File No. 861.51/169

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


1543. Also for the Secretary of the Treasury:

Minister of Foreign Affairs just left Embassy. Says Kerensky returns midnight when meeting Council of Ministers be held. Kerensky, President and Minister of War; Nekrasov, Vice President without portfolio.1 Says troops being dispatched Finland to sever [subdue] obstreperous sailors in Baltic Fleet and affirms with emphasis that war be prosecuted with new vigor notwithstanding reverses on southwest front, Says new Minister of Finance, new Minister of Justice, be named to-morrow without awaiting meeting of All-Russian Council Workmen-Soldiers, called July 28. When asked if Ministry would consult Workmen-Soldiers before filling vacancies replied certainly not and expressed conviction that such council losing its influence. This confidence inspired by Kerensky’s attitude, which [is] determined and aggressive, as he [is] undoubtedly most potent influence in Russia now.

Says first $25,000,000 credit mentioned in my No. 1524, applied for to Root mission, but if so do not think latter recommended, as did not mention to me and said had given me copies of all cables to the Department. Minister for Foreign Affairs now desirous we should debit to Russia direct the American supplies contracting [Page 17] through England and J. P. Morgan and which Russia especially requested England should not be released from, as you will observe from my first cables on this subject. He also requests that contracts made by Russian commission in America when Bakhmeteff, present Ambassador, connected therewith, be assumed by us and debited direct to Russia. Total of two classes of such obligations about $250,000,000. Reminded him of previous position regarding English obligations which he admitted but said had changed opinion because England contends can get American credit only for supplies furnished to herself. Told him England assumed such obligations before we entered war and before knowing we would enter. Did not tell him would recommend our assuming such contracts under any circumstances but certainly would not do so unless we approved same after examining. I do recommend however that we immediately increase the $100,000,000 credit to $150,000,000 that Russia may have no excuse for not prosecuting war. Understood that some purchases are lying on Atlantic docks awaiting payments before shipment. How do you feel concerning assuming obligations of England for Russian purchases in America? Orderly quiet prevails Petrograd.