File No. 861.00/703

The Ambassador in Russia ( Francis) to the Secretary of State 1


2001. … [A former official] accompanied by Chaikovski, well-known Russian, visited me to-day representing National Committee of Defense. Stated Russian conditions critical as Bolshevik government, composed mainly of Lenin and Trotsky, had deceived people by promising peace which could not fulfil. Severely condemned Lenin and Trotsky for misleading people who were weary of war and desiring peace will overturn Bolshevik pretended government as it cannot negotiate peace and will be followed by greater anarchy than now prevails. They thought situation might be saved if Allies would call a conference and state aims for which they are fighting thus showing active desire to stop war. I told them our aims had been stated our entering the war and repeated several times since. They so admitted but said absolutely necessary that Allied conference be held and peace aims of all Allies be announced, and if reasonable would be acceptable to Russian people, and if not accepted by Germany such a move would inspire Russia with renewed courage and resuscitate army which now demoralized. They said had called on British Ambassador who had told them confidentially that he approved of suggestion and would so cable his Government. Do not see that we can lose by such conference and recommend that authority be given me to discreetly state our position on the question. … Chaikovski represents peasants on the committee whose chairman Avksentiev has left Petrograd because unsafe for him to remain there. Please answer.

Lenin attempting to administer. Trotsky visited Foreign Office yesterday, received by Neratov whose flight with treasury untrue. Neratov offered no opposition to Trotsky taking charge but thereupon left the Foreign Office as did other chiefs of bureaus and employees. Trotsky called for cashier who appeared, delivered keys on demand and also departed. Trotsky not interviewed but his secretary quoted [Page 239] as replying to reporters that new Minister for Foreign Affairs would remove Russian representatives in other countries and in due time notify diplomats in Russia of his installation as Minister for Foreign Affairs.

What done at Paris conference? Army food supply is exhausted and divisions reported marching to Petrograd where food is scarce.

  1. Sent via the Legation in Sweden (No. 1039).