Foreign Relations of the United States : 1918 The Conclusion of the Peace of Brest Litovsk
The Ambassador in Russia (Francis) to the Secretary of State

File No. 763.72119/1064

The Ambassador in Russia (Francis) to the Secretary of State


PETROGRAD, January 1, 1918, 8 p. m.

[Received January 3, 2.19 a.m.]

2173. I construe the Trotsky note: (1)

(1) As a claim that if general peace not concluded it will be fault of Allies for not participating in negotiations when resumed.

(2) That if Allies do participate two annexation policies will be submitted: one designated " imperialistic " or " capitalistic," which submits by plebiscite to people only of territories captured in present war their self-disposition; the other designated " socialistic democratic," based on limitation not [only to] conquered countries or [but also] peoples in involuntary subjection. Submits self-disposition to Alsace-Lorraine, Ireland, Madagascar, etc.

(3) Address avoids subjects of restitution or reparation or compensation for insults, wilful and inhuman damage inflicted.

(4) Address implies or explicitly states that separate peace is foregone conclusion meaning German terms be accepted with socialistic or democratic [modifications] if obtainable.

(5) That in event of either separate or general peace social revolution throughout the world will be aggressively prosecuted by proletariat of all countries and internationalism will be persistently advocated.

Question of economic boycott after war necessarily deferred till general peace but my understanding is that we oppose such policy.

We should do all possible in the event of separate peace to persuade Russia to adopt policy of benevolent neutrality.

Continuation of war with its horrors and sacrifices should be avoided if possible with honor but in my opinion general peace now would be war victory for Germany. Furthermore it will prove advantageous, followed by a war of conquest within [sic]. Germany meanwhile would gain such a foothold in Russia as to become almost invincible. German methods, German system would so utilize Russia's vast resources and so organize Russia's man-power as to become the strongest force in commerce and war the world has ever known. Already Germans are beginning organization here. Germany is now enervated by three and a half years of war and if permitted to recuperate will never be so weak again.


(1) Dated Dec. 29; see the Ambassador's telegram No. 2163 of Dec. 31, ante, p. 405. Back

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