File No. 861.00/1357

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


27. This situation more complicated daily. Tredwell returning from Petrograd reported had seen Baron Fredericks1 functioning in passport control; may have been there, but Robins by direct wire to-day says this specifically denied by Chicherin and Trotsky and that French mission has accepted government offer and is making assignment of officers for inspection in new army. Riggs, Moscow, strongly recommends we do likewise, but Ruggles here undecided, as he is not thoroughly satisfied that new army is intended for German resistance.

Moser wires 20th through Summers advising that Americans all leave Russia immediately and that Allied interest justifies [intervention]. Macgowan confirms Moran report concerning German officers saying that their uniforms only partially concealed by Russian overcoats. Robins earnestly supporting Commissaire government while Summers says it is not representative and doomed to failure and that the effort to create army will be futile.

Robins, over direct wire, to-day submits following specific inquiry by request of Soviet:

I asked you to inquire of the American Government if a commission for economic and business purposes sent by economic commission of Soviet government will be received by the United States. It is guaranteed by government that this commission will have no political purpose and will not engage in any propaganda work of any description en route or in America. Please get a report [reply] to this inquiry at the earliest possible date.

[Page 486]

Despatch from Petrograd received to-day says Joffe has been announced People’s Commissaire for Foreign Office [Affairs], the same person whose letter was quoted in my 2354.1 Present government in nominal control from Murman to the Pacific with no apparent organized or formidable opposition. Robins assures me government desires American friendship and aid in resistance to Germany but all its acts and expressions irreconcilable therewith. Friction with British representatives Archangel inconsistent with specific instructions given Soviet representatives Murman to cooperate with British authorities and French there, but this order given when Trotsky thought Germany rejected Lenin’s acceptance peace terms because Russian commissioners at Brest ordered prompt special train before Russia informed of Germany’s acceptance. Prominent government officials in speeches call our Government imperialistic and even Lenin and Trotsky do not conceal that new army being organized to aid world-wide social revolution and overturn all existing governments. President of Petrograd Soviet2 in speech on [omission] ours most bourgeois of all republics and said President’s telegram purely a move in political game of diplomacy made to prevent Germany from pilfering everything and leaving nothing for us and because we annoyed by Japanese aggressive policy and predicting that Trotsky will publish secret correspondence showing our dishonorable play in game of international imperialism. Boasted that reply to President’s telegram was slap in face to President of bosses’ Republic, “because no matter how difficult the position we will always say the truth to the working class.”

Purpose remaining Vologda. Unsolicitous about personal self or staff and when reach conclusion concerning sincerity of German resistance, shall make recommendation.

  1. Formerly Minister of the Imperial Court and Household, Aide-de-Camp to the Tsar, member of the Council of Empire, etc., etc.
  2. Ante, p. 371.
  3. Zinoviev had been made president of the Petrograd Soviet on Dec. 13, 1917.