File No. 763.72/5170

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


1354. Answering your 1456, May 31, just received. My 1348, May 31, explained situation. Conferred with Minister for Foreign Affairs May 30, when he stated President’s reply unobjectionable and publication thereof only awaiting British and French replies which had been submitted but returned after conference for alteration as both replies contained statements likely to arouse objections and Minister for Foreign Affairs thought advisable to publish all replies simultaneously. Conferred with the Minister for Foreign Affairs again June [2] when after profusely apologizing and receiving from me affirmative reply to his question whether I desired him to be entirely candid he said that as every utterance of President Wilson is read with interest and exerts wide influence in Russia he suggested that the President’s communication omit statement, “war begun to go against Germany,” as Minister of War wants to have argument to solidify and inspire army that Germany’s success is threatening if not imminent, which President’s expression tended to counteract. Furthermore, suggested that references to “readjustments” might properly be omitted but after some further talk voluntarily offered to send suggestions in writing to Embassy by midnight. Not receiving same I found him to-day at President of Council’s residence conferring with President of Council and Minister of War who returned from front this morning. He apologized for not complying with promise and said was now conferring concerning Allies’ replies on objects of war and would call at Embassy June 4, 11 a.m., and give result. That is present situation.

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Minister for Foreign Affairs has been also acting Minister of Finance until to-day and is mentally and physically exhausted. Told me confidentially that Minister of Finance [Trade] and Industry had resigned through difference with himself as Minister of Finance, he as Minister of Finance advocating that differences between employers and employees be adjusted by local arbitration committee with Russian delegation as final arbitrator and that such rule be applied to all such controversies but Minister Trade and Industry maintained that each dispute be considered by Government and settled on its merits. [Supposition] is that Konovalov, late Minister Trade and Industry, desired resign since Milyukov left. Minister for Foreign Affairs says British reply been altered on request three times; that French answer been altered twice and now awaiting return of Thomas for third alteration. Provisional Government has delicate, difficult task to maintain itself and hopes we can consistently [omission].

I think our expression should carefully guard against increasing their obstacles. Shall cable advice to-morrow after seeing Minister for Foreign Affairs who says Minister of “War much pleased with his word from front and sends warm greeting. When control and discipline of army restored, industrial problems will be much easier of solution.