Francis to Lansing on plan for intervention, request to attempt to cooperate with but not recognise Soviet government, and addressing the principles of the Soviet government
File No. 861.00/1955
Vologda, May 2, 1918, 6 p.m.
[Received May 8, 7:35 p.m.]
In my judgment time for Allied intervention has arrived. Have been hoping for request therefore by Soviet and have been discreetly working to that end:
(1) By remaining in Russia with your approval when all colleagues departed.
(2) By cultivating close unofficial relations with Bolsheviks and encouraging Robins to remain Moscow for such purpose notwithstanding Summers's expressed humiliation thereat.
(3) By earnestly advising against separate Japanese intervention.
(4) By advocating and putting into effect Allied military advice in formation new army expecting, as cabled you confidentially, would be able to influence if not control its use- I even persuaded French and Italian colleagues to consent to cooperation of their military missions. This aid however is still in abeyance because you cabled prohibiting its extension until advised of object of new army and since ostensibly object never varied from Trotsky's assurance that was for defending and promoting world-wide social revolution against existing governments including ours.
(5) By requesting six railroad units be sent Vologda for conference with me and experienced railroad official of Soviet government. Stevens first wired was sending six units and I advised Soviet government accordingly but again you cabled asking definite use of railroad men and after Stevens wired as opposed to sending them I was compelled to explain their failure to come to Trotsky through Rothwell [Ruggles?] and Riggs. I then asked that Emerson with three engineers be sent, see my 99, April 15, to which replied in Department's 80, April 24 [Not printed], Emerson ordered to come or send Goldsmith and advises me of departure. No advises from Emerson received consequently have not advised Trotsky of your order lest might again have to explain. Do not understand me as [complaining] or criticizing Department action in military or railroad matters.
(6) Have actively encouraged international commercial shipments between merchants with proper safeguards. During nine days from April 19 to 28 had serious illness, possibly from ptomaine poisoning, by which greatly weakened but never ceased work nor lost spirit although confined to bed, fully recovered now.
(7) Unofficially informed Soviet government of Department action concerning Chinese embargo while ignoring offensive prohibition of Consul, Irkutsk, sending cipher messages and inconsiderate demand for recall American Consul, Vladivostok, on statement of the facts, not incriminating if true. I also ignored emphatic demand of Soviet government to define our attitude on landing Japanese, British marines Vladivostok while giving two carefully worded interviews on the subject.
This is a partial resume of my policy since quitting Petrograd.
I am unadvised concerning your position on Allied intervention while knowing your opposition to exclusive Japanese intervention which I earnestly approve. My last information was from American Ambassador, Tokyo, to effect that Japan would not intervene against our wishes but since then Motono has resigned and if Japanese policy or our eastern policy altered I am unadvised. Possibly Japan may refuse to intervene without compensation but unless territorial compensation demanded in my opinion her demands if reasonable should be met.
This recommendation, the gravity of which I fully realize, is precipitated because of following conditions:
(1) Mirbach is dominating Soviet government and is practically dictator in Moscow to whom all differences even between Russians are referred;
(2) April 27 , see Summers's cable 439 of April 29, note was sent by Soviet government to Berlin appealing and protesting concerning violation of Brest treaty by Germany to which Mirbach replied April 30 that German advance would cease if Allies evacuated Murman and Archangel- such information imparted to French military mission thorough Lockhart. I think such evacuation would be exceedingly unwise.
Riggs arrived from Moscow and thinks local Soviet will not oppose Germany without Allied encouragement and seems confident that Soviet government will approve Allied intervention if sees same inevitable and if military missions given information of proposed intervention previous to its actual occurrence, that missions can probably influence Soviet government to that end. Whether Soviet government would under such circumstances inform Germany of proposed intervention and cooperate with Germany to resist such intervention is a risk we must take. Riggs advocates Embassy's removing from Vologda to Moscow or certainly diplomatic representative at Moscow in which I can not concur as believe it would result either in recognizing Soviet government or emphasizing non-recogniton: if former should be result we would be interfering in internal affairs by strengthening Soviet government; if latter should be result would only increase existing tension. Russia is passing through dream or orgy from which awakening is possible any day but the longer we wait therefor henceforth the stronger foothold Germany will secure. Robins and probably Lockhart also have favored recognition of Soviet government but you and all Allies have always opposed recognition and I have consistently refused to recommend it, nor do I feel that I have erred therein.
I have deferred this recommendation of the Allied intervention not only in the hope that the Soviet government would request it but with expectation that she would approve requests for purchasing supplies to prevent same falling into enemy hands and also with hope that Russian people would by general expression request Allied intervention in default of Soviet government's doing so. Various organizations throughout Russia have informed colleagues and myself that Russian people would earnestly desire Allied intervention but whether such feeling could assume physical form I doubt, as Bolsheviks treat with severity every such movement terming it counter-revolutionary.
Lenin is dominating Bolshevik spirit and in every speech justifies Brest treaty by calling it breathing spell in world-wide social revolution which he affirms is sure to succeed as proletariat in warring imperialistic countries will soon assert itself as in Russia. In speech of the 28th he apparently justified slaughter at western front as weakening imperialistic governments engaged in struggle for territorial supremacy and thereby brought nearer the dictatorship of proletariat throughout the world. Lenin's last written and spoken expression are devoted to what he calls the danger from the small bourgeoisie which he thinks greatest menace to proletariat as rich bourgeoisie are somewhat doubtful. He is able, farseeing and anticipates revulsion against Bolshevik principles from desire of peasants to own and cultivate small tracts of land.
Finally I greatly doubt whether Allies can longer afford to overlook principles which Lenin is aggressively championing.
Shall patiently await instructions or information.
Documents on US Foreign Policy in Russia
[Subject] [Author] [Date]