File No. 861.00/2367

The Consul at Moscow ( Poole ) to the Secretary of State 1


710. It is understood that the negotiations for [at] Kiev between Milyukov 2 and the German military party (see my No. 7073) are directed towards the establishment of a constitutional monarchy at Moscow or Petrograd to embrace the Ukraine as well as Great Russia. Whatever the precise project finally adopted, success will mean, in addition to the drafts already being made among Russian peasants for labor in Germany, the recruiting of Russian military units under German leadership. A subsequent Allied intervention would involve conflicts with Russian troops on Russian soil; and it is even probable that Russian man power might in time be applied directly on the western front. At the same time so bold a project as that discussed at Kiev will expose Germany to defeat in Russia, if only the [Page 575] Allies can promptly take advantage of the opportunity which the situation will offer them.

While the Cadet leaders in Moscow profess to repudiate Milyukov’s action, it must be recognized that, if the Germans appear as the champions of a reunited Russia under a reasonable form of monarchy and vigorously put their project into execution, they will find wide support among the intelligent nationalist elements. During an interview with Smith 1 last night, General Brusilov said that Alexeev had already acceded to Milyukov’s solicitations to join the German party and that he himself as a patriotic Russian, desiring the rehabilitation of the Russian state, would be forced into the same course in the absence immediate Allied intervention in force.

The success of the Germans will depend not so much on their adroitness in utilizing the political opportunism of the educated classes as their ability to satisfy the populace. The supplantsmen [workmen] having command, who are much less numerous but more aggressive, are moved primarily by the food question. The peasantry are most nearly touched by the distribution of the land. It is possible that the experience of the Germans in the U[kraine] will induce a more vigil [liberal] treatment of the land problem, and the peasants are so disgusted with the disorders of the past year that some tact and moderation may produce temporary calm, even if a fundamental solution is not reached immediately.

  1. Sent via the Legation in Sweden; garbled versions already received via the Embassy in France, by wireless, July 16 and 21; another came Aug. 12, via the Consulate at Petrograd and the Legation in Norway (File Nos. 861.00/2277, 2316, 2474).
  2. From March to May 1017 Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
  3. Post, p. 619.
  4. Presumably F. Willoughby Smith, Consul at Tiflis, at that time in Moscow.