File No. 862.20261/53

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


2354. Following prepared by Sisson and myself from documents we have seen whose authenticity I do not doubt and the originals of which we are endeavoring to procure.

The following documentary evidence, tending to prove Lenin and Trotsky and other Bolsheviki leaders in German pay and that disruption of Russia is but one move in plan of Germany to sow disorganization in Entente countries, reached me from widely different sources. I am expecting further evidence from the same sources but send incomplete data now available hoping that Washington may at once add its resources to the search for correlated evidence to prove or disprove accusation. All documents, except letter signed Yoffe [Joffe], are said to be from the files of “Kontrerazvedka,” Government secret service organized under Kerensky. If so, unavoidable [Page 372]question arises why K. did not use evidence against Bolsheviki last July. German agents within his Government may have prevented. The letter signed by Y. is from Brest Litovsk dossier at the Smolny Institute directly from a person known to have access thereto. Photograph of letter has been shown to me. Neither originals nor photographs of other documents are in our possession but are in Petrograd and have been seen by an American although without opportunity for painstaking scrutiny. Scheidemann communication document No. 11 is a letter, others on telegraph forms. Purported originals may be in our possession shortly but they themselves would not be necessarily proof of authenticity, such proof is more likely to be found in corroborative evidence in the possession of Department of Justice or Allied secret services. The British known to be working on part of the material. Many clues lead to Stockholm and Copenhagen, impossible to follow them from here. I suggest intensive effort to complete case but advise against immediate publication unless necessary to counteract Bolshevik propaganda in the Entente countries. Its publication would be regarded here as calumnies of foreign capitalists and would have little effect beyond inciting to reprisals.

The contents of translated documents follow:


Circular 18 February 1914, Ministry, to all groups of German banks and, by agreement with the Austro-Hungarian Government, the Österreichische-Kreditanstalt:

The management of all German banks which are transacting business abroad and by argeement with the Austro-Hungarian Government the Österreichische-Kreditanstalt Bank are hereby advised that the Imperial Government has deemed it to be of extreme necessity to ask the management of all institutions of credit to establish with all possible dispatch agencies in Luleå, Haparanda and Vardö on the frontier of Finland, and in Bergen and Amsterdam. The establishment of the agencies for a more effective observation of the financial interests of [German] shareholders of Russian, French and English concerns may become a necessity under certain circumstances, which would alter the situation of the industrial and financial market.

Moreover, the managements of banking institutions are urged emphatically to make provisions for very close and absolutely secret relations being established with Finnish and American banks. In this direction the Ministry begs to recommend the Swedish Nya Banken in Stockholm; the banking office of Fürstenburg; the commercial company Waldemar Hansen, in Copenhagen, as concerns which are maintaining relations with Russia.

(Signature) N3737
(Apparently division for “foreign country operations”)

Note: This is outline of basic financial structure begun February 1914, five months before war was launched and still in operation; [Page 373]notice reappearance in subsequent Lenin messages, towns Lulea and Vardö, likewise reference to American banks. Olof Aschberg, one of the heads of the Nya Banken, came to Petrograd month ago and boasted that N. B. was the Bolsheviki bank. He was overheard by one of our own group. He secured from Smolny permit export several hundred thousand gallons oil. Opening at Hotel Europe headquarters, where both Mirbach and Kaiserling of the German Commission have been entertained, he negotiated with the State Bank February 1 last, contract for buying cash rubles and establishing foreign credit for Russian Government and is opening others with the John MacGregor Grant Co., exporting concern, which it finances in Sweden and which is financed in America by the Guarantee Trust Co. We have no information reflecting on last mentioned company. Fürstenberg is now at Smolny under the name of Ganetski, is one of inner group and is likely soon to be placed in charge State Bank. Aschberg now in Stockholm but returning. The material in this and other comments is independent of the documents and accurate on fact statements.


Circular June 9 [November 2?], 1914. [From the] General Staff to all military attachés in the countries adjacent to Russia, France, Italy, and Norway.

In all branches of German banks [in] Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, and the United States special war credits have been opened for the subsidiary war requirements. The General Staff is authorizing you to avail yourself in unlimited amounts of these credits for the destruction of the enemy’s factories, plants and the most important military and civil structures. Simultaneously with the investigation [instigation] of strikes it is necessary to make provisions for the damaging of motors, of mechanisms, with the destruction of vessels, setting incendiary fires to stocks of raw materials and finished products, deprivation of large towns of their electric energy, stocks of fuel and provisions. Special agents detailed, which shall be at your disposal, will deliver to you explosive and incendiary devices and a list of such persons in the country under your observation who will assume the duty of agents of destruction.

General Army Counsel
Doctor Fisher

Note: Observe that this is dated six weeks before the rest of the world knew it was to be warred upon and even then making exact plans for a campaign of incited strikes and incendiary fires in the industrial plants and the yet uncreated munition plants in the United States.


Circular November 2, 1914, from the Imperial Bank to the representatives of the Nya Banken and the agents of the Diskonto Gesellschaft and of the Deutsche Bank.

[Page 374]

At the present time there have been concluded conversations between the authorized agents of the Imperial Bank and the Russian revolutionaries, Messrs. Zenzinov and Lunaeharski. Both the mentioned persons addressed themselves to several financial men who, for their part, addressed themselves to our representatives. We are ready to support the agitation and propaganda projected by them in Russia on the absolute condition that the agitation and propaganda (carried on?) by the above-mentioned Messrs. Z. and L. will touch the active armies at the front. In case the agents of the Imperial Bank should address themselves to your banks we beg you to open them the necessary credit which will be covered completely as soon as you make demand on Berlin.


Addition as part of document:

Z. and L. got in touch with Imperial Bank of Germany through the bankers (D?) Rubenstein, Max Warburg and Parvus.

Note: L. is the present People’s Commissioner of Education. Z. is not a Bolshevik, but a right Social Revolutionist and in the discard, whereabouts unknown. Parvus and Warburg both figure in the Lenin and Trotsky documents. P. is at Copenhagen. W. chiefly works from Stockholm.


Circular February 23, 1915. Press division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to all Ambassadors, Ministers, and Consular Officers in neutral countries:

You are hereby advised that in the country to which you [are] now accredited special offices are established for the organization of propaganda in the countries of the coalition of powers which is in a state of belligerency with Germany. The propaganda will be connected with the stirring up of social unrest and strikes; of revolutionary outbreaks resulting from it; of separatism among the component parts of the state; practically civil war; and will also comprise agitation for disarmament and the discontinuation of the war butchery. You are requested to cooperate and to favor in every way the managers of said offices. These persons will present to you proper certificate.


Note: Here is the exact German formula for the incitement to war “from the rear”: strikes, efforts towards revolution, the use of humanitarian appeals to weaken arm of its forces.


From president of Kirdorff’s Rhenish Westphalian Industrial Syndicate to the central office of Nya Banken in Stockholm. To Svenson Baltzer, representative of Diskonto Gesellschaft in Stockholm, and to Mr. Kirch, representative of Deutsche Bank in Switzerland.

The Rhenish Westphalian Industrial Coal Syndicate charges you with the management of the account of which you have been apprised for the support of Russian emigrants desirous of conducting propaganda amongst Russian prisoners of war and the Russian Army.


Note that this document already figures in the [omission] several governments having been intercepted in the correspondence of Prince [Page 375]von Bülow. It has new and direct pertinency to the Lenin-Trotsky data which follow herewith.


Copenhagen, June 18, 1917.

Mr. Ruffner,

Dear Sir: Please be advised that from the Diskonto Gesellschaft account, 315,000 marks have been transferred to Mr. Lenin’s account in Kronstadt as per order of syndicate. Kindly acknowledge receipt Nilandeway [Nylandsvej], 98, Copenhagen, W. Hansen & Co.


Note: Kronstadt, the navy base, was the nerve center from which L.’s activities radiated during the summer, both before and after he fled from Petrograd. He was not always there but it was Bolshevik domain. Sailors were, and still are, his first dependence. Hansen & Co. are named in document 1.


Stockholm, September 8, 1917.

Mr. Farsen,
(via Helsingfors).

Carried out your commission: passports and the indicated sum of 207,000 marks as per order of your Mr. Lenin have been handed to persons mentioned in your letter. The selection met with approval of his excellency the ambassador. Confirm the arrival of said persons and separate receipt of your counter receipts.


Note: Ambassador is probably Von Lucius, a complimentary reference.


Kontrerazvedka, Geneva, June 16, 1917.

Mr. Fürstenberg,

Please note that at the request of Mr. (Jullias?) francs 32,000 have been paid for the publication of Maximalist socialist pamphlets. Advise by telegram addressed to Decker of the receipt of the consignment of pamphlets, number of bill of lading and date of arrival.

Kriek, Deutsche Bank

Note: Fürstenberg is named in document 1 and is Ganetski in St. Petersburg.


Mr. Raphael Scholnickan,

Dear Comrade: The office of the banking house M. Warburg has opened, in accordance with telegram from the Rhenish Westphalian Syndicate, an account for the undertaking of Comrade Trotsky. The attorney [?] purchased arms and has organized their transportation and delivery track Lulea and Vardö to [Page 376]the office of Essen & Son in the name Luleå receivers and a person authorized to receive the money demanded by Comrade Trotsky.

J. Fürstenberg

Note: This is the first reference to Trotsky. It connects him with banker Warburg and with Fürstenberg. Luleå is a Swedish town near Haparanda.


Luleå, October 2, 1917.

Mr. Antonov,

Comrade Trotsky’s request has been carried out. From the account of the syndicate and the Ministry (probably Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin, press division) 400,000 kroner have been taken and remitted to Comrade Sonia who will call on you with this letter and will hand you the said sum of money.

J. Fürstenberg

Note: Antonov is the chief military leader of the Bolsheviki. He was in command of forces that took St. Petersburg. He is now in field against Kaledin and Alexeev. At the date of this letter Trotsky was already at the head of Petrograd Soviet and the Bolshevik revolution was only a month away.


Berlin, August 25. 1917.

Mr. Olberg.

Your desire for [omission] together with the intention of the party. By agreement with the persons known to you 150,000 kroner are transferred to be at your disposal at Fürstenberg’s office through Nya Banken. Kindly advise Vorwärts about everything that is being written by the newspaper about present events.


Note: This letter from Scheidemann, the German socialist leader, links him with Fürstenberg-Ganetski, with the Nya Banken and with subsidizing the Russian revolution. Trotsky published a newspaper during the summer. Another newspaper spoke for Lenin. Vorwärts would seem to refer to the socialist organ at Berlin. Scheidemann’s rôles both as German peace propagandist and as strike queller in Germany are illumined by this letter.


Berlin, July 14, 1917.

Mr. Mir,

We are transferring to your name through Mr. I. Ruchver, examining magistrate, 180.000 marks for the expense your journey to Finland; the balance will be at your disposal for agitation against England and France. The letters of (Malyanik?) and Steklov which were sent were received and will be signed [considered].


[Page 377]

Note: Mir is the Russian word for peace. Lenin was in hiding in July. Report placed him, among other places, in Stockholm. Notice that the agitation is to be against England and France; it took the form from the opening days of the Bolshevik revolution of attacks on them as imperialist nations. Parvus is Copenhagen banker already referred to.


No. 771. Confidential.

Brest Litovsk, December 31, Russian [style], 1917, No. 385 M. K.

To the Council of National Commissaries:

Comrade L. D. Trotsky has charged me to bring to the knowledge of the Council of National Commissaries the motives for his telegraphic proposal to arrest the Rumanian diplomatic representatives in Petrograd.

General Hoffmann, referring to the conference which had taken place in Brest Litovsk between the members of the German and Austro-Hungarian delegations on December 29, presented to the Russian delegation in the name of the German and Austrian chief command (a deciphered radiotelegram was exhibited in this connection), a confidential demand concerning the immediate incitement of the Rumanian Army to recognize the necessity of an armistice and adopting the terms of a democratic peace pointed out by the Russian delegates. The implacability of the staff and the whole commanding force of the Rumanian Army, with regard to which the chief command of the German Army has received the most exact agency information, spoils the excellent impression produced in Germany and on all the fronts by the Russian peace propositions which has made it possible to again stimulate the popular feeling against England, France and America and can bring about an undesirable and delusive [dangerous] aggravation of the peace question up to the German Army going over to the attack on our front and an open annexation of the territories occupied in Russia. The General expressed his opinion that against peace might be the Cossacks, some Ukraine regiments, and the Caucasian army, in which case they will also doubtless be joined by the Rumanian armies which, according to the information in possession of the German staff, enters into the calculations of Kaledin and Alexeev. It is greatly in the interests of the German and Austrian delegations that complete harmony should prevail on the entire Russian front as regards the conclusion of an armistice and adopting the terms of a separate peace between Russia and Germany seeing that in this event the German and Austrian chief command will propose to Rumania their terms of peace and will be in a position to take up their operative actions on the west front on a very large scale at the same time. General Hoffmann, in the course of a conversation with Comrade Trotsky, twice hinted at the necessity of immediately beginning these war operations, and at new negotiations with Switzerland carried on with great success. When Trotsky declared that at the disposal of the council’s power there are no means of influencing the Rumanian staff, General Hoffmann pointed out the necessity of sending trustworthy agents to the Rumanian Army and the possibility of arresting the Rumanian mission in Petrograd and repressive measures against the Rumanian King and the Rumanian commanding forces. After this interview Comrade Trotsky by telegraph proposed to arrest the Rumanian mission in Petrograd with all its members. This report is being sent by special courier, Comrade I. G. Brosov, who has personally to transmit to Commissary Pokrovski some information of a secret character regarding the sending to the Rumanian Army of those persons whose names Brosov will give. All these persons will be paid out of the cash of the German Naphtha [Page 378]Industrial Bank which has bought near Boreslavl the business of the joint stock company of Fanto & Co. The chief direction of those agents has been entrusted, according to General Hoffmann’s indication, to a certain Wolf Venigel who is keeping a watch over the military agents of the countries allied with us. As regards the English and American diplomatic representatives, General Hoffmann has expressed the agreement of the German staff to the measures taken by Comrade Trotsky and Comrade Lazimirov with regard to watchfulness over their activity.

A. Yoffe

Note: The date is January 12 [13], new style, the eve of the Russian New Year. The Rumanian Minister was arrested that night in Petrograd and only released the next day on the united demand of all Embassies and Legations in Petrograd. Since then he has been sent out of Russia. The letter shows that Trotsky took Hoffmann’s personal demand as an order and most important of all, however, it strips the mask from the Lenin and Trotsky public protestations that they have sought to prevent the peace negotiations with Germany from turning to the military advantage of Germany against the United States, England and France. Their aim here disclosed is, instead, to aid Germany in stimulating feeling against England, France and the United States in enabling Germany to prepare for an offensive on the western front. Success of German negotiations with Switzerland is emphasized. A German bank is named as paymaster for Bolshevik agitators among the Rumanian soldiers. Is “Wolf Venigel, the field director, the Wolf von Igel of American notoriety? Similarity in name is striking. Finally General Hoffmann and the German staff are satisfied with Trotsky’s watch over the American and English diplomats.

There are fifteen national Commissaires. Yoffe who signs the letter is a member of the Russian peace commission. Since this letter was written Zalkind has gone to Switzerland on a special mission.

  1. In five sections.