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. 763.72119/1384

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


PETROGRAD, February 24, 1918.

[Received February 26,11.03 p. m.]

2405. Following is translation of German peace proposal to Soviet government which Executive Committee now considering with every prospect of approval.

Lenin in statement published in official evening organ says should be approved and if not he will not be connected longer with government. Shall cable later decision of Soviet government. Have secured first official copy given out.



Answer of the German Government to the application of the Russian Government of February 19, 1918. Germany is willing to continue peace negotiations and conclude peace under the following conditions:

1. Germany and Russia declare the state of war between them put to an end. Both nations are convinced that in the future they will live on friendly terms and peaceful with each other.

2. Countries situated westward from the line indicated to the Russian representatives at Brest, which formerly belonged to Russia, will no more be under the protectorate of Russia. In the Dvinsk district this line must be moved towards the eastern frontier of Courland. The former appurtenance of the said countries to the Russian Empire will in no way force them to any obligations towards Russia. Russia renounces every kind of interference in the internal affairs of these countries. Germany and Austria-Hungary intend to define the future destiny of these countries with the consent of their population. Germany is ready after the general conclusion and full Russian demobilization to clear all countries towards the eastward from the line in question, as long as nothing else follows therefrom.

3. Finland and Estland are immediately cleared from Russian troops and Red Guards and the Red Guards will be substituted by German police up to the time when the reconstruction of the country will guarantee safety and governmental order. All inhabitants arrested on political grounds must be immediately released.

4. Russia concludes peace immediately with Ukraine people's republic. Ukraine and Finland immediately will be cleared of Russian troops and Red Guards.

5. Russia will do everything according to its ability to secure for Turkey the return of her East Catholic [Anatolian] provinces and the full recognition of the abolition of Turkish capitulations.

6. A full demobilization of the Russian Army up to the newly formed battalions by the present Government must take place immediately. Russian warships in the Black Sea, Baltic Sea and the Arctic Ocean must be immediately brought to Russian ports and be left there to the conclusion of general peace negotiations, or be disarmed. Warships of the Entente which are under Russian control must be treated as Russian ships. Commercial navigation in the Black Sea and Baltic Sea will begin at once according to the agreement of armistice; the cleaning out of mines shall begin at once; the blockade of the Arctic Ocean win remain until the conclusion of general peace.

7. The Russian-German commercial treaty of 1904 will be in force as stated in Paragraph [Article] 7, No. [Chapter] II, A, of the peace concluded with Ukraine, except in Section [Article] 11, Nos. [point] 3, of the commercial treaty, special privileges concerning the Asiatic countries; furthermore the first part of the concluded protocol will be in force. To this is added the guarantee of export free of duty of ores; the immediate beginning of negotiations about the conclusion of a new commercial treaty; guarantee of favored-nation rights up to the end of 1925, even to the completion of the provisorium; and lastly the affirmation of Paragraph [Article] 7, Nos. [Chapters] III, IV(a), and V, of the peace agreement with Ukraine.(1)

8. The legal relations (political) will be regulated according to the decision of the first reading of the German-Russian legal convention; as far as the decisions are not yet accepted, especially will take place the reimbursement of the losses by civilians according to the German proposals, and the reimbursement for the expenses of the prisoners of war, according to the Russian proposals. Russia will accept it and according to her force will assist the German commission of prisoners of war for civilians and refugees.

9. Russia obliges herself to stop all kinds of government or governmentassisted agitation or propaganda against the governments of the four Allies and their government and military institutions, including the territory occupied by the Central powers.

10. The above-mentioned terms must be accepted within forty-eight hours. The Russian plenipotentiaries must immediately go to Brest Litovsk and there within three days sign the peace agreement which should be ratified within two weeks.

Berlin, February 21, 1918.

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Von Kuhlmann


(Signature illegible)

Lieutenant General and Chief of the Army, Section D


(1) See telegrams dated Apr. 27 and June 7, 1918, vol. II, chap. iv. Back

127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.