File No. 861.00/2039

The Consul at Moscow ( Poole) to the Secretary of State


617. Official Soviet gazette to-day prints note of Mirbach, dated 6th, which, after citing in answer to “continual unfounded complaints [Page 556] of Russian Government regarding supposed infraction of existing regulations by German commanding staff “various alleged aggressive and improper acts by Red Army, continued as follows:

Russian Government is carrying on public propaganda against Germany in radiograms addressed to its diplomatic representative at Berlin. For instance, on May 21, in radiogram No. 254, it stated that German military authorities dissolved town council at Nikolaev, that there were strikes at Ekaterinoslav and strikers had been replaced by Austrians. On May 20 it stated Germans were defeated by peasant uprising in Chernigov government, that Skoropadski issued order to shoot leaders of rising, that fighting took place incident to disbanding of Polish detachment near Kiev and both sides suffered severe losses. Radiogram of May 17 mentions disturbances among German troops, German division supposed to have refused to go to French front and its action to have met with sympathy in other German units. Same radio states that Wesenberg German troops protesting against continuance of war arrested and killed some of their officers. All these communications are pure inventions having propaganda purpose. Our troops have right to be protected against such reproaches and the behavior of the Russian Government is all the more striking as nothing is known of similar conduct toward the Allied powers or with regard to the violation of international law through the presence of Allied troops on Arctic coast.

Chicherin has replied immediately to complaint respecting propaganda saying that radiograms in question contained either complaints to be communicated to German Government by Joffe or news summaries for his information. In latter names of Allies’ papers from which news taken not given. To be expected such reviews should be one-sided failing to reflect real comments of local press. Moreover radiogram of German Government has been seen containing unfounded reports of street fighting in Moscow and Petrograd. Provisions of Brest treaty as to propaganda being reciprocal Soviet government might complain of this but feels its position such that it can look with indifference on radiographic transmission of unfounded reports.