File No. 861.00/1816

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


139. Continuing my 134.1 Developments indicate crisis approaching. Lenin in speech 28th to Central Executive Committee stated Soviet government on the eve of important move. My opinion is that Mirbach is controlling influence with Soviet government and persistently impressing it that he is only Ambassador who recognizes it. Whether Soviet government will inform Allied missions that considers them private citizens with no privilege of sending [Page 516] enciphered telegrams or whether will present them with passports for departure is a question. In latter event Soviet government likely to designate route of departure and fear same will not be through Siberia, probably Archangel or Murman.

French, Italian colleagues continue daily urging Allied intervention and say same would be welcomed by majority Russians; they think such intervention only awaits American consent. I have been hoping Soviet government would request intervention by saying that French Consul, Moscow, visited Chicherin when Japanese invasion threatened, and asked what would be Soviet policy in such event; Chicherin in written reply March 26, stated such invasion would be resisted by force, if necessary, just as force would be used to resist German invasion of Russian territory. French Ambassador argues that German invasion admitted from Ukraine and protested by Soviet government, but not resisted, consequently his position justifiable as stated in interview.

Chernov, President Constituent Assembly, apparently in Moscow and accounts for his liberty by saying has friends in Bolshevik camps who advise him when arrest arranged so that has been able to escape. He says absolutely knows that Soviet government negotiating for sale to Germany of Russian commercial fleet to pay Russian indebtedness to Germany; furthermore, affirms that able-bodied Russian prisoners remaining in Germany. As provided in your copies cable number [omission] such intervention, but now that Mirbach arrived such request seems hopeless. Petrograd fails to observe protests of British, French, concerning evacuation Archangel supplies and sends Allied missions ultimatums such as recall of Vladivostok consuls, position of Allies concerning Vladivostok marine landings, and relations of Allied governments to Soviet government. Meantime Soviet government promptly complies with German demands.

French Ambassador explains [prisoners] are retained by Germany for labor and that Soviet government receives consideration therefor.

  1. Ante, p. 511.