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. 763.72119/1805

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

No. 1107

VOLOGDA, April 15, 1918.

[Received July 13.]

SIR: I have the honor to enclose for your information copy of statement to the Russian people made by myself on the ratification of separate peace between Russia and the Central Empires by the All-Russian Soviet Congress at Moscow March 17.(1)

It appears that this declaration was objectionable to the German Government which protested through its Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Soviet government and asked that reply be made to my declaration in accordance with the spirit of the Brest Litovsk peace treaty. I also enclose copies of the protest(2) and the reply of the Soviet government thereto.

As I am cabling you fully and daily concerning relations between the Soviet government and the Central Empires and about general conditions in Russia and as this despatch may not reach you within two months, as there is no prospect of sending pouch by courier, I shall not write further on the subject.

I have [etc.]


[Enclosure 1]

Statement Made by Ambassador Francis on March 16, 1918

American Ambassador Francis when asked if he would leave Russia since peace with Germany has been ratified by the Moscow conference and what attitude his Government would assume towards Russia made the following statement:

I shall not leave Russia until forced to depart. My Government and the American people are too deeply interested in the welfare of the Russian people to abandon the country and leave its people to the mercies of Germany. America is sincerely interested in Russia and in the freedom of the Russian people. We shall do all possible to promote the true interests of the Russians and to protect and preserve the integrity of this great country. The friendship between Russia and the States which has existed for a century or more should be augmented rather than impaired by Russia's becoming a Republic and all Americans are sincerely desirous that Russians should be permitted to continue free and independent and not become subjects of Germany.

I have not yet seen an authentic copy of the peace treaty but am sufficiently acquainted with its provisions to know that if the Rrussian people submit thereto Russia will not only be robbed of vast areas of her rich territory but will eventually become virtually a German province and her people will lose the liberties for which their ancestors have struggled and sacrificed for generations past. My Government considers America an ally of the Russian people who surely will not reject the proffered assistance which we shall be prompt to render any power in Russia that Will offer sincere and organized resistance to the German invasion.

If the Russian people who are brave and patriotic will hold in abeyance for the time being their political differences and be resolute and firm and united they could drive the enemy from their borders and secure before the end of 1918 for themselves and the world an enduring peace.

[Enclosure 2]

Reply of the Soviet Government to the inquiry from the German Government concerning the Statement of Ambassador Francis to representatives of the press at Vologda.



The statement made by the American Ambassador Francis is, in fact, a repetition of the well-known message of President Wilson to the Extraordinary Congress of Soviets. In reply to this message, the Congress of Soviets adopted without objections, and with great applause, a resolution expressing thanks to the American people, giving preference to the laboring and exploited classes of the United States for their expression of good will to the Russian people through the Soviet Congress in the days when the Socialistic Soviet Republic of Russia was living through the most difficult experiences. The Russian Socialistic Soviet Federated Republic took advantage of President Wilson's message to express to all the peoples suffering from the imperialistic war, its warm sympathy and firm conviction that the happy moments when the laboring masses of all bourgeois lands would overthrow the yoke of capitalism and establish socialistic older, the only order capable of guaranteeing a lasting and firm peace and promotion of culture and welfare of all nations, is not far off.

The People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs considers that the best reply that can be made to the inquiry of the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, is reference to this resolution, expressing the opinions of the wide masses of Russian people represented at the Congress by delegations from their Soviets, the most democratic direct method of representation. Through these direct representatives the roll call of March 16 ratified the Brest treaty, by a majority of 724 against 276 votes (180 refraining). The Laboring and exploited masses of Russia themselves decided to conclude peace with Germany. Never before in history did such masses participate in the solution of political problems, especially a problem of war or peace. The laboring masses who have borne the brunt of all sufferings and deprivations of the war and are now experiencing its tragic consequences, fully cognizant of the meaning and importance of their actions, adopted the decision to terminate the war. The People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs believes that a reminder of these facts will serve as a full and satisfactory reply to the German Government. The People's Commissariat in turn cannot help but point out the advance of German troops In the south of Russia continues in Russian territory, contrary to the terms of the Brest treaty. We repeat our request that the German Government should define definitively what it considers the boundary of the Ukraine.


(1) See footnote 2, ante, p. 436 Back

(2) Ante, p. 439. Back

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