File No. 763.72/9422
The Ambassador in France (Sharp) to the Secretary of State
[Received April 5, 5.30 a.m.]
3523. Following joint telegram from Allied Ministers, dated Jassy, April 2:
According to a reliable source the Austro-German action in southern Russia is developing to an extent which is very threatening to the interests of the Allied powers. The Central powers are preparing arbitrarily to extend the limits of the Ukraine to all regions which they wish to exploit politically and economically. They include therein the valley of the Black Sea, a portion of Bessarabia, the Don, Crimea, Caucasus, thus marking out the road to Persia and India. Odessa would become a free town under Austro-German control.
Differences are arising between the Austrians and Germans concerning the policy to be followed in Russia. The Austrians, whose ambitions are less excessive, recommend a Ukraine endowed with a nominal independence and limits more or less national. They flatter themselves doubtless that they will easily assert their preponderance by concentrating their efforts there. The Germans on the other hand recommend a federal Russia under their aegis. They seem to be preparing to abandon for a greater objective the Ukrainian field which they are already compromising by developing it out of all proportion. Meanwhile they are employing, in the regions which they occupy, fugitive Russians of the Tsarist party who are moreover considered as Ukrainians. Except at Kherson, where a German detachment is said to have been massacred, the Austro-Germans are welcomed as deliverers in all towns. In the country districts where they seize all the food supplies they meet with some difficulties, as the peasants who are disbanded soldiers are massacring with their arms isolated parties. Nevertheless the Austro-Germans are continuing to obtain immense results with practically no effort, their troops being far from numerous and composed of elements of the most inferior order. The head of their revictualing service estimates at 20 per cent the immediate increase of the stock of food of the Central powers on account of the supplies from Russia. This increase will be unlimited as soon as the first crop in September is gathered. One can foresee that the [conduct?] of the Austro-Germans, more preoccupied in obtaining, by no matter what means, an immediate revictualing rather than renewing friendly relations with a view to the future, will soon cause a reaction of a nature to facilitate the intervention of the Allied powers. The latter should be prepared so as to produce these results before the Austro-Germans are able to gather next harvest.