File No. 861.00/2638

The Ambassador in Russia (Francis) to the Secretary of State


379. Situation complicated, requires adroit handling, comparatively few bourgeois here or in northern provinces where Provisional Government officials continued to function months after Bolshevik revolution, and would have remained in undisturbed possession if Bolshevik rule had not become inconsiderate and cruel throughout Russia. Central Soviet sent Commissaire Kedrov here who arrested non-Bolshevik members City Duma, taking them Moscow and committed many outrages, thus embittering the people, majority of whom had accepted anti-bourgeois instincts. Meantime many secret organizations had been formed throughout Russia, but most or all suppressed by Soviet killing leaders without trial or by German bribing or by personal jealousies. The French were prompt to encourage and financially assist every anti-Bolshevik movement. French Ambassador went from Vologda to Moscow in June telling me object of his visit was to confer with French officials and nationals there; have since learned that he proposed to a nonpolitical organization called the Center that triumvirate should be named to administer affairs after Bolshevik deposed, and demanded as two members thereof Savinkov and Chernov, the promoters to select the third, which proposition killed that movement about middle June as leaders [Page 518] said were distrustful of Savinkov whom considered murderer, and that Chernov reformed Bolshevik, unworthy of trust. They did not tell French Ambassador this, but so expressed themselves to my informant.

About July 10 when Chicherin and Radek trying to move Allied missions to Moscow, British captain visited me Vologda and stated Archangel ripe for revolution. My No. 355 [350] narrated movements from Vologda and causes thereof until landed Archangel, see instruction [telegram 355?] of August 9.1 Found new government here but realize same would not have succeeded if Allied forces had not landed, neither would it survive if Allied troops taken away. Have had frequent conferences with new government which is profuse in complaints against military, claiming that orders issued by latter belittle the new government and impair its influence.

New Ministry talks irrationally about Russian laws demanding that French Colonel appointed military governor of Archangel city by Poole be removed, and that order issued by him with Poole’s approval be rescinded. An order which was meant for protection of new government requires militia to arrest anyone accused by a citizen of Bolshevik propaganda and take accused and accuser to authorities. I told President when he came to my apartment about midnight complaining of order that there was nothing objectionable therein; in fact such is law in America. The President is theorist, if not dreamer.

British who are colonizers by instinct and practice, and in control Archangel port since war began are disposed to treat the government contemptuously, but I remonstrate, arguing that must avoid repetition of German experience in Ukraine.

Furthermore, overthrow of this government would prolong civil dissension, strengthen Soviet government and Bolsheviks generally, and would injure Allied cause. This government repudiates Brest treaty and is mobilizing army to fight Germany, consequently is our ally and should be protected and encouraged. Do not understand that I recommend recognition now, but if, as government claims is contemplated, union with similar movement in Siberia is effected, then we could recognize. If, however, people believe that we come as conquerors they will recklessly resist.

Three American battalions expected here to-morrow and their landing will not only strengthen my position, but go a long way toward reconciling Russians. I do not know what instructions these troops have, but if General Poole asks my approval I shall not object to his sending them to the interior in accordance with objects set forth in the Department’s declaration of August 3.

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Have been reading American papers on Allied intervention in Russia and see that sentiment is divided; I realize enormous responsibility of the President and the Department and I am aware of conflicting appeals and influences to which you are subjected; and I highly appreciate confidence manifested in my efforts cable communication in reply as you have been advised [sic]. Observe President considering sending commission to Siberia but hope if sent will be instructed to confer with me before adopting policy. Imperative send [provisions?] here or Murman. I would appreciate it if experienced men should accompany same for distribution under my direction or with my approval.

No reply to my telegram No. 364, August 13, 8 p.m.,1 recommending authority to join British and French in guaranteeing 15,000,000 ruble loan of new government, guaranty secured by merchandise.

[Information] anxiously awaited concerning vessel with 4,000 tons supplies mentioned in your unnumbered telegram July 30.2