File No. 701.7161/2

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


2238. Continuing my 2233. About 11 heard unofficially Rumanian Minister would be released; hour later heard officially would be released but half an hour later heard previous report mistake; 3 o’clock heard again officially would be released; 10 o’clock to-day telephoned to fortress, learned was still there; at 1 o’clock informed [Page 479] Rumanian Minister been told would be released on signing agreement to release Austrian officers and all Bolshevik soldiers arrested in Rumania but had refused. Continuously telephoning Smolny and fortress, 5 o’clock learned had been unconditionally released and that Ambassador had brought him to French Embassy where have just interviewed him.

Said heard noon 18th [13th] Trotsky wired from Brest ordering his arrest and had offers of protection in other missions but decided to remain in his Legation; that ten soldiers entered around about 8 and took him under arrest; upon asking for papers officer said same would arrive soon; that another officer exhibited paper stating arrest occasioned by arrest of Austrian officers and Russian soldier in Rumania but not definite; had invited guests to dinner and asked permission to dine but was refused and taken to entrance under guard where met thirty more armed soldiers; taken to Peter Paul Fortress arriving about 9; shown into large room where waited until 2 a.m., when shown to small room where only one bed with mattress, no cover; had asked privilege of taking valet but was denied; accompanied by young Rumanian officer who also arrested and consigned to same room but compelled to sleep on mattress on floor without cover.

Rumanian Minister visited 10 a.m. to-day by prison [commander asking] signature paper obligating Rumanian Minister to secure or recommend release of Austrian officers and Bolsheviks who are under arrest in Rumania. Minister refused saying not diplomat when imprisoned but only 59, his cell number. Rumanian Minister said all telegraphic communication with Rumania severed and not advised of occurrences. About 4 p.m. was released and taken by French Ambassador to French Embassy. Naturally very indignant saying been disgraced and must quit Petrograd. I am telephoning missions of unconditional release and calling meeting Diplomatic Corps tomorrow afternoon.

Italian Embassy invaded 3 a. [p.] m. yesterday afternoon. Hundred or more bottles wine consumed or taken by soldiers, two of whom entered living apartments. Italian Ambassador entered complaint to insult. At yesterday’s meeting British suggested meeting and action be confined to arrest of Rumanian Minister by government which was confirmed. During discussion with Lenin, French Ambassador mentioned invasion Italian Embassy whereupon Lenin said his first knowledge thereof and asked why government not advised. Italian Ambassador addressed formal communication to me and subject matter will be considered to-morrow. Missions considered extraterritorial and inviolate.

[Page 480]

Lenin was shot at while in automobile en route Smolny last evening, had narrow escape. Platten, Swiss socialist, on Lenin’s left was wounded in hand, eight shots fired. No arrests made yesterday.