862.00/336: Telegram

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

3168. The neutral diplomat mentioned, quoted in the Legation’s 1141, Sept. 3, [1917,] 5 p.m. and 1755, Dec. 31, [1917,] 6 p.m.3 writes from Berlin November 17th as follows:

“There is one great danger and that is a Bolshevik movement if the present Cabinet remains in power and there soon comes national assembly. I hope things may still turn out all right, but if there comes disorder and famine, I do not see any end to the terror. The most important thing the Entente can do is of course to send food, because people in the cities are starving and will starve terribly in a few weeks’ time when the soldiers come back. Another very important thing would be that President Wilson puts it as clearly as possible before the German nation that he wants general elections. I believe this country will do anything the President wants at present.”

The last suggestion seems of imperative importance. It is evident from all reports received that the revolutionary movement is fast falling into the hands of the German Bolsheviki and quasi-Bolsheviki supporters. A demand by the President for some sort of provisional national assembly chosen on democratic lines, to be succeeded by a permanent representation elected after conditions have become settled, would probably result in precipitating crisis which appears unavoidable. The sooner this crisis comes, however, the greater is the chance that it will result favorably for the forces of real democracy, which now probably have the support of the soldiers returning from the front; this may not be the case after the latter have had time to become [Page 97] discontented as the result of the shorter rations, etc., and exposure to the extremists’ propaganda. Only continued reiteration that an undemocratic Germany can never expect food or raw material from the western democracies would counteract the Bolshevik poison, which is undoubtedly being incessantly injected into the German masses. In this connection a manifest from the American Federation of Labor addressed to the German working classes might be of great effect. The Bolshevik leaders recognize in democracy their most dangerous enemy. Copy to London.4

  1. Foreign Relations, 1917, supp. 2, vol. i, pp. 189, 515.
  2. By telegram No. 1241, Nov. 30, 1 p.m., the Chargé was instructed to repeat the above telegram to Paris for Colonel House.