File No. 861.00/287

The Russian Ambassador ( Bakméteff ) to the Secretary of State

Mr. Secretary of State: I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of a communication which I have just received from the Minister of Foreign Affairs at Petrograd.

I take this occasion to renew [etc.]

G. Bakhméteff
[Enclosure—Translation]

The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs ( Milyukov ) to the Ambassador at Washington ( Bakhméteff )

The news sent forth by the telegraphic agency of Petrograd has already apprised you of the late events and fall of the former political régime in Russia which lamentably collapsed before the popular indignation aroused by its shiftlessness, abuses and criminal improvidence. The unanimity of resentment created among all the sound elements of the nation by the order of things now removed perceptibly lightened and shortened the crisis. All these elements having with admirable enthusiasm rallied under the flag of the revolution and the army having given it speedy and effective support, the national [Page 5] movement in not more than eight days has gained a decisive victory. This quick achievement happily made it possible to reduce the number of victims to proportions unknown to the annals of so far-reaching and momentous upheavals. By an act dated in Pskov March 2/15, 1917, Emperor Nicholas II renounced the throne for himself and the heir, Grand Duke Alexis Nicholaevich, in favor of Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich. Upon being notified of that act, Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich by an act dated in Petrograd March 3/16, 1917, in turn declined to assume the supreme power until a constituent assembly created on the basis of universal suffrage shall have established the form of government and the new fundamental law of Russia. By the same act the Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich bade the Russian citizens, pending the final manifestation of the will of the Nation, to bow to the authority of the Provisional Government constituted on the initiative of the Duma of the state and wielding full power. The composition of the Provisional Government and its political program have been published and forwarded to foreign lands. That Government which assumes power during the gravest foreign and domestic crisis experienced by Russia in her history is fully conscious of the immense responsibility that rests upon it. It will give its very first attention to remedying the grievous shortcomings it inherited from the past, to insuring order and tranquillity in the country, to preparing in fine the requisite conditions for a free expression of the sovereign will of the Nation as to its future fate. In the field of foreign policies, the Cabinet in which I have taken the portfolio of Minister for Foreign Affairs will continue to respect the international undertakings made by the fallen régime and will redeem Russia’s word. We shall carefully cultivate the relations which bind us to the other friendly and Allied nations and we are confident that these relations will grow more intimate and stronger under the new regimé established in Russia, which has determined to be guided by the democratic principles of respect due to peoples, whether small or great, the freedom of their development and the good understanding among nations.

Milyukov