File No. 861.00/1999

The Minister in Sweden ( Morris ) to the Secretary of State


2262. I have obtained the following information from … [an American] whom I have known before and who is a Russian by [Page 559] birth but has lived many years in America. He has just returned from Petrograd by boat, having left there Thursday. He states there exists complete quiet in Petrograd and Moscow, there is no looting or killing and there have been no marked disturbances for the last two months. He states, however, there have been considerable disturbances in the villages by the Bolsheviks sending workingmen’s detachments into the villages demanding bread which the villagers up to now have refused to give unless they obtain something tangible in exchange as they are unwilling to accept money.

My informant states that while the transportation is still in a very bad condition, yet he noticed some slight improvement in regard to the movement of passenger traffic. Freight traffic continues to be impossible. The food condition in Petrograd and Moscow and particularly in Petrograd continues to be most grave and serious. The people are living on rations which do not meet the requirements of normal subsistence.

My informant states that he notices an increasing lack of confidence among the Bolsheviks themselves in their power to remain in authority. He states the workingmen are leaving the Bolshevik Party in great numbers and that the desertion of the workingmen so far as the Bolsheviks are concerned is increasing daily. The working-men in the factories in Petrograd have formed an association whereby to cope with the present situation and to demand that the Bolshevik government be replaced by a coalition government of all socialist parties. However these resolutions of the association have resulted in no practical changes as yet although they declare that if they do not succeed, they will call a general strike.

My informant states that Lenin in a recent speech before the Central Executive Committee of National Soviets said:

Our power is not of iron; on the contrary it is one of jelly. We are now facing the most crucial period of the Soviet power. The next three months will constitute that period and therefore I call for strict discipline for attempts to improve our organization and increase productivity in the factories.