File No. 861.00/2537

The British Embassy to the Department of State

[The following paraphrase of a telegram was left by the Chargé at the Department of State on August 19, 1918:]

H. M. S. “Suffolk” to the British Embassy

The proposal with regard to the question of martial law which was again raised on the morning of August 10 was defeated owing to the opposition on the part of the American Admiral. All the other naval and military representatives were in favour of instituting it.

It was finally agreed to form a committee to draw up for further consideration a statement of the limitations imposed on the Russian authorities should [Page 351] they declare martial law, it being understood that if this were done at all it could only be done if the Allies approved of and supported it. The Russians are most anxious for a declaration of martial law.

The immediate establishment of martial law is an urgent necessity, as enemy propaganda is rife and enemy agents are doing their best to obtain information of a military nature from our men by the free offer of liquor and to instil the doctrine of violence against authority and of insubordination. We have no machinery at present with which to deal with these persons.