File No. 861.00/758

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


2049. Trotsky in speech last night quoted as follows:

To-day I had with me here in Smolny Institute two Americans having close ties with the capitalistic element of the American nation who assured me that the attitude of the United States is expressed correctly by the letter of Judson and not Kerth.1 I am inclined to believe that such is really the case not, assuredly, because I believe in the platonic sympathy for the Russian nation of which the American imperialists wish to persuade me. The point is that after all that has taken place during the last two days the American diplomats have understood that they could not overcome the Russian revolution and therefore they desire to form with us “friendly” relations considering that this will be an excellent means of competition with the Germans and in particular with the British capitalists after the war. Anyway, we are in no wise interested as to how Allied or enemy imperialists will treat us. We shall conduct an independent policy of class no matter how they may treat us and I give these considerations only because I see therein a symptom of the unshakable forces of the Russian revolution and of its [r]evolutionary government.

He then discusses British relations, saying British Consul visited Smolny after prohibition of all British subjects to leave Russia and [Page 276] asked what would be the result if British reply to demand for release of two socialists were delayed. Trotsky adds:

I did not hesitate a moment and replied to him that if the comrades continue to remain in concentration camps through the ill will of the British Government, then revolutionary Russia will find it possible to adjust to their situation that also of the British counter-revolutionists in Russia. Our Allies and enemies abroad must understand at last that the times of Tsars and of Kerensky with Milyukov are over, that every Russian citizen, be he even a political emigrant or a revolutionary soldier in France, now finds himself under the protection of the governmental authority of the Russian revolution.

This threatens interning of British subjects in Russia if [interned] Russian agitators are not released in England.

Judson says has cabled his two letters and Kerth’s to War Department.1 I directed Judson to instruct Kerth, who is at Stavka, to protest against separate armistice or peace. Judson thinks that Kerth did so before receipt of his instructions but that is immaterial. Trotsky objects in published statement that protest was addressed to Dukhonin after Dukhonin’s removal. Kerth blameless therefore as Dukhonin was in command when protest submitted. Neither Judson nor I gave instructions concerning person to whom protest should be made and Kerth entirely justifiable in presenting same to person in command.

Trying to ascertain who are two Americans who presumed to speak for Americans when I have abstained therefrom to this moment. British Ambassador in authorized interview published to-day says:

In an interview accorded to Reuter correspondent Lord Cecil is reported to have said that His Majesty’s Government could not recognize the present Russian Government and the Ambassador has further been instructed to abstain from any action that could be taken as implying recognition.

Not clear whether last clause in quotation stating instructions directly received or continuing to quote Lord Cecil.

  1. See footnote 1, post, p. 276.
  2. The letter of Lieut. Col. Monroe C. Kerth can not be found in the files of the War Department; for the two letters of Brig. Gen. W. V. Judson, dated Nov. 25 and 27, respectively, see ante, pp. 266 and 269.