File No. 763.72114/3027

The Ambassador in Great Britain ( Page) to the Secretary of State


7648. Your 5677, October 29, noon,1 and 5686, October 29, 8 p.m.2 I am sending you by the pouch which closes today a copy of a long memorandum with enclosures giving British Government’s views on the reported intention to exchange fit prisoners of war between Russia and the Central Powers.

The essential portion of the conclusions is as follows:

The British Government have made repeated representations at Petrograd in their anxiety to forestall a measure which would have the most serious and most detrimental effect upon the Allied cause, and have received explicit denials of such an intention.

The political situation in Russia renders further representations by the British Government difficult at present in view of the denials of the Russian Government, but in order to save abuses which might prejudice the whole course of the war the British Government hopes you may find yourself able to continue independent pressure at Petrograd. Mr. Balfour thinks that Washington occupies particularly good position for so doing because of the pending proposal that the United States should undertake the feeding of 250,000 invalid Russian prisoners in German hands, but he adds that in the opinion of the British Government great caution should be exercised even in this proposal now being considered.

  1. No. 5677 ante, p. 635.
  2. See footnote 4, ante, p. 635.