File No. 861.00/2774

The Chargé in Sweden ( Whitehouse) to the Secretary of State

No. 1359

Sir: With reference to my telegram No. 2779 of September 5, 1918,1 I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy and translation of the note sent by the neutral Ministers, in charge of Allied interests in Russia, to Chicherin, the Commissioner of Foreign Affairs, on August 26 last.

I have [etc.]

Sheldon Whitehouse
[Page 664]

The Netherlands Minister, in charge of British, Japanese, and Belgian interests; the Danish Minister, in charge of French interests: the Swiss Minister, in charge of Italian interests; and the Norwegian Charge, in charge of American interests, to the Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs

The undersigned chiefs of missions of the neutral countries in Russia, in charge of the interests of the nationals of the Allied powers, referring to:

The declaration signed by the Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Chicherin, dated August 9;
The declaration of the French Minister at Stockholm, addressed to the French Consul General at Moscow and announcing that the English and French Governments granted the conditions imposed by Commissioner Chicherin for the repatriation of French subjects and, in general, all Allied military and civilian nationals to leave Russia at the same time as the official representatives;
The telegram of August 18 from Mr. Chicherin to Mr. Oudendijk, the Dutch Minister, relative to the conditions imposed on the British Government;
The despatch of August 23, addressed to Mr. Chicherin by the Dutch Minister, declaring that the English Government accepted the only condition mentioned in the declaration of August 9 relative to Comrade Litvinov;

Express the surprise that they have felt on learning that the Commissioner of the People for Foreign Affairs had, by a note of August 24 addressed to the Swedish Consul General at Moscow (and to the Dutch Minister), formulated new demands to which he declared he would subordinate the authorization of the government of the Federated Russian Republic of Soviets for the free departure of the military and consular missions and their personnel.

These new conditions may be summarized as follows:

The government of the Russian Republic demands to be allowed to communicate with the Comrade Litvinov and to receive from him information regarding his situation.
It asks for a complete list of the Russian citizens with an official character, including Comrade Baitler.
It will await the notice of the arrival of Comrade Litvinov and his colleagues at Bergen before authorizing the departure from Russia of the French and English diplomats as well as of the personnel of the consulates, whose entry into neutral territory should coincide with the liberation from English domination of Comrade Litvinov and his colleagues.
As regards the French mission, Comrade Chicherin asks that his Red Cross delegates be permitted to go to France to elaborate a plan of evacuation of the Russian soldiers in France, a plan the putting into force of which should precede the beginning of the evacuation from Russia of the members of the French mission.
The Commissioner for Foreign Affairs declares, finally, that as the liberation of the interned French and English must coincide with the cessation of repressive measures against the adherents of the Soviet authorities in the Allied countries and on the territories occupied by the Czecho-Slovaks and the English and Allied troops, it is indispensable to delegate immediately in the occupied regions some representatives of the International and Russian Red Cross to cooperate in the settlement of this question.

The representatives of the neutral countries point out that these new demands will still necessitate long pourparlers, made more difficult by the absence of direct telegraphic communications, and that the satisfaction to be given them would be the subject of serious negotiations, to such a degree that a very long lime must elapse before the liberation of the military missions, consulates and [Page 665] nationals of the Allied countries. Further, there do not exist official representatives of the International Red Cross other than the members of the International Committee of the Red Cross at Geneva.

These demands, placed on a ground when the questions of sovereignty of the Allied nations are engaged, can not, in the opinion of the undersigned diplomatic representatives, be accepted as they are by the interested powers.

On the other hand, the free circulation of the diplomatic and consular representatives guaranteed by all the laws and rules of international law, consecrated further by the constant practice of civilized peoples, must be respected by the Soviet government without being subordinated to reserves relative to certain points of application.

In view of these considerations the undersigned diplomatic representatives formulate an energetic protest against the new demands of the government of the Soviets as well as against the delay brought to the solution of the question of repatriation. They make, in the name of the Governments whose interests they represent, the most express reserves. They will hold the authors of this denial of justice personally responsible and will demand, at the proper time and place, reparation for the injury suffered by the persons whose interests have been confided to them.

[File copy not signed]
  1. Not printed.