File No. 861.00/1458

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


73. Answering your 42, April 2, 7 p.m. Soviet government has not specifically defined uses for railway men, which was my reason [Page 228] for asking that they be sent here for conference with myself and experienced Russian railroad official; Soviet government requested they be sent Moscow. Transportation conditions deplorable and require improvement, which we can best render having demonstrated our ability therefor by bettering Soviet government service. If Germans advance, which extremely probable, improved transportation required to protect Allied interests by evacuation supplies from threatened sections. Yesterday’s conference of Allied Ambassadors and Military Attachés much pleased when informed railway men en route. I have thought of asking your approval to place American Railway Commission in charge of Soviet government and protect commission in operation thereof. Furthermore, in event of Allied intervention from east or west or both, railroad efficiency is essential. Has Department countermanded railway men’s coming?

Referring my 29 [49], March 30 [31], 6 p.m.,1 Soviet government when asked explanation of supplies being hurriedly shipped from Archangel against British protest and how Soviet government reconciled such action to repudiation of loans, replied munitions from Archangel are sent Moscow, the Urals and Siberian towns, and Soviet government expects to pay therefor in raw materials, but asks for time to organize economic resources of Russia and states that Soviet government is evacuating all war material from [Petrograd?] into interior and asks “Who can seriously think that government whose best soldiers have fought against German control in Ukraine and Finland can now be planning to furnish Germany with power to enslave their own land?” Do not understand that I accept absolutely such assurances as does Robins, to whom they were made, but at the same time Soviet government interests clearly demand German resistance, as German domination spells overthrow of Bolshevism in Russia. I appreciate fully mistakes of Soviet government and outrages practiced as reported by Summers and consuls, but think best plan is to ignore same for the present in order to induce Soviet government to ask Allied assistance, so that when Allies enter Russia, will not meet with Soviet government’s refusal, but Soviet government’s welcome. To this end I recommend sending railway men to Vologda.