File No. 861.00/740

The Consul General at Moscow ( Summers ) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram]

91. I am transmitting following telegram from Bullard to Creel 1 and strongly indorse same, and request that it be brought to the attention of Secretary of State. I further recommend immediate action thereon as time is of the greatest importance.

Sisson just heard from. Am going to Petrograd to-morrow to meet him. Only one wireless dispatch yet received, dated Paris, November 20 [unintelligible passage]. Expect improvement in local telegraph communications soon.

I consider it unwise to recognize the de facto government of the Bolsheviki but regard it of the utmost importance from each point of view of the unfamiliar work [sic] that the reasons for refusal should be clearly and publicly stated. Trotsky is claiming that the attitude of the Entente powers is based on capitalistic fear of social revolution. Much of the disorganization of the army is due to this sort of argument. It is the most serious form of antagonism our publicity work has to fight. Refusal to recognize Bolsheviki should be motived, not on repugnance to their fantastic social experiments, but on sound democratic grounds.

They began their insurrection on the eve of the general elections for the Constitutional Assembly, which were scheduled for the 25th, 26th and 27th, because they knew there is no chance of winning. In sharp contrast to the revolution of March this is a minority insurrection. The [Bolsheviki] are only one small faction of the socialist movement and moreover their influence is limited to a few well-defined localities. There are large sections consequently where their very name is unknown. And having overthrown the Provisional Government by armed revolt, lacking a majority support, they can [Page 271] only hold the power by sheer terror. Their first act of power was to imprison the former ministers, all of whom are sincere democrats. The second was to confiscate all hostile newspapers, not only the few monarchical newspapers but also the Constitutional Democratic and even the moderate socialist newspapers. This assault on the liberty of the press was especially serious at the time of general elections. They have complete control of the posts and telegraphs and are using this power to falsify public opinion.

The elections in the Moscow district which were announced for yesterday have been postponed. It is doubtful whether the Constitutional Assembly can be held contact [sic]. Threats of a general massacre of the bourgeoisie on election day are being floated in the obvious intention of scaring opposing voters away from the polls. All these extreme measures show that the Bolsheviks are afraid to face the democratic verdict of an honest election.

A strong statement from Washington that the United States is entirely neutral in regard to the (protracted) internal question of social reforms but refuses to recognize an undemocratic government of violence and terror would be generally approved by all the responsible democratic elements here and would be a severe blow to the irresponsible adventurers now in power.

The most difficult task which confronts our publicity work is the counteracting of the German propaganda which asserts that the capitalists who control America would rather lose the war than see the workers gain a victory in the social struggle. The wireless dispatch referred to above was good. Now a clear statement by the President condemning the undemocratic policy of the Bolsheviks and perhaps a similar statement by Gompers would have a valuable effect.

Please communicate to Creel at once.

Summers
  1. George Creel, chairman of the Committee on Public Information.