File No. 861.00/1982

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

[Telegram]

8. The following explaining my return Petrograd:

Yes, I have returned to Petrograd, and am occupying the American Embassy for a few days. The American flag is displayed in front of the Embassy and will remain there after I return to Vologda. When I left Petrograd February 26, Russia was supposed [Page 557] to be in a state war with Germany. The peace commissioners at Brest Litovsk had wired for a special train and the Germans were continuing to advance upon Petrograd. I went Vologda never intending leave Russia but remain in Vologda as long as it was safe from capture from [by] Germans. When the peace treaty was signed I was Vologda not believing such a humiliating treaty would be ratified by the All-Russian Soviet, Moscow. When that body ratified the peace, I issued statement that my Government did not recognize treaty, but considered itself still ally of Russian people. Later I was joined Vologda by the French and Italian Embassies, and by Legations Belgium and Serbia, both missions having returned Russia from Finland. I was accompanied Vologda by Siamese and Brazilian Legations. There are now Vologda also representatives of Japan and China.

Do you see any change in Petrograd?

Yes, a most lamentable change. Appearance of streets now is depressing; one meets few people and those have careworn look, food is unobtainable except at figures beyond the reach of people of ordinary means, infant mortality is enormous, and there prevails feeling of general depression. This the more remarkable and reprehensible because Russia a land of plenty.

How do you account for such conditions?

Primary cause is separate peace with Central Empires, which was followed by demobilization of army and interruption of railway transportation. Occupation of large sections of Russian territory by enemy troops, separation of Ukrainia and Finland, and general industrial demoralization soon followed, attended by closing and nationalization of banks, which paralyzed all business. If Russia had continued perform her part in war the horrible struggle would have been ended by this time or certainly before close of campaign of 1918.

What is remedy for present deplorable conditions?

Reerection of Russia and salvation of Russians are in hands of the people themselves. America has sent no troops Russia thus far, but my Government has expressed its interest in the Russian people, and in welfare of the country on every occasion, and many times. American Embassy has never quit Russia nor does it intend do so. Government of United States has Consulate General Moscow and one also at Irkutsk. It has Consulate Petrograd, Vladivostok, Archangel, a representative Murmansk, Consulate at Omsk, Tomsk, Ekaterinburg, Chita, Samara, Tiflis, Helsingfors, and had Consulate Kiev until that city was occupied by Germans, and at all these important points representatives of my Government, while looking after interests of American citizens, are willing extend aid to the extent of their ability against common enemy Germany, whose agents are selfishly attempting to exploit Russia and planning to make this great country German province.

Return meets general commendation, but think unadvisable to abandon Vologda embassy, because Allied missions joined me there. Furthermore Germans may invest Petrograd any day, as they have recently sent two new divisions to Revel also two to Dvinsk and reinforcements to Finland.

Francis