File No. 763.72/5393
The Ambassador on Special Mission to Russia ( Root) to the Secretary of State
[Received June 20, 2.30 a.m.]
9. Reply delivered in English of Minister of Foreign Affairs Tereshchenko to Ambassador Boot’s address to the President and [Page 123] Council of Ministers Friday evening, June 15, 10 p.m., in the Mariinski Palace. There were present the members of the Provisional Government, the Ambassador and staff of the American Embassy, and the members of the Special Diplomatic Mission with their aides and secretaries.
It is a great honor for me to have the pleasure of receiving this High Commission which is sent by the American people and their President to freed Russia and to express the feelings of deep sympathy which the Provisional Government, representing the people of Russia, have towards your country.
The event of the great revolution which we have achieved makes allies of the oldest and the newest republics in the world. Our revolution was based on the same wonderful words which first were expressed in that memorable document in which the American people in 1776 declared their independence. Just as the American people then declared, “We hold these truths to be self-evident [that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed … But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government] and to provide new guards for their future security.” So the Russian people, which for centuries have been enslaved by a Government which was not that which the feeling of the nation wishes or wanted, have so declared and shaken off the fetters which bound them; and as the wind blows away the leaves in autumn so the Government which has bound us for centuries has fallen and nothing is left but the free Government of the people.
So the Russian people now stand before the world conscious [of] their strength and astonished at the ease with which that revolution happened, and the first days of our freedom indeed brought surprise to us as well as to the rest of the world, but the day which brought the revolution was not only a day which brought freedom, for it brought us face to face with two enormous problems which now stand before the Russian people, and these problems are the creation of a strong democratic force in the interior of Russia and a fight with the common foe without, with that foe which is fighting you as well as us and which is now the last form and last strength of autocracy, and it was with a feeling of gladness that we found you on the side of the Allies and that after our revolution there was no autocracy among those with whom we found ourselves fighting. We found with joy that in the high, lofty motives which have impelled your great Republic to enter this conflict there is no strain of autocracy or spirit of conquest, and our free people shall be guided by those same high, lofty motives and principles.
And now let us stand together for we pursue the same endeavor in the war and in the peace which is to follow. We representatives of the Russian nation who have been placed at its head to lead the Russian nation through its hardships on its way to freedom, following these principles which have always brought a nation from complete [Page 124] slavery into complete freedom, are confident we shall find the way which will lead us side by side, not only the Russian peoples but its allies, along that way which will bring us to future happiness.
The revolution of Russia was not only a change in the interior situation of [our] Government, it is a moral factor which shows the will of the Russian people in its endeavor to secure liberty and justice, and these elements the Russian people show and wish to show, not only in their internal affairs which we ourselves have to lead and in which we wish to be guided by these principles, but also in our international relations and in our international policy.
This war, which was brought upon us three years ago and which the Russian revolution found when it entered the struggle of free nations, left but one door for us to enter, and by that door we have entered and we shall continue in the path. These Russian people strive to [for] the end of militarism and to [for] a durable peace which would exclude every violence from whatever side it may come and all imperialistic schemes whatever their form may be. The Russian people have no wish of conquest or domination and are opposed to those ideas in others and first of all they will not allow any of those imperialistic desires which our enemy has formed, manifest or hidden, to come to good in whatever sphere he may have planned them, political, financial or economic. This constitutes the firm will or what Russia has to guard herself against.
There is also a second great thought which was expressed by that memorable document by which the nation of the United States and its people at the day of their independence declared their desires and wishes and which says that nations should have a right to show themselves the way they wished to go and to decide for their future, and this high principle the Russian people have accepted and consider that it must guide their politics, and they consider also that all nations, however small or great, have the right to decide what their future will be and that no territory and no people can be transferred from one country to another without their consent like things. Human beings have the right to say for themselves what they shall do and whose subjects they shall become.
I am happy to see you and happy to say that there is no idea or factor of a moral or material kind to divide us or to prevent us from being hand in hand across the Pacific. These two great people, the free people of Russia and the free people of America, the great people of the United States who, as the oldest, strongest and purest democracy, hand in hand will show the way that human happiness will take in the future.
Allow me, therefore, to greet you, to welcome you in the name of my colleagues and of our Government which represents our people and to say how happy we are to see you here.