763.72119/2886: Telegram

The Chargé in Denmark ( Grant-Smith ) to the Acting Secretary of State

3247. Department’s 1221.6 In re query 1, Legation received the following information from reliable Russian source. It is confirmed by Danish, German and Finnish press reports.

Finland: Finnish Government, which was headed by the pronounced pro-German Svinhuvud, was anti-Russian in character and excluded all Socialists from participation in government, has now been replaced by government containing equal numbers Monarchists and Republicans, and headed by General Mannerheim, formerly Russian general, who cooperated with Germans in freeing Finland from Bolshevists. He later resigned, supposedly because of disagreements with Germans. It is announced that the constitutional questions, probably including the state form for Finland, have been postponed until the election of a new popular assembly, at which time a recrudescence of Socialist influence may be expected. There are already such signs. Many of the extreme Finnish socialists have fled to Russia and are probably at the bottom of the armed Bolshevik attacks on Finland, reported in the Danish press in the last few days. The present government is unquestionably anti-Bolshevik. There are no indications of connection between revolutionary Germany and Finland. The leaders of the German revolution were opposed to intervention in Finland and are doubtless eager to withdraw the German troops as soon as possible. The present Finnish Government probably hopes to obtain recognition from the Peace Conference: (1) Finland’s independence, (2) the Finnish claims to the Russian [districts] north and east of the present Finnish border, [Page 469](3) right to all Russian property in Finland. The second demand seems hardly justified as the districts in question are populated by Russians and Karelians, the former being in the majority. The third claim is based on the wrong assumption that Finland was at war with Russia.

Baltic provinces: Since the German revolution, soldiers councils have been formed by the German garrisons which have offered no opposition to the proclamation of an Estonian and a Lettish republic, Latvia, and the assumption by the governments of these, of the executive and administrative authority. The territories included in these republics is unknown. Presumably Estonia includes the old Russian Government of that name, together with a portion of Livonia, while Latvia includes the remainder of Livonia and all of Courland.

Latvia’s seat of government is at Riga. Nothing known of the character of the premier, Karl Ulmann, or that of his government. Considering the part played by the Lettish battalions in supporting the Soviet Government in Russia, there may be danger of Bolshevism but there have as yet been no indications of friendly contact with the Moscow Government; on the other hand the latter’s reported demand for permission to establish Workmen and Soldiers Councils, under threat of invasion, has not yet been complied with. In Estland, the government is headed by a popular social democrat named Petz, who was taken to Germany after the occupation and imprisoned and has been released since the revolution. Presumably the Estonian Government is less radical and more defiantly anti-Bolshevik than the Lettish.

Lithuania: Soldiers councils have also been formed by the German garrisons, and probably a native local government has been formed, as in the Baltic provinces. There have been practically no reports concerning Lithuania, which would indicate that the situation there is peaceful for the present. Repeated Paris for House. Copy to London.

Grant-Smith
  1. Not printed; it transmitted the queries listed in telegram No. 112, Nov. 16, 1918, 3 p.m., from Colonel House, vol. i, p. 197.