File No. 861.00/3948

The British Chargé (Barclay) to the Secretary of State

No. 1053


The British Chargé d’Affaires has the honour to refer to his memorandum No. 980 of September 5 with regard to the proposals made by the British Government for providing a suitable currency medium for Archangel and Murmansk.

A further telegram has now been received from the British authorities stating that they consider that it will eventually be essential to take urgent steps for the financing of Murmansk and Archangel. They would propose, therefore, unless the United States authorities have any objection to the scheme already proposed, to put this plan into operation at the beginning of October. It may be mentioned that the proposal in question does not involve any Allied guarantee and that it will be possible for the British Government to proceed without the active participation of the United States and without committing the United States to anything at all.

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His Majesty’s Government understand that the suggestion has been made that if the United States takes part in the scheme, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York should hold further editions of any new rouble notes purchased from office conversion by the United States for their own needs. This plan would be quite acceptable to the British authorities.

It may be further pointed out that the guarantee proposals under consideration assume a concurrent policy of setting up a responsible civil Russian government in northern Russia. They have also been carefully designed in order to be perfectly free from any idea of economic penetration or from any political complications, and other proposed alternatives have appeared open to objection on these grounds. The present plan has been put forward without any ulterior political motive of any kind and is simply an honest attempt to supply northern Russia with some kind of stable medium of exchange.

As the question of providing a currency medium in northern Russia is now becoming somewhat urgent, the British Chargé d’Affaires would be grateful if he could be furnished with the views of the United States Government on the proposed scheme as soon as may be possible.

As the Department has already been verbally informed, the British Embassy are advised that, if the United States authorities considered it desirable themselves to take the initiative in making financial arrangements for Siberia, such a proposal would be most acceptable to the British Government, since the remoteness of the Siberian theatre of operations from Great Britain appears to make it undesirable that the British Government should themselves accept direct responsibility for currency required there.