File No. 861.00/345
The Consul at Petrograd ( Winship ) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 7.]
Sir: I have the honor to report further, referring to despatch No. 274, dated March 20, 1917,1 that the Council of Workmen’s and Soldiers’ [Page 19] Deputies has issued the following proclamation to the peoples of the world, in the hope of provoking and encouraging a revolution in Germany:
to the peoples of the world 1
We, workmen and soldiers, united in the Petrograd Council of Workmen’s and Soldiers’ Deputies, send you our warmest greetings and inform you of a great event. The Russian democracy has overthrown the ancient despotism of the Tsar and enters your comity as an equal member and a powerful force in the struggle for our general freedom. Our victory is a great victory for universal freedom and democracy. The chief support of world-wide reaction, the “gendarme of Europe,” is no more. May the earth rest as a heavy stone on its grave! Long live freedom! Long live the international solidarity of the proletariat and its struggle for the final victory!
Our labor is not yet finished; the shadows of the old order are not yet dissipated and not a few enemies are gathering their forces against the Russian revolution. But still our conquests are enormous. The peoples of Russia will express their will in the Constitutional Convention which will be called soon on the basis of universal, equal, direct, and secret suffrage. And it may be already confidently stated that a democratic republic will triumph in Russia. The Russian people has full political liberty. Now it can express its all-powerful will in its own self-government and its foreign policy. And, addressing ourselves to all peoples, exhausted and ruined in the present monstrous war, we announce that the time has come to begin the struggle against the grasping tendencies of the governments of all countries; the time has come for all peoples to take the question of war and peace into their own hands.
In cognizance of its own revolutionary strength the Russian democracy announces that it will oppose in every way the grasping policies of its ruling classes, and it summons the peoples of Europe to decisive common measures in favor of peace.
And we address ourselves to our brother proletarians of the Austrian-German coalition, and above all the German proletariat. From the first days of the war you have been assured that in raising arms against autocratic Russia you are defending Europe against Asiatic despotism. Many of you have seen in this a justification of the support you have given in the war. Now this justification is gone; democratic Russia cannot be a menace to freedom and civilization.
We will firmly defend our own freedom from all reactionary attempts whether from without or within. The Russian revolution will not withdraw before the bayonets of conquerors, and will not let itself be put down by foreign military power. Now, we summon you; cast off the yoke of your semiautocratic régime as the Russian people has thrown off the Tsar’s autocracy; refuse to be an instrument of greed and rapine in the hands of kings, landowners, and bankers; and with our friendly, united efforts we will stop the awful slaughter that is a stain on humanity and that darkens the grand days of the birth of Russian freedom.
Toilers of all countries! We extend our hands as brothers over the bodies of our comrades, over rivers of innocent blood and tears, over the smoking ruins of cities and villages, over the ruined treasures of civilization, and call on you to restore and reinforce international harmony. This harmony is the guarantee of our victories and of the full freedom of humanity.
Workingmen of the world, unite!
This a step undertaken by the Council of Workmen’s and Soldiers’ Deputies undertaken their own initiative without consulting the Temporary Government, the Duma, or the soldiers at the front. This council is under the influence of a clique of very radical socialists; who adhere to the principles of the “International” as expressed at: the Zimmerwald and Kienthal international socialist conferences.
The moderate Socialists, among whom may be included A. F. Kerensky, present Minister of among, while not openly opposing this; proclamation, deprecate the bad effect it may have on the Russian soldier and workman.
The moderate socialists have publicly called attention to the exces save demands made by the workmen in many Petrograd factories, despite the agreement or a foity-seven-hour week and arbitration courts. In some cases the workmen refuse to accept decisions rendered by these courts and dp not return to work.
In numerous instances foremen, managers and directors disliked by the workmen have been expelled tinder threat of violence, This applies especially to foreigners.
The radicalism of the Petrpgrad socialists is being Overbalanced, I believe, by the calm seriousness of the provinces and the armies of the west and of the southwest. Disorganization due to the revolution is greatest in and around Petrograd.
The supplying of food to the people and of fuel and materials to the factories here continues but without improvement.
I have [etc.]