File No. 763.72/5382
The Ambassador in Russia ( Francis ) to the Secretary of State
[Received June 19, 2.20 p.m.]
1400. Following are my remarks introducing Diplomatic Commission to Council of Ministers this evening:
Mr. President and members of the Council of Ministers, Excellencies: I salute you on the rounding out of three months of arduous duties devoted to the welfare of your country. Just ninety days ago to-day on March 2/15 the Council of Ministers was named. The intervening ninety days are red-letter days not only in the history of Russia but also in the struggle for freedom throughout the world. Your responsibility has been tremendous, your labors have been overwhelming, your trials applying [appalling] but you have nobly risen to all requirements and merit the gratitude and affection of your countrymen. No correct history can be written on the struggle for freedom in Russia which will not devote a volume at least to the first ninety days of the revolution of 1917, and that volume will bear worthy tribute to your ability, your self-sacrifice, your courage, and your patriotism.[Page 117]
This is the second time I have had the distinction of appearing before your honorable body. The first was less than one week after your organization when as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States I formally and authoritatively recognized the new Government of freed Russia. To-day I come in the same official capacity to present to you a High Commission appointed by the President of the United States and consisting of seven civilians, the Chief of Staff of the United States Army, and an Admiral of the United States Navy. This commission has journeyed twenty thousand miles, or three quarters of the circumference of the earth, to extend to Russia the greetings of one hundred million freemen, to express their good will and to ask how they can most effectively cooperate against a common enemy to the end that the liberty which they have enjoyed for a century and a half and the freedom into which liberated Russia has come may be secured for living generations and for generations to come.
This commission is composed of patriotic unselfish Americans who represent every party organization in the United States and every phase of political belief. There are no classes in our country. There are no rulers there: no sovereign but the will of the people. There is constituted authority but those chosen to administer it are trustees of the sovereign will, and wield no power other than in accordance with that will. These honorable commissioners are familiar with our governmental fabric; they know the sentiment of America and reflect the spirit of her people. The foundation stone of our institutions is government by consent of the governed, the superstructure is universal education, the crowning arch equality of opportunity. The sentiment of our people is love of liberty and sincere sympathy with the oppressed; the spirit of to-day is one of service. The whole country has been electrified by the burning words of President Wilson and all of the people are enthusiastically responding to his appeal to “act, think and speak together.”
Moved by such sentiments and thoroughly imbued with the spirit of service these Americans have cheerfully responded to the call of President Wilson and are here to perform an important duty. I feel it a great honor to present this Special Diplomatic Commission of the United States to the Provisional Government of Russia.
Permit me to introduce to the Council of Ministers the distinguished chairman of the High Commission, Honorable Elihu Root, former Secretary of War, former Secretary of State, former Senator of the United States, always a true American.
President of Council of Ministers, Minister Foreign Affairs and Chairman Root lunched with me to-day, conference quite satisfactory. Mott and Crane dined with me yesterday. Minister Finance, Bertron and McCormick lunch with me to-morrow. Minister War, Scott and Glennon lunch with me Sunday, Duncan and Russell Monday to meet socialistic members of Ministry. Have adopted this plan being most effective. Furthermore no official life here. Socialistic papers still criticizing President’s message.