File No. 861.00/559

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


1808. About three weeks ago British Ambassador received from his Government draft of note to Russian Government with suggestion that it should be signed by Allied representatives. It appears that British Ambassador conferred with French Ambassador who submitted amended draft which was presented to British Ambassador, Italian Ambassador and myself, but as Kornilov movement had just begun matter was dropped until to-day when British Ambassador [invited] French Ambassador, Italian Ambassador and myself to a conference and submitted draft of note. Substance as follows:

The Allied powers cannot help being extremely preoccupied by the actual situation in Russia. The energy displayed by the Russian Government in avoiding civil war shows that this Government is aware of the danger and that it has decided to face it. The peril is however far from being avoided. There is not an hour to lose nor an effort to neglect if one wishes to avoid a catastrophe which [Page 197] would render the issue of the war uncertain, would in any event put it back in increasing the sacrifices and would risk preventing the annihilation of this German militarism which is still more dangerous to the new Russian Republic than to the other democratic states whose organization has been tested by time.

The Allied Governments cannot disguise the fact that recent events have thrown doubts on the power of resistance of Russia and on her ability to continue the struggle. They might soon find themselves confronted by a trend of opinion which would put on trial their responsibility concerning the utility of the considerable sacrifices in arms, munitions and material of every kind granted so liberally to Russia while they would be reproached with not having reserved them for the western front when [where] the wish to conquer appears without faltering.

To restore confidence to this opinion and to give to the Allied Governments the power of acting efficaciously with a view to reassuring it the Russian Government ought to show by immediate acts its resolve to employ without hesitation all the proper methods to remedy the situation in question, to revive discipline and the true military spirit amongst the fighting troops, and to assure the regular operation of the public services, and order at the front as at the rear.

The Allied Governments count on the Russian Government’s not failing in its task whose accomplishment faced with decision and firmness can alone assure the future of the Russian Republic and prevent it from succumbing to the open or indirect attacks of the enemies of every true democracy.

The Russian Government on its side can be certain that in entering upon this path it will have as in the past the full support of faithful allies permeated with the same democratic spirit and resolve to continue for their part the struggle with the energy and spirit of sacrifice of which they have given so many proofs since the day when they entered the struggle by the side of Russia for the defense of the preservation of nations when the German attempt against the right of peoples was revealed in the attack which was directed first of all against the Slav nation.

Please instruct concerning my joining in such a note, also whether such joint action should be confined to Ambassadors above mentioned or should include Japanese Ambassador and Ministers of Allied countries. British Ambassador thinks better confine signatures to the foregoing Ambassadors. Three above named have authority to sign or are given full discretion but do not know whether would take action without myself. Note framed by French Ambassador. Above is already translated. Will not be presented until Government organized as no one can foretell action of national conference now assembling. Two organizations claiming right to [control]. In such event representatives of Allied countries might possibly disagree. When I recommended prompt recognition of Provisional Government in my No. 1107, March 18,1 had not consulted any colleague but [Page 198] avoided doing so not only because I desired to be first but wished to avoid probable delay as situation was critical. Conditions are different now when think representatives of Allied countries should confer before [addressing] any government whose right is contested by opposition worthy of consideration. Please hasten reply which expect October 1.

  1. Ante, p. 5.