File No. 861.00/2487

The British Chargé ( Barclay ) to the Secretary of State

[A copy of the following paraphrase of a telegram was forwarded by the Chargé to the Department of State on August 13, 1918:]

The British Foreign Office to British Representative in Petrograd

March 4, 1918 .

The British Government will gladly assist the Bolshevik government as far as in their power in resistance to the Germans. Assistance of this sort was promised by Mr. Lindley on Monday and instructions have now been sent to the British admiral at Murmansk to assist the local Bolshevik authorities as far [Page 391] as he can in opposing the advance of the German forces: the naval forces at his disposal are being increased for this purpose.

In this way the British Government are demonstrating in a practical manner their wish to help the Bolshevist government against their external enemies, but in the meantime Russia under Bolshevist control has done nothing to help herself, but has merely issued proclamations which have not had the effect of causing the Germans to withdraw nor the Russians to fight.

The most vigorous action which has been taken by Bolshevist Russia has been against Rumania, who might, with proper help, have been a most valuable protection against the aggressive plans of Germany. The enormous military supplies provided by France, United States, and Great Britain, are being abandoned by Russia without an effort and will probably be used on the western front against the countries which supplied them.

It is possible that you are justified in your hope that Russia may still have the power and will to reconstruct the forces which she has purposely destroyed and I sincerely hope that you are right in your view that the present situation is one of merely temporary paralysis. But meanwhile what course are the Allies to pursue? Japan is not prepared to await the outcome of the present situation even if we were ready to do so. In her opinion it is absolutely essential from the point of view of her own safety to prevent the Germans’ extending their power to the Pacific, and this view seems to us justified. Moreover, we desire in our own interests to prevent the Germans from seizing the stores at Vladivostok in the same way as they are seizing those in western Russia and also to prevent Germany’s obtaining control of the Siberian supply of foodstuffs in the same way as those of the Ukraine.

We note that in your opinion the whole of Russia will be thrown into the hands of Germany if Japan undertakes an expedition to Vladivostok. While your view may be correct you should remember the following points:

The invasion undertaken by Germany is intended to crush socialism in Russia, while intervention by Japan will have no connection at all with Russian internal politics.
The German armies are intended to dismember Russia and are successfully doing so while the intervention of Japan would, by a declaration of the Allies, be a guarantee as a temporary measure, after which Russian territory would remain as before.

The invasion by Germany is intended to result in the economic exploitation of Russia and in her political weakening, while action by Japan is required to help resistance by Russia to these developments, As regards Trotsky’s statement that England and the United States will be blamed for Japanese intervention, we would point out that Japan will decline to look on at the Germanizing of Siberia whatever action may be taken by Great Britain and America.

It seems practically certain that Japan will be compelled to take action in her own interests and it is obviously preferable from the standpoint of Russia that such action should be taken by Japan not as an isolated power but as the mandatory of the Allies If credence is given in Russia to the absurd story that intervention by Japan is in accordance with a secret arrangement between Germany and the Allied powers, the Bolshevists have only themselves to blame in view of their own promotion of the German propaganda campaign against the United States and England.