File No. 861.00/2915

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


456. Delegation of commercial interests conferred with Ambassadors my apartment, evening 5th, stating had visited President [Page 554] by request and were prepared to submit representatives of such interests for portfolios but did not do so because the President refused compliance with the conditions they sought to impose. I listened respectfully, although previously advised and familiar with occurrence, then emphatically, perhaps impatiently, gave them my views prefacing remarks with the statement that I had not conferred with my colleagues who were present and could speak for themselves.

After remarking that I belonged to commercial class in America, noting that the delegation represented [it] here, and admitting that at home I was called bourgeois, stated that I had for one year waited and endured inconveniences, indignities, and risks in expectation of Russian bourgeoisie or intelligentsia doing something to save Russia from the Bolsheviki and Germans, and this sovereign government was the first organized opposition to such enemies of Russia that I had been able to get in touch with; that this government had redeemed Archangel and northern Russia from Bolsheviks, had invited the Allied forces to enter Russia, had renounced the Brest Litovsk peace and were attempting to organize resistance to the Central Empires; that under such circumstances my opinion was that every patriotic Russian should not only be prompt to render aid when requested, but should proffer his services and means; that all party differences should be buried temporarily and all should unite for the regeneration of Russia. I called attention to the conciliatory spirit of this government as evidenced by general amnesty extended to all engaged in the criminal kidnaping of the Ministers.

My colleagues in turn concurred in my appeal, thereupon a member of the delegation, previously quiet, said that if our friends, the Allies, feel this way, I think we should comply with their wishes and his associates reluctantly assented. A meeting of the Commercial Industrial Union held yesterday unanimously approved advice and sent to the government three names, one or two of which will be given portfolios. The union advised me immediately and I promptly transmitted their action to the Department.

Later, since the above was dictated, the President phoned saying that two of the three men submitted by the commercial interests, Mefodiev and Gorodetski, will be given portfolios.1

  1. See footnote 1, p. 552.