File No. 861.00/746

The Minister in Sweden ( Morris) to the Secretary of State


1095. W. F. Sands,2 who is well known to the Department, just arrived from Petrograd en route to America. He informed me that his view of Russian conditions is as follows:

The strike by all Government officials and employees against the Bolshevik control was still in full force up to the date of his [Page 278] departure from Petrograd, November 26. There is no longer any doubt the Bolshevik leaders are in close communication with the leaders of the growing party of restoration. The connecting link between the two extremist parties is, as might be expected, the old secret police which disappeared during the first days of the revolution and has now resumed its former position of influence in both extreme parties. Sands states this to be a fact within his personal knowledge. He says that it is of course possible that the secret police are laying a trap for reactionaries. The rank and file of the Bolshevik Party are not aware of this combination as it is also beyond question that the party of the restoration intends by stimulating instead of avoiding a famine in all the great cities to reduce the people to a certain extent [to a] condition of misery from which they can only look to a Tsar to rescue them. These leaders are fully aware of [risks] involved by this policy and of the danger to life from violence and disorder which will naturally follow famine in the great cities but they consider this to be a necessary condition to achieve their object. The leaders of the restoration party are also fully aware that Germany desires the restoration of the Tsar. They recognize the principal Bolshevik leaders are working in the interest of Germany but they are willing to take whatever risk may be involved therein in order to accomplish the restoration. The restoration party is growing rapidly in numbers and has been greatly increased by Kerensky’s treachery to Kornilov and subsequent downfall. A picked force is being organized to strike heavily when the country has reached the proper condition of disorganization and misery. Sands says he will give you the details of this movement when he reaches Washington. He expresses very strongly the hope that the Embassies and particularly the American Embassy will not be withdrawn from Russia under any conditions as such a course will inevitably throw Russia completely and irrevocably into the hands of Germany. Present conditions in Russia are more favorable to Americans than to any one else. The other Allies are not trusted. Americans are; and in Sands’s opinion our Government should most carefully avoid so allying themselves with any particular party or group of men in Russia as to cause the isolation of the Ambassador when that party fails or falls from power. All the Allied Embassies have committed this error and Allied interests have suffered for it. Sands urges strongly that the United States hold on as firmly as possible to its real interests in Russia and in Russia’s gateway, Sweden, and that we urge upon the Allies the necessity for a free hand to America in Russia and Scandinavia.

  1. Special Assistant in the Embassy at Petrograd, 1916–1917.