File No. 763.72/8355

The Ambassador in France ( Sharp) to the Secretary of State


2965. Following is translation of joint telegram dated Jassy, December 24, from Ministers of Great Britain, United States, France, and Italy handed me yesterday by Foreign Office:

The preceding joint telegrams1 given on account of the gravity of the situation in which the Maximalist movement has placed Roumania. This movement, not meeting with any opposition either from the Russians or the Roumanians, daily took greater development to the point of threatening not only the persons of the Russian commanders, but also the King, the Royal Family, the Government and the whole Roumanian population. It was moreover leading to the complete desertion (blank) of the front by the Russian troops and, as the inevitable consequence, the encirclement of the Roumanian troops facing the Austrian-German. Indeed, following the suppression of officers of all grades, and under the emphatic malevolent agitation, etc., the Russian troops were degenerating into bands who were burning and laying the country to waste. Worse still, the systematic suppression of any kind of service and organization was condemning these troops to famine. One of the consequences of this state of things, but so discounted by the Germans who have organized the Bolshevik movement, was to envenom still more the relations between the Roumanian population and Army on one side, and the Russian Army on the other. War between allies would have been the inevitable outcome. The representatives, in the presence of the necessity of taking a decision without delay, and availing themselves of the latitude which has been allowed them in case of urgency, the Allied Ministers have deemed it their duty to address to the President of the Council the following letter:

December 21.

Mr. President: You have been pleased to explain to us yesterday the situation in which the powers were convened on December 20 by the President of the Council who laid the whole situation before them. He added that the Roumanian military authorities in agreement with General Shcherbachev and the French military mission, were of the opinion that the present state of things could only be improved by a police operation and purifying measures. According to them, the Roumanian troops, acting at the request of General Shcherbachev, should lend their cooperation to the troops at the disposal of the Russian commander in order to retake the railway station of Socola which the Bolsheviks have seized and where they have concentrated in numbers amounting to several thousands. The dispersion of this hotbed of anarchy and the control of this station which serves the whole Russo-Roumanian front, is absolutely essential to permit the working of the different services of the Russian Army. Mr. Bratiano added that he was perfectly aware that if the said operation of military police was unsuccessful, events would be precipitated, [aggravating situation?] in [which] Roumania is placed as a consequence of the Maximalist action. We recognize the extreme gravity of this [Page 510] situation. We note the opinion expressed by the military authority regarding the impossibility of putting an end to it without having recourse to the action to [of] the Roumanian Army in the shortest possible delay.

During the same conference we were made cognizant of the news from Ukrainia according to which the Ukrainian Government has already successfully taken all possible measures with a view to opposing the Maximalist movement against which it has resolutely pronounced itself. We find it a duty to render justice to the sacrifices which with an entire loyalty the Roumanian people and its heroic Army grouped around their chivalrous King and their Government, have borne in the common cause of Roumania and the Entente.

On the other hand we approve, and are ready to help by every means, the proposed operation of military police which seems to offer the only chance of conciliating the maintenance of order in Moldavia with the imperious necessity of maintaining a front which prolongs the Ukrainian front. We acknowledge that if by misfortune the operation should not bring about this result, and if Roumania should find herself in the impossibility of keeping often reiterated resolution to evacuate all or part of the Army beforehand, even to prepare the departure of the Royal Family and of the legal Government, the Entente must recognize that its ally has done its duty and has loyally fulfilled all its engagements.

We beg Your Excellency kindly to bring this letter to the knowledge of His Majesty as well as of the commissioners.

Kindly accept [etc.]

The question was therefore to have been submitted to a fresh deliberation of the Council of Ministers, presided [over] by the King, at which the Roumanian military authorities were to assist. Meanwhile fresh events arose which will call for still greater urgency. Indeed, last night the Bolsheviks of Socola entered Jassy and attempted at the point of the revolver to seize General Shcherbachev himself. The General was able to have his aggressors arrested by his Russian guard, but, in default of a sure detachment to escort them, he handed them over to the Roumanian troops. Moreover some Bolshevik detachments advanced upon Jassy coming both from Russian territory and from the interior of Moldavia. The execution of the proposed operation of military police thus became unavoidable, especially as important quantities of munitions are stored in the Socola railway station, that is to say, in the hands of the Maximalists.

The Council of Ministers, which assembled during the night, decided at the written request of General Shcherbachev that henceforth it was impossible not to resort to an action imposed by the aggressions of the Bolsheviks themselves. The President or the Council, when informing us of this decision, declared that that was the last attempt by which the Roumanian Government could endeavor to improve an apparently desperate situation. He added that if this attempt did not bring about the expected result, if in other words instead of reestablishing order among the Russian troops it provoked war between the latter and the Roumanian troops, and if at the same time the latter were attacked by the German troops, Roumania would no longer be in a position to make any further useful sacrifices for the Entente. She would consider that she had fulfilled all her duty and that she had no right to expose the country without profit to anybody to further ravages and the Army to destruction.

The President of the Council, if we have understood his words, rightly reserves for his country in the eventuality foreseen by him, approving of concluding a separate peace without however thereby liberating the Entente from its engagements.

[Page 511]

We restricted ourselves in referring to our joint letter to stating to the President of the Council that we were bringing his declarations to the knowledge of our Governments.

  1. Ante, pp. 456, 459, and 489, respectively.