File No. 861.00/2577

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

No. 1117

Sir: I have the honor to report that I gave a Fourth of July reception to-day which was attended by the members of the Diplomatic Corps in Vologda and all of the attaches of the Allied missions, and by a few Russians, the number of those present totaling, I presume, nearly or quite one hundred.

The feeling in Vologda is very friendly towards the Embassy as it is realized that we have added much to the reputation of the city. The mayor, Mr. Alexandrov, … who was elected by direct vote of the people before the October revolution,1 and the adjoint mayor. Mr. Zubov, a Cadet, were present notwithstanding they were removed from office last week by a representative of the central Soviet government at Moscow named Kedrov who has, after arresting and sending to Moscow the city duma of Archangel, stopped at Vologda on [Page 569] his return trip and placed the local Soviet in the full control of municipal affairs.

The Soviet government at Moscow has had a representative here in the person of one Mr. Vosnesenski, who occupies the position of head of the Far East Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Vosnesenski is a shrewd Jew and is not lacking in self-complacency or audacity. He was sent to Vologda to ascertain whether the Allies had concluded in principle to intervene but got no satisfaction from me and I do not think he received any definite information from any of my colleagues.

There are many rumors current concerning the advance of the Allied troops or Allied detachments which we are hourly endeavoring to confirm. Authentic reports are to the effect that the landing of Allied forces will be resisted at Archangel; they are in possession at Murmansk however and the local Soviet there is friendly to the Allies because it has seen finally what has been evident to Allied representatives for some time and that is that the central Soviet government is absolutely under the domination of Germany.

I have the honor to enclose herewith copies in English and in Russian of a statement made by me to the Russian people to-day; this has been published this morning in the local Vologda Listok and I have ordered 50,000 copies of the Russian text for distribution purposes. …

I have [etc.]

David R. Francis

Statement of the American Ambassador in Russia ( Francis) to the Russian People, July 4, 1918

On this July 4, the natal day of the American Republic, I feel constrained to say a few words of encouragement to the Russian people for whom my country cherishes deep sympathy. One hundred and forty-two years ago to-day the thirteen American Colonies proclaimed their independence; they had a population of about three million souls occupying a narrow strip along the Atlantic seacoast. After a struggle of seven years their independence was acknowledged; then followed a critical period of internal dissension which ended in the adoption of a Constitution and the formation of the Government which exists to-day. Americans throughout the world celebrate this day in commemoration of the achievements of our ancestors, to express our pride in our institutions, to renew our pledges of fealty to the principles on which our Government is based and to inspire our descendants with love of country and with appreciation of the liberty they enjoy.

France assisted us to gain our independence and we have always felt sincerely grateful therefor; I am pleased to note that the French Chamber of Deputies has decided to observe the day in testimony of “indissoluble and fraternal friendship.”

The Father of our Country warned us against entangling foreign alliances and we observed that injunction for a hundred and forty years or as long as our self-respect, our sense of duty and our obligation to humanity permitted. [Page 570] We were much farther removed from Europe when our independence was achieved than we are to-day. The application of steam as a motive power had not then been discovered, there were no ocean steamers, no steam railroads; there were no telegraph lines, no telephones, no machine guns, no aeroplanes, no submarines.

Within that period our population has grown by rapid strides until it now numbers considerably over one hundred million and many millions of the increase have come from European lands.

We are now engaged in the greatest war of history—a world war in fact—and so earnestly have we taken part that the spirit of our people is aroused as never before. We have not the slightest doubt as to the outcome. Russia is interested in this war as no other country is interested because she will lose most in the event of the victory of the Central Empires. My country and all of the Allies consider the Russian people still in the struggle. We do not observe the Brest Litovsk peace. Surely no Russian who loves his country and looked with pride upon her greatness is going to tamely submit to her dismemberment and humiliation.

President Wilson has said feelingly and impressively on several occasions that he has no intention of deserting Russia, in fact that he is resolved not to do so. That means that we will never stand idly by and see the Germans exploit the Russian people and appropriate to Germany’s selfish ends the immense resources of Russia. We take this stand not because we ourselves seek territorial aggrandizement; not because we have commercial ambitions in connection with Russia; nor because we wish to dictate to the Russian people or interfere in the internal affairs of Russia. We assume this position because we wish the Russian people to have the right to dispose of themselves and not be compelled to submit to the tyrannical rule of Germany, even though such a disposition might result in a temporary peace. It is moreover my opinion that all of the Allies agree with America on this subject.

Therefore on this day which is celebrated in every city, in every village, and in every hamlet in America, I appeal to the Russian people to take courage, to organize to resist the encroachments of Germany. The Allies are your friends and are willing and able to assist you notwithstanding your superb army has been demobilized. The United States which had an army of about two hundred thousand when we entered the war less than fifteen months ago, has already sent to France nine hundred thousand well-armed, disciplined men and is making rapid progress toward raising an army of five million. The strength of the American Navy and of American shipping has been increased many fold and is continuing to grow at a wonderful rate which exceeds all calculations and expectations. There is not a craft on the broad seas that dares float the German flag or the colors of one of the Central Empires.

On May 29 last my Government authorized its representatives throughout the world to express its sympathy with the nationalistic aspirations of the Czecho-Slovaks and Jugoslavs and within three days past I have received instructions to announce that the position of the United States Government is “that all branches of the Slav race should be completely freed from German and Austrian rule.”

What an inspiration this should be to Russians!

I can not close this expression to the Russian people more impressively than by quoting from a stirring address made by an association of workmen to their fellow workmen, in which they say:

The power of German militarism—the ruthless enemy of the worker of all lands—has been strengthened in our name. Alliance with it will make us slaves and kill our last hope for the independence of Russia.

[Page 571]

We will never recognize this (Brest Litovsk) peace and this alliance with Germany. We must struggle for the independence of our country. We can not manage it alone. In its interest we must make a military alliance with the Allies. … We appeal to you to struggle for … the discontinuance of civil war, for the reestablishment of all liberties, for the armament of the whole nation, for tearing up the Brest treaty and against an alliance with Germany.

  1. November revolution, if the new-style calendar is used.