File No. 703.7181/3

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


2240. Diplomatic Corps met here this afternoon. Decided to give press procès-verbal of their call on Lenin. Pravda, Bolshevik organ, prints that Zalkind, Assistant Commissary Foreign Affairs, stated had telephonic message through authentic source stating:

American Ambassador assures that immediately after release of Rumanian Minister he would protest to him against Rumanian attack on Russian troops and through American representatives in Rumania would make necessary statement to the Rumanian Government. American Ambassador regards Diamandi’s arrest as formal expression of protest of Russian Government against activity of Rumanian commander in chief.

Rumanian Minister construes this as justification on my part of his arrest, consequently am writing him following:

My Dear Colleague: I am surprised and pained to learn from you that you for a moment think that I would or could justify your arrest and confinement in Peter and Paul Fortress, as I have had only one opinion on the subject and have made no expression concerning it other than to deplore such an unprecedented infraction of diplomatic etiquette. I have concurred in sentiment of our colleagues, Allied and neutral chiefs of missions, and as the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps accompanied by all of the members thereof, presented to the President of the Commissaries of the People the demand for your immediate and unconditional release and stated when doing so that we could not enter into any discussion concerning the causes of your arrest.

The procès-verbal approved at a meeting of the Diplomatic Corps this afternoon gives an account of what [occurred] at Smolny Institute when Mr. Lenin received the Diplomatic Corps at 4 p.m., January 1/14.

I have had no communication direct or indirect nor have I sent any message to anyone connected with the Soviet government on the subject of your arrest or your release. The dragoman of the Embassy, by my direction, telephoned to Smolny Institute about midnight of the 14th to ask whether the decision concerning your release had [Page 481] been determined, but he had neither instructions nor authority to make any other inquiry and least of all concerning conditions of your release and he informs me that he did not do so nor even think of doing so.

While sympathizing with you in your trying experience and sincerely regretting its occurrence I felicitate you upon your prompt and unconditional release in which I willingly took an active part and congratulate our colleagues as well as yourself upon the speedy termination of this deplorable incident.

Probably such report effected release, but as stated above I authorized no others to take any message whatever to any of the Soviet government. Rumanian Minister says if not released unconditionally would consider arrest continuing and return to prison.

Soviet government attempting to save its face and making my position extremely difficult, but am making every effort to (prevent?) a separate peace.