File No. 861.00/426

The Ambassador in Russia ( Francis) to the Secretary of State


1528. Just had conference with Minister for Foreign Affairs whom trying to see since Monday morning. He states Government now in control of city through loyal troops. Drove through assemblage of about five hundred going to and returning from Foreign Office. Says army corps starting from front this evening for Petrograd. City under control of insurgent soldiers and workmen since evening of the 16th until this morning. And [street?] fights last evening but fatalities few, casualties unknown. One engagement near Embassy resulted in defeat and complete rout of about one hundred Cossacks who attacked insurgents armed with machine guns, twenty or thirty horses killed but few men. Cossacks loyal and this experience prompts them to aggressive action. Proclamation of Provisional Government promulgated yesterday prohibiting assemblages on the streets totally ignored.

Minister of Foreign Affairs says four ministerial vacancies will not be filled until order entirely restored. Executive Committee of [Page 161] All-Russian Council of Workmen, Soldiers and Peasants [’ Deputies] also issued proclamation condemning street assemblages and appeal to soldiers to remain in barracks unless ordered out by proper authority. [Think] that the committee’s support of Government seems essential to its continuance and think outcome will be arrangement between remainder of Ministry and such committee.

In conference with Minister for Foreign Affairs told him would recommend no further assistance until stable government formed which would prosecute war and that if Government fails to suppress this lawlessness with determination arid with force, if necessary, it will forfeit the respect of the Russian people as well as Allies. He agreed thereto and says that Government will surely assert itself.

An Embassy secretary at noon to-day saw five [anarchists] distributing their literature about three blocks [from] French Embassy arrested by soldiers; literature destroyed and anarchists severely beaten which good indication.