone and was preparing to limit her operations to Transylvania only.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
November 7/20, 1916.
The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs ( Pokrovski) to the Russian Ambassador at Paris ( Izvolski)
507. At a Supreme Audience M. Doumergue communicated to the Emperor the aspirations of France as follows: After the war is over France would like to secure the return of Alsace-Lorraine as well as a special position in the valley of the River Saar; she would further like to effect a political segregation of Germany’s trans-Rhenish dominions and to establish them on a special status so that the River Rhine might in the future serve as a formidable strategic protection against all German intrusion. Doumergue expressed the hope that the Emperor’s Government will not hesitate at once to formulate its consent to these desires. It pleased His Imperial Majesty to accept in principle these propositions. I therefore requested Doumergue to communicate to me, after corresponding with his Government, the agreement which could then be shaped after the form of an exchange of notes between the French Ambassador and myself. Meeting thus the desires of our ally I deem it, however, incumbent upon me to put on record the viewpoint expressed by the Imperial Government in a telegram of February 24, 1916, No. 948, viz.: Leaving to France and England full liberty in defining the western boundaries of Germany, we hope on our part that the Allies will leave to us a like liberty in marking our boundary lines with Germany and Austria-Hungary.
Therefore, the said exchange of notes regarding the question raised by Doumergue furnishes us the grounds upon which to ask [Page 505]the French Government at the same time to confirm its consent as to Russia’s free hand in establishing her western borders. We shall in due time forward the Paris Cabinet exact data respecting this question.
We furthermore deem it necessary to ask consent of France to abolish after the war the servitudes attaching to the Åland Islands. Please reach a conclusion in the foregoing sense with Briand and telegraph the outcome.
The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs ( Pokrovski) to the French Ambassador in Russia ( Paléologue)
In your note of to-day’s date Your Excellency was good enough to inform the Imperial Government that the Government of the Republic was contemplating the inclusion in the terms of peace to be offered to Germany of the following demands and guarantees of a territorial nature:
- Alsace-Lorraine to be restored to France.
- The frontiers are to be extended at least up to the limits of the former Duchy of Lorraine and are to be drawn up at the discretion of the French Government so as to provide for the strategical needs and for the inclusion in French territory of the entire iron district of Lorraine and of the entire coal district of the Saar Valley.
- The rest of the territories situated on the left bank of the Rhine which now form part of the German Empire are to be entirely separated from Germany and freed from all political and economic dependence upon her.
- The territories of the left bank of the Rhine outside French territory are to be constituted an autonomous and neutral state, and are to be occupied by French troops until such time as the enemy states have completely satisfied all the conditions and guarantees indicated in the treaty of peace.
Your Excellency states that the Government of the Republic would be happy to be able to rely upon the support of the Imperial Government for the carrying out of its plans. By order of His Imperial Majesty, my most august master, I have the honor, in the name of the Russian Government, to inform Your Excellency by the present note that the Government of the Republic may rely upon the support of the Imperial Government for the carrying out of its plans as set out above.
Be pleased to accept [etc.]
The Russian Ambassador at Paris ( Izvolski) to the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs ( Pokrovski)
168. My answer to telegram [No. 507 continued from] No. 167. No. 2. The Government of the French Republic, anxious to confirm the importance of the treaties concluded with the Russian Government in 1915 for the settlement on the termination of the war of the question of Constantinople and the Straits in accordance with Russia’s aspirations, anxious, on the other hand, to secure for its ally in military and industrial respects all the guarantees desirable for the safety and the economic development of the Empire, recognizes Russia’s complete liberty in establishing her western frontiers.
The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs ( Tereshchenko) to the Russian Chargé at Paris ( Sevastopulo)
To be communicated to London and Rome.
4225. Referring to your Nos. 947 and 952. Ribot’s explanations to you concerning his declaration in the Chamber regarding the eastern frontiers of France are not entirely sincere. Neither in the exchange of notes with Paléologue nor in my verbal explanations with Noulens was the question raised of a connection between this agreement and that relative to Constantinople and the Straits. Noulens proposed that, simultaneously with the agreement concerning the French frontiers, I should publish the treaties made before the war, i.e., notably the Franco-Russian military convention. In reply I remarked that such publication of a generally known treaty would confuse public opinion and produce fresh insistence that agreements made during the war also be published. Publication of some such agreements, in particular of the Italian and Roumanian, is deemed inadmissible by our allies.
In any event, we are not disposed to add to France’s difficulties in this matter and to put Ribot in a still more awkward position. However, with a view to avoiding for the future any such misunderstandings as have twice arisen owing to his declarations in the Chamber, I request you to declare officially to the French Government that there would be no objection on Russia’s part to the publication of [Page 507]all common agreements, including those made during the war, if consent thereto is forthcoming on the part of the other interested allies. Regarding the agreement relative to Asia Minor, I will communicate to you my considerations in a special supplementary telegram.
The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs ( Tereshchenko) to the Russian Chargé at Paris ( Sevastopulo)
4239. Referring to your No. 947. From the standpoint of Russian interests, the agreement relative to Asia Minor cannot be regarded as a thing apart. Its fulfillment depends on that of the agreement regarding the Straits. This idea has been unequivocally expressed in the closing phrase of the first telegram giving our opinion as to Constantinople, February 19/March 4, 1915, No. 937, and has been further repeated in the memorandum regarding the Asia Minor agreement transmitted to both the English and the French Ambassadors in Petrograd March 4/17, 1916, No. 205. It is stated in the latter document: There is no doubt that Russia’s agreement to the points that precede depends on the fulfillment of that agreement between France and England with regard to Constantinople and the Straits.
Inasmuch as our said declarations were unreservedly accepted by the French Government, it follows that the Asia Minor agreement can not be considered apart from the agreement respecting Constantinople and the Straits, and conversely, any modification in the latter must in some way or other be reflected in the former.
Besides, if, according to Ribot, the agreement relative to Asia Minor be held unfinished, then it has all the less obligatory force.
You will please adhere unswervingly to this viewpoint in the case of further exchange of views with the French Government.
Copy to London.
Only the enclosures bearing directly on the “secret treaties” are printed, and they are arranged in approximate chronological order of the negotiations rather than that of their publication. For a list of the documents as published, comprising the first instalment and part of the second, see the telegram from the Minister in Sweden, No. 1110, Dec. 4, ante, p. 446; see also the footnote thereto quoting his despatch No. 947, Dec. 15, 1917, received Jan. 29, 1918, enclosing the documents listed.
Most of the enclosures to the despatch from Russia, of which a list was compiled in 1921, have since become lost; all enclosures are missing from the despatch from Sweden, in their place being found an incomplete set of copies and summaries made at an unascertained date. Of the documents here printed as enclosures, Nos. 4 and 7 are from texts accompanying the first despatch; Nos. 1, 3, 5, 6, 11, and 12 are wholly or in greater part from copies attached to the second, supplemented by other translations and the Russian originals; Nos. 2 and 8 are from the translations contained in the pamphlet, Secret Documents and Treaties, published in Petrograd, January, 1918; and Nos. 9 and 10 are from the translations published in the Manchester Guardian, Dec. 12, 1917.
All texts have been compared with the original publication in the Izvestia of the Central Executive Committee and Petrograd Soviet of Workmen’s and Soldiers’ Deputies, Nov. 23, 24, 25, 1917, and that of the treaty of London also with the publication by the British Government in 1920 (Misc. No. 7), resulting in occasional corrections of names, dates, forms, and words; but the translations have not been systematically revised, those made in the Embassy at Petrograd in particular being kept, as nearly as can be established in the case of the copies, essentially in the form received.
With reference to these documents, the following letters were addressed by the Acting Secretary of State and the Secretary to Representative J. Thomas Heflin:
File No. 861.00/1398
Washington, March 12, 1918.
My Dear Mr. Heflin : I trust you will excuse the delay in answering your personal inquiry regarding a passage in the Congressional Record of February 8 (p. 2044, last two sentences) from a speech of Mr. Mason, of Illinois.
This Government is not now and has not been in the past concerned in any way with secret arrangements or treaties between European powers in regard to war settlements. As to the secret treaties to which Mr. Mason refers, the Department has no knowledge of their existence or of their terms except through reports emanating from the Bolshevik press.
I am [etc.]
Frank L. Polk
File No. 861.00/1399
Washington, March 22, 1918.
My Dear Mr. Heflin : Referring to your telephone conversation with the Department on Saturday afternoon in respect to the so-called secret treaties between Russia and her allies, I beg to say that I regret very much that the Department’s letter of March 12 on this matter was not as definite and specific as you desired. It is understood that you wish to be informed as to whether or not, as a matter of fact, these treaties are or are not in existence, and whether or not the Department may not be able to determine this through the French and British Ambassadors in this city.
In reply, I beg to say that the Department has no actual proof of the existence of these treaties. The information it has in regard to them is derived from rumors and reports, most of which have appeared in the press. As to obtaining the information you desire from the British and French Ambassadors, I am sure you will appreciate my preference, for obvious reasons, not to make this inquiry of them at the present time.
I regret that so much time has elapsed in answering your inquiry, but this has been necessary in order to ascertain accurately the source of the Department’s information in respect to the treaties about which you inquire.
I am [etc.]
- Completed in April and May.↩