Official Government Documents from the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs

Leon Trotsky

The documents presented here are the official documents and proclamations from the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, headed by Leon Trotsky from November of 1917 to March of 1918. These documents were originally transcribed by Brian Baggins for the History of the Soviet Government Documents web site.


21 November 1917
Kluchnikov & Sabanin, ii, p.91

Herewith I have the honour to inform you, Mr. Ambassador, that on 26 October (8 November) of this year the All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies established a new Government of the Russian Republic in the form of the Council of People’s Commissars. The President of this Government is Vladimir Ilich Lenin and the conduct of foreign policy was entrusted to me as People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs.

In drawing your attention to the text of the proposal for an armistice and a democratic peace without annexations or indemnities based on national self-determination, a proposal approved by the All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, I have the honour to request you, Mr Ambassador, to regard the above-mentioned document as a formal proposal for an immediate armistice on all fronts and for the immediate opening of peace negotiations – a proposal which the authorized Government of the Russian Republic is addressing simultaneously to all belligerent nations and to their Governments. I beg you, Mr Ambassador, to accept the assurance of the profound respect of the Soviet Government for the people of your country, who, like all the other peoples exhausted and racked by this unparalleled butchery, cannot do otherwise than ardently desire peace.


22 November 1917
Trotsky, iii, 2, p.64

In publishing the secret diplomatic documents from the foreign policy archives of Tsarism and of the bourgeois coalition Governments of the first seven months of the revolution, we are carrying out the undertaking which we made when our party was in opposition. Secret diplomacy is a necessary tool for a propertied minority which is compelled to deceive the majority in order to subject it to its interests. Imperialism, with its dark plans of conquest and its robber alliances and deals, developed the system of secret diplomacy to the highest level. The struggle against the imperialism which is exhausting and destroying the peoples of Europe is at the same time a struggle against capitalist diplomacy, which has cause enough to fear the light of day. The Russian people, and the peoples of Europe and the whole world, should learn the documentary truth about the plans forged in secret by the financiers and industrialists together with their parliamentary and diplomatic agents. The peoples of Europe have paid for the right to this truth with countless sacrifices and universal economic desolation.

The abolition of secret diplomacy is the primary condition for an honest, popular, truly democratic foreign policy. The Soviet Government regards it as its duty to carry out such a policy in practice. That is precisely why, while openly proposing an immediate armistice to all the belligerent peoples and their Governments, we are at the same time publishing these treaties and agreements, which have lost all binding force for the Russian workers, soldiers, and peasants who have taken power into their own hands.

The bourgeois politicians and journalists of Germany and Austria-Hungary may try to make use of the documents published in order to present the diplomacy of the Central Empires in a more advantageous light. But any such attempt would be doomed to pitiful failure, and that for two reasons. In the first place, we intend quickly to place before the tribunal of public opinion secret documents which treat sufficiently clearly of the diplomacy of the Central Empires. Secondly, and more important, the methods of secret diplomacy are as universal as imperialist robbery. When the German proletariat enters the revolutionary path leading to the secrets of their chancelleries, they will extract documents no whit inferior to those which we are about to publish. It only remains to hope that this will take place quickly.

The workers’ and peasants’ Government abolishes secret diplomacy and its intrigues, codes, and lies. We have nothing to hide. Our programme, expresses the ardent wishes of millions of workers, soldiers, and peasants. We want the rule of capital to be overthrown as possible. In exposing to the entire world the work of the ruling classes, as expressed in the secret diplomatic documents, we address the workers with the call which forms the unchangeable foundation of our foreign policy: ‘Proletarians of all countries, unite.’


23 November 1917
Trotsky, iii, 2, p.165

On 8 [21] November, in accordance with the decision of the Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, I addressed, in the name of the Council of People's Commissars, a proposal to the allied Embassies to begin negotiations for an immediate armistice on all fronts and for a democratic peace without annexations and indemnities based on the self-determination of peoples. At the same time, the Council of People's commissars instructed the military authorities and the delegates of the army of the Russia Republic to enter into preliminary negotiations with the military authorities of the enemy armies for the purpose of getting an immediate armistice on our front, as well as on all fronts.

In bringing this to your notice, Mr. Minister, I have the honour to request you to do all that lies in your power to make our proposal for an immediate armistice and the opening of peace negotiations officially known to the enemy Governments.

At the same time I express the hope that you, Mr. Minister, will do everything in your power fully to inform public opinion in the country whose Government you represent of the steps taken by the Soviet Government in the interests of peace.


30 November 1917
Trotsky, iii, 2, p.183

We consider it necessary to make the following explanation, on the basis of information received by us in the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, concerning the statement issued by the British Embassy. 

An open proposal for an immediate armistice was made to all peoples, allied and enemy, by the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies on 26 October [8 November]. Thus three days before the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs sent the note, the Allied Governments and Embassies were fully and correctly informed of the steps which the Soviet Government proposed to take. It is clear, therefore, that the People's Commissar had absolutely no interest in making his note known to the German authorities before making it known to the Allied Embassies. The note addressed to the Allies and the orders telegraphed to General Dukhonin were written and sent simultaneously. If it is true that the Embassies received the note later than Dukhonin, that is explained entirely and exclusively by secondary technical reasons wholly unrelated to the policy of the Council of People’s Commissars.

There is no doubt, however, that the Council of People’s Commissars made its appeal to the German military authorities independent of the approval or disapproval of the Allied Governments. In this sense the policy of the Soviet Government is absolutely clear. Since it does not consider itself bound by the formal obligations of the old Governments, the Soviet Government in its struggle for peace is guided only by the principles of democracy and the interests of the world working class. That is precisely why the Soviet Government is aiming at a general and not a separate peace. It is convinced that by the united efforts of the peoples against the imperialist Governments such a peace will be secured.


6 December 1917
Trotsky, iii, 2, p.192

The negotiations being conducted between the delegates of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria on the one hand, and the delegates of Russia on the other, have been suspended at the request of our delegation for one week in order to provide an opportunity of informing the peoples and Governments of the Allied countries of the fact of the negotiations and of the course they have taken.

On the Russian side it is proposed:

  1. To proclaim that the proposed armistice has for its aim a peace on a democratic basis on the lines formulated in the manifesto of the All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies;
  2. That as a condition of the armistice no troops are to be transferred from one front to another;
  3. That the Moon Islands be evacuated.

With regard to war aims, the delegates of the opposing side declined to give a definite reply, stating that they had been instructed to deal only with the military side of the armistice. On the question of a general armistice also, the delegates of the opposing side claimed that they had no authority to consider the question of an armistice with countries whose delegates were not taking part in the negotiations. On their part the delegates of the opposing side put forward terms for an armistice on the front from the Baltic to the Black Sea, to last for twenty-eight days. They also undertook to transmit to their Governments the Russian delegation’s proposal for an immediate address to all belligerent countries, that is to all Allied countries besides Russia, inviting them to take part in the negotiations. Since our delegation refused to sign a formal armistice in the present stage of negotiations, it was once more agreed to cease hostilities for a week and to suspend negotiations for the same period. Thus, between the Soviet Government’s first decree on peace (26 October) [8 November] and the time when the peace negotiations will be resumed (29 November) [12 December], more than a month will have passed. This time limit, even with the present disorganized means of international communication, is considered quite sufficient to give the Governments of the Allied countries an opportunity to define their attitude to the peace negotiationsÑthat is, to express their readiness or their refusal to take part in the negotiations for an armistice and peace, and in the case of a refusal to state openly before all mankind, clearly, exactly, and definitely, in the name of what aims must the peoples of Europe shed their blood in the fourth year of war.


31 December 1917
Trotsky, iii, 2, p.235

We are informed by the Kishinev Revolutionary Committee that Rumanian troops have occupied Leovo and several Bessarabian villages, and have shot revolutionaries. They state further in their communication: ‘The Rumanian authorities through the intermediary of a Russian Colonel and a Rumanian General, invited all members of the Revolutionary Committee to Jassy, guaranteeing their complete safety. In Jassy, however, the entire Committee was arrested. All members of the Revolutionary Committee were handed over to the authorities who intended having them shot, but the Cossacks came to their senses and would not allow this.’

Since such criminal acts cannot be tolerated, we request the Rumanian Ambassador to let us know in the course of the day everything that is known to his Embassy about this matter, and what steps have up date been taken by the Rumainian Government to punish the criminal elements among the Rumanian officers and the Rumanian bureaucracy who dared to lift a hand against the Russian revolution.

We consider it necessary here and now to warn the Rumanian Embassy that we shall no longer tolerate on the territory of the Russian revolution any reprisals, whether against Russian, or against Rumanian revolutionaries and socialists. Every Rumanian soldier, worker, or peasant can be assured of the support of the Russian Soviet power against the arbitrary acts of the reactionary Rumanian bureaucracy. At the same time we consider it necessary to warn all Rumanian authorities that the Soviet Government will not hesitate to apply the severest measures against Rumanian counter-revolutionary conspirators, the associates of Kaledin, Shcherbachev, or the Rada, regardless of the positions they occupy in the Rumanian hierarchy.


Trotsky, iii, 2, p.242
2 January 1918

As to the principal negotiations on peace held at Brest-Litovsk, there has been a ten-day break, ending 30 December [5 January]. It is unlikely, however, that negotiations will be resumed at Brest-Litovsk. In many respects we consider it most appropriate, at the stage which the negotiations have now reached, to continue them in a neutral country.

Apart from the declarations of principles, ours and the Austro-German, and the reply of our delegation, we now also have for our consideration a more or less concrete draft of the Austro-German terms of peace with Russia. This is not a draft of a separate peace, but of those relations which, in the opinion of the Austro-German Governments, should be established between Russia on the one hand and Austria and Germany on the other, and in the event of a general peace we shall publish this document, which is only a first draft put forward by the other side, on the same day. The unacceptability of the Austro-German terms of peace is, in the opinion of the People’s Commissar, clearly evident. The point at issue is the principle of the self-determination of nations and its interpretation. The Central Powers recognized this principle in their declaration, but, in its application to Poland, Lithuania, and Courland, and parts of Livonia and Estonia, Germany and Austria-Hungary think they can give the principle of national self-determination a wholly fictitious content. Just as yesterday we recognized the independent Finnish Republic, without any compulsion, we are ready to recognize the independence of the Republics of Poland and Lithuania, the independence of Courland, or the union of these countries with other countries, on condition that any such change in frontiers or the formation of any new States is accomplished solely by the will of the peoples concerned. But the German draft peace terms in their application to Russia distort the national plebiscite into a kind of ritual, deprived of all practical content. If the diplomats on the other side think that we regard the principle enunciated in our declaration as a hollow formality, they are profoundly mistaken. We do not for a moment doubt where the sympathies of the propertied classes of Poland, Lithuania, and Courland lie. But for us the real will of these countries is expressed not by the votes of their landlords, capitalists, and bankers not, that is, by those sections of the nation which oppress the entire working people. We wish, and we demand that the question of Poland’s fate shall be decided by the Polish workers and peasants and, moreover, throughout the whole of Poland. 

Our workers have more than once shed their blood together with the workers of former Tsarist Poland in the struggle against Tsarism. And if now we reject the Austro-German draft terms of peace, it is not because we want to keep Poland for Russia, but because we want the Polish people themselves to say what their political destiny is to be. In this they should be free to express their will without any compulsion or coercion. We do not for a moment doubt that this way of putting the question will win the vigorous and warm support of the workers and peasants of Poland, Lithuania, and Courland, as well as of Germany and Austria-Hungary. After this cruel and senseless slaughter, prolonged for three and a half years, slaughter in which the people have learnt so much, it is the most senseless, militaristic, and bureaucratic of Utopias to think of forcing on the Poles, Lithuanians, or Latvians, disguised as self-determination, the open or concealed dictatorship of an alien ‘conqueror’.

How ill-founded this policy is may be seen from the fact that the German press has not informed the German people of that part of our delegation’s reply in which we give our interpretation of the principle of self-determination. It is obvious that on this question German diplomacy considers it inexpedient to meet German democratic opinion face to face, since the most important details of the peace negotiations are concealed. But we do not doubt that in one way or another the truth will reach the German people and the peoples of Austria-Hungary, and that the principle of national self-determination, which we apply most scrupulously to the peoples of Russia, will find wide enough support within the frontiers of the Central Empires and make it impossible for the Governments of these States to apply the wholly intolerable interpretation to be found in the draft Austro-German terms of peace with Russia ...

In French ruling circles, as far as we are informed, they think it necessary to ‘suffer’ still another military encounter with Germany and Austria-Hungary, to repel their offensive, and then to open negotiations. It is quite clear that in the conditions in which the war is being fought on the western front a new offensive may well be a repetition, with a few changes, of all previous offensives. The front will be moved a few kilometres in one direction or the other, but the relative strength of the two sides will be little changed. The world will simply be poorer by some hundreds of thousands of Frenchmen and Germans. After this the ‘psychological’ conditions for peace negotiations should have become more favourable. This superstition of the French ruling circles is a highly typical trait. What it amounts to in the end is putting off as long as possible the terrible day of reckoning.

Our task is clear; we shall continue the negotiations on the basis of the principles proclaimed by the Russian revolution. We shall do all we can to bring the results of these negotiations to the notice of the popular masses of all European countries, despite the truly humiliating censorship which the European Governments have imposed on military and diplomatic communications. We do not doubt that the negotiations themselves will make us stronger, and the imperialist Governments of all countries weaker.


4 January 1918
Trotsky, iii, a, p.51

I have received a note from the Persian Charge d’Affaires in Petrograd which runs: ‘I consider it my duty herewith to bring to your notice that the Persian Government, being duly informed of the contents of article IS! [?] of the Armistice agreement concluded at Brest on [15] December, the text of which is given above, has authorized me to enter into negotiations for the withdrawal of troops from Persia with the appropriate Russian body authorized to conduct such negotiations, and that, according to a dispatch from the Teheran Government received by the Persian Embassy in Petrograd, identical instructions were sent at the same time to the Persian Ambassador in Constantinople to open negotiations on the withdrawal by the Turkish Government of Turkish troops from Persian territory. In communicating the above, the undersigned begs to be informed as soon as possible of the day and hour when negotiations for the evacuation of Russian forces from Persia can be opened ...’

In regard to this matter I suggest that it is necessary:

  1. To work out a general plan for the withdrawal of Russian forces from Persia in the shortest possible time, and to propose to Turkey, both through the Persian Government and directly through the Turkish delegation at Brest-Litovsk, to co-ordinate their plan for the evacuation of Turkish troops with the Russian plan.
  2. To begin immediately the withdrawal of those detachments whose presence in Persia serves no military purpose, and which were used to occupy Persian territory.
  3. To recall from Persia the Russian military mission, acting in the capacity of instructors of the Cossack brigade.
  4. To appoint commissars immediately to the Russian authorities in Persia, for the purpose of explaining to the various detachments in Persia the general political situation in Russia and the meaning of our new foreign policy, which is based on respect for the rights of all peoples, regardless of their strength or weakness. These commissars to take measures to protect the Persian population from any affront or violence on the part of the less conscious elements of the army.
  5. To take steps to secure the provisioning of the Russian army while they remain in Persia, laying as light a burden as possible on the poorer sections of the Persian population.

I should be glad if you would inform me with the least possible delay of the practical steps you consider it possible to take in the direction indicated. The greatest speed is necessary in this matter in order to wipe out as quickly as possible the effects of the acts of violence perpetrated by Tsarism and bourgeois Russian Governments against the Persian people.


3 February 1918

First of all, I must make it clear that neither the German nor the Austro-Hungarian delegation raised the question of inviting the representatives of the Polish Government to the negotiations as representatives of an independent State. That question was only raised when the Russian delegation drew the attention of the other side to the complete contradiction in their attitude, in that the German and Austro-Hungarian Governments, acknowledging in words the sovereign rights of the Polish State, at the same time failed to raise the question of inviting the Polish Government to negotiations concerning the destiny of Poland. Only when the question was raised by us did the other side announce that they were ready to give it favourable consideration. Thus it is very important to underline once again that the German and Austro-Hungarian delegations came to the negotiations without any previous decision having been taken by their Governments about inviting the Polish Government to the negotiations; whereas, if they regard the Polish Ministry as the Government of an independent State, that would have been the inescapable conclusion of their attitude.

We on our side recognize completely and without any limitation the independence of the Polish people and the Polish State ... But for us it is obvious that this independence remains illusory so long as Poland remains under military occupation. Precisely because we recognize the independence of the Polish people and the Polish State, we cannot, without injury to that independence, recognize as plenipotentiary representatives of the Polish people persons nominated by the occupying Powers. We could provisionally only recognize as representatives for independent participation in the peace negotiations a Polish delegation which was sanctioned by the authentic organs of the Polish people themselves. Since the Polish people are rich in political experience, and their social and national aspirations have found expression in strong and stable political parties, we are convinced that the provisional representation of an independent Poland, for the purpose of taking part in the peace negotiations, could quickly be created by voluntary agreement among the Polish political parties, based on the popular masses and in particular on the working class. We for our part are prepared to recognize such a plenipotentiary representation completely and without any limitation. Finally, since the Polish Rada, established in compliance with the wishes of the Central Powers, intends, clearly with the consent of the Central Powers, to take part in the peace negotiations, we assume that the delegations of the Central Powers (the same delegations which declared to us that the Polish Ministry is acting within limits laid down by the German and Austro-Hungarian occupation authorities) could lay down similar terms for the participation of the Polish Ministry in the present negotiations. That would merely be in accordance with the actual state of affairs.

May I remind you that when the question of recognizing the delegation from the Ukrainian Rada was raised here we did not ask the other side to recognize the Ukrainian Republic before the conclusion of the peace treaty. We thought that, in the uncertainty of the situation, relations would be defined in the course of the negotiations themselves. We for our part would welcome participation by the Polish Rada in the negotiations, since it would give the Rada an opportunity to state its views openly, before the Polish people, on such questions as clearing Polish territory of foreign troops and rectifying the frontier at the expense of the independent Polish nation. The declarations and demands of the delegation of the Kucharzewski Ministry would receive all the more thorough and comprehensive consideration here, as our delegation includes a representative of the working masses of Poland.

In conclusion, may I again draw your attention to the logical misunderstanding which has frequently arisen in our negotiations, that the kind of attitude we take towards a Government also holds good for our attitude to a people and a State. If we do not regard the Kucharzewski Ministry, on the facts known to us, as the authoritative Government of the Polish people, that does not by any means signify that we do not recognize the independence of the Polish State and the Polish people. I have not yet heard that the German Government has hastened to recognize the new Finnish Government, but I think that the fact of the existence of a new Finnish Government cannot prevent the German Government from immediately recognizing the independence of the Finnish Republic.


10 February 1918

It was the task of the sub-commission, as we understood it, to provide an answer to the question to what extent the frontier proposed by the other side could secure to the Russian people, even in a minimum degree, the right of self-determination. We have heard the reports of our representatives on the territorial sub-commission and, after prolonged discussion and a thorough examination of the question, we have come to the conclusion that the hour of decision has struck. The peoples are impatiently awaiting the results of the peace negotiations at Brest-Litovsk. They are asking, when will there be an end to this unparalleled self-destruction of humanity provoked by the selfish and ambitious ruling classes of all countries. If ever the war was being fought in selfdefence, that has long ceased to be true for either side. When Great Britain seizes African colonies, Baghdad and Jerusalem, that is no longer a war of self-defence; when Germany occupies Serbia, Belgium, Poland, Lithuania, and Rumania, and seizes the Moon Islands, that too is not a war of defence. That is a struggle for the partition of the world. Now it is clear, clearer than ever before.

We do not wish to take part any longer in this purely imperialist war, in which the claims of the propertied classes are being paid in blood. We are as implacably opposed to the imperialism of one camp as to the other, and we are no longer willing to shed the blood of our soldiers to defend the interests of one imperialist side against the other.

While awaiting the time, which we hope is not far off, when the oppressed working classes of all countries will take power into their own hands, as the working people of Russia have done, we are withdrawing our army and our people from the war. Our peasant-soldiers must return to their land, so that they can this spring cultivate the soil which the revolution took from the landlords and gave to the peasants. Our workmen-soldiers must return to the workshops to produce there, not the weapons of destruction, but tools for creative labour, and together with the peasants build a new socialist economy.

We are withdrawing from the war. We are informing all peoples and all Governments of this. We are issuing orders for the complete demobilization of our armies now confronting the German, Austro-Hungarian, Turkish, and Bulgarian troops. We expect and firmly believe that other peoples will soon follow our example. At the same time we declare that the terms of peace proposed by the Governments of Germany and Austria-Hungary are basically opposed to the interests of all peoples. These terms will be rejected by the working masses of all countries, including even the peoples of Austria-Hungary and Germany. The peoples of Poland, the Ukraine, Lithuania, Courland, and Estonia regard these conditions as a violation of their will, while for the Russian people themselves they represent a permanent threat. The popular masses of the entire world, guided by political consciousness or by moral instinct, reject these conditions, in expectation of the day when the working classes of all countries will establish their own standards of the peaceful co-existence and friendly co-operation of peoples. We refuse to give our sanction to the conditions which German and Austro-Hungarian imperialism writes with the sword on the body of living peoples. We cannot put the signature of the Russian revolution to conditions which carry with them oppression, misfortune, and misery to millions of human beings.

The Governments of Germany and Austria-Hungary want to rule over lands and peoples by the right of armed conquest. Let them do their work openly. We cannot approve violence. We are withdrawing from the war but we are compelled to refuse to sign the treaty of peace.

In connexion with this statement, I am handing to the joint delegations the following written and signed declaration:

In the name of the Council of People's Commissars, the Government of the Russian Federal Republic informs the Governments and peoples of the countries at war with us, and of the Allied and neutral countries that, while refusing to sign an annexationist peace, Russia, for its part, declares the state of war with Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey at an end. At the same time, an order is being given for the complete demobilization of the Russian troops along the entire front.


I have little to add to what is said in our declaration. The Russian Government in this written declaration says that for its part, it declares the state of war at an end and that, in execution of this decision, it is issuing orders for the complete demobilization of the army on all external fronts. As to the practical difficulties arising from the situation thus created, I am unable to suggest any juridical formula to surmount them. The absence of a necessary juridical formula is not due to an accidental misunderstanding; the entire course of the peace negotiations showed that the divergence in our fundamental attitudes was too great to permit a formula defining the mutual relations of the Russian Government and the Central Powers. As far as I understood the Chairman of the German delegation, he seemed to admit, at least in theory, the practical possibility of finding the missing formula, counting in future on the help of guns and bayonets. I do not believe in that. However greatly the meaning of national defence was abused in the course of this war, and the idea of the defence of the fatherland violated, not one honest man in the whole world will say that in these circumstances the continuation of military operations by Germany and Austria-Hungary is necessary to their national defence. I am profoundly convinced that the German people and the peoples of Austria-Hungary will not allow it; and if our fundamental point of view becomes clear to all, then the practical difficulties will settle themselves one way or another. The document we have handed over leaves no doubt in regard to our intentions. We, on our side, declare the state of war at an end,, and are sending our soldiers back to peaceful labour.


5 March 1918

In case (a) the all-Russian congress of the Soviets will refuse to ratify the peace treaty with Germany, or (b) if the German government, breaking the peace treaty, will renew the offensive in order to continue its robbers’ raid, or (c) if the Soviet government will be forced by the actions of Germany to renounce the peace treatyÑbefore or after its ratificationÑand to renew hostilities.

In all these cases, it is very important for the military and political plans of the Soviet power for replies to be given to the following questions:

  1. Can the Soviet government rely on the support of the United States of North America, Great Britain, and France in its struggle against Germany?
  2. What kind of support could be furnished in the nearest future, and on what conditions-military equipment, transportation supplies, living necessities?
  3. What kind of support would be furnished particularly and especially by the United States?

Should Japan, in consequence of an open or tacit understanding with Germany or without such an understanding, attempt to seize Vladivostok and the Eastern-Siberian Railway, which would threaten to cut off Russia from the Pacific Ocean and would greatly impede the concentration of Soviet troops toward the East about the Urals,in such case what steps would be taken by the other allies, particularly and especially by the United States, to prevent a Japanese landing on our Far East and to insure uninterrupted communications with Russia through the Siberian route?

In the opinion of the Government of the United States, to what extent, under the above-mentioned circumstances, would aid be assured from Great Britain through Murmansk and Archangel? What steps could the Government of Great Britain undertake in order to assure this aid and thereby to undermine the foundation of the rumors of the hostile plans against Russia on the part of Great Britain in the nearest future?

All these questions are conditioned with the self-understood assumption that the internal and foreign policies of the Soviet government will continue to be directed in accord with the principles of international socialism and that the Soviet government retains its complete independence of all non-socialist governments.


20 April 1918
Izvestia, 21 April 1918

All military departments of the Soviet, all local Commissariats of Military Affairs, and all institutions of the Military Department, responsible for the care of enemy prisoners of war, are instructed as follows:

  1. Not to permit in the prisoner-of-war camps any violence against prisoners of war holding certain opinions by those of other opinions, in particular officer-prisoners, in order to forestall any such actions, measures must immediately be taken to disarm prisoners of war, in so far as they still have arms.
  2. To observe carefully that the prisoners of war of all categories are kept in the camps in accordance with the provisions of international conventions and agreements accepted and ratified by Russia.
  3. Agents of the military authorities are strictly to refrain from any violation of article 2 of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty, which obliges the Soviet Government to refrain from any agitation and propaganda against the Governments or the political institutions of Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, and Turkey.
  4. To accept into the ranks of the Red Army only those volunteers from among foreigners who have accepted Russian citizenship.

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Last updated on: 17.12.2006