File No. 861.00/2472

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 Secretary of State on August 13, 1918:]

[Page 393]

The British Foreign Office to the British Special Representative in Russia ( Lockhart )

March 6, 1918 .

In reply to the appeal which you make the following points are brought to our notice.

It appears that Trotsky and the Congress at Moscow can adopt one of the following three lines of action:

They may decide to proclaim a holy war against Germany. If so, is it possible for us, after our previous experience, to expect that the result will be anything except a fresh surrender and a fresh dismemberment of Russia? An army cannot be made by fine words, though they can easily destroy it. The Bolsheviks have with complete success endeavoured to shatter the fighting spirit of Russia, and they can hardly revive it in the same way.
They may decide on the acceptance of domination by Germany with all its results. If so, it is impossible for them to blame the Allied powers for taking such action of their own as may be necessary in self-defence, provided always that the independence and integrity of Russia are not threatened by such action. Against this danger every precaution will be taken.
The Congress and the Government may appeal to all such organized forces as are still available for help in resisting the enemy. These forces consist Justly of the Rumanian Army, which still exists, and secondly of the slight help which might be given by the ships of the Allies at Vladivostok and points in the White Sea, and thirdly of the Japanese.

In your view the employment of the Japanese would be a disaster. Throughout the war, however, the Russian authorities have been most willing to profit by Japanese intervention and by the help of Japanese gunners, and if the Japanese agree to intervene they would come, not like the Germans as hostile conquerors, but as allies and friends. You state that Trotsky wishes for a working agreement with Great Britain, though he is not prepared to enter into friendly relations. His attitude is understood, but we suggest that it would be reasonable for him also to try a working agreement with Japan. This policy is strongly recommended for his consideration in the interest of Russia no less than in that of those who still regard themselves as her allies.

I do not understand what you say about the unnecessary suppression of Bolshevism. The British Government have clearly and constantly repeated that they have no wish to take any part in Russia’s domestic affairs, but that the prosecution of the war is the only point with which they are concerned.