File No. 861.00/578

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


1852. Yesterday afternoon British Ambassador telephoned would present joint note to Government to-day as President and Minister for Foreign Affairs going to Stavka1 to-night and would present same without me if would not accompany them. I replied could not go without instructions, having submitted matter to my Government and been advised of its receipt. See Department’s No. 1754, October l.2

Early to-day Minister of Foreign Affairs telephoned would receive me 12.30 instead of 1 p.m. as heretofore. While going Foreign Office in automobile met British Ambassador, Italian Ambassador, French Ambassador, walking therefrom conversing intently evidently not seeing me as did not salute. Was promptly admitted on arriving at Foreign Office and hurriedly told by Minister for Foreign Affairs that Kerensky had just left Winter Palace to call upon me and express appreciation of my not accompanying Ambassadors in delivering joint note which contained nothing new and which President considered “tactless.” Requesting the Minister for Foreign Affairs to telephone Embassy to tell President when calling that I would return in five minutes immediately started, arriving Embassy at 12.50 p.m., and learned that the President had been to the Embassy and that on learning Ambassador absent left his card without any message. Note was revised and somewhat softened but was formally presented and probably published as such was intention of British Ambassador.

Following is translation:3

The Allied powers, without wishing to mix in the internal affairs of Russia, cannot help being preoccupied with the effects which a prolongation of the state of crisis might have on the general situation from the military and diplomatic point of view.

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-banished. There is not an hour to lose, if one wishes to avoid a catastrophe which would render the issue of the war uncertain, or would at the least retard the hour of victory while increasing the sacrifices already so considerable which the peoples of the Entente have endured; there is not an effort to neglect to annihilate this militarism [Page 208] of the Central Empires which is still more formidable to the young Russian Republic than to the other democratic states whose organization has been tested by time.

Recent events have thrown doubts on Russia’s power of resistance and on the possibility of continuing the struggle. The Allied Governments might soon find themselves confronted by a trend of opinion which would put on trial the responsibility concerning the utility of the considerable sacrifices in arms, munitions, material of every kind accorded without counting to Russia while they would be reproached with not having reserved them for the western front where the wish to conquer appears without faltering.

To restore confidence to this opinion and to give to the Allied Governments the power of reassuring it, it behooves the Russian Government to show by acts its resolve to employ all proper means to revive discipline and true military spirit among the fighting troops, at the same time that it will insure the operation of the public services and the reestablishment of 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 of thus assuring itself of the entire support of faithful allies imbued with the same democratic spirit and resolved to continue for their part the struggle with the energy of which they have given so many proofs. The past is a sure guarantee of the future for Russia who has seen enter the liberty of nations the Allied armies, at the moment when the ambitions of German hegemony were unmasked by the attack which was directed first of all against the Slav people, as well as at the moment when the threatening pressure of the enemy weighed heavily on the Russian southwestern front.

Above for information. British Ambassador asked me by telephone if Kerensky called at the Embassy. I replied: “Yes, but I did not see him and he left no message.” He said three Ambassadors had presented note to Kerensky who apparently not pleased and would not let them talk to him after receiving note.

  1. The Stavka, or staff headquarters, was at Mogilev.
  2. Ante, p. 201.
  3. See ante, p. 196.