File No. 861.00/1390

The British Ambassador ( Spring Rice) to the Secretary of State


The British Embassy at Petrograd have forwarded the following summary of the Bolsheviki movement:

Trotsky and Lenin have now complete control of the movement, and their policy, which they have fully explained, amounts simply to a world-wide social revolution, with the suppression of religion, nationality and property. Trotsky’s support of the cause of small nationalities is directly contrary to his doctrines, and is given solely for tactical purposes, and the question of peace or war is regarded by him and his followers solely from the angle of its effect on the objects of the revolutionary movement.

These facts are not disputed and, if understood, they explain completely the policy of the Bolsheviki. It is needless to enquire whether they are or have been taking money from the Germans.

Trotsky’s position is now very difficult. He can accept the German terms, but this would destroy his influence in western Europe, on which he counts for promoting the revolution in Russia. He can refuse their terms, but this would destroy his position with the masses in Russia, whose support he requires and who desire peace. It seems probable that he may do his best to induce the Germans to offer to accept his terms, subject to the provision that the Allies should also accept them very shortly. He would at the same time assure the Germans that the Allies cannot do this, and he might thus extract himself from his present position.

The policy of Trotsky and Lenin will in any event be to prevent 2 success on either side in the war, and to do their utmost to bring discredit on existing governments in all countries. They will try to [Page 337]help in getting rid of British rule in Egypt and India: their present marked hostility to British institutions may be due to the fact that they think them more solid than those to be found in some other places. Great Britain is now receiving continuous abuse in the papers under Bolsheviki control, and it might be desirable that the above facts, which can scarcely be disputed, should be brought to the attention of the press, in order to prevent the public’s being misled.