Foreign Relations of the United States : 1918 The November Revolution
The Ambassador in Russia (Francis) to the Secretary of State

File No. 861.00/677

The Ambassador in Russia (Francis) to the Secretary of State (1)


PETROGRAD, November 16, 1917, 6 p.m.

[Received Novemb'er 18, 8.15 a.m.]

1986. Endeavoring to reach you through every available channel. American Minister, Stockholm, reports forwarding cables sent him. Find two cables delivered from you since November 3; namely, 1829 November 6, 4 p. m.,(2) and open cable same date giving Secretary's statement concerning Japanese relations(3) which communicated to Japanese Ambassador and Chinese Minister, both gratefully acknowledging receipt. British, American, French, Italian Ambassadors united in sending alternately daily courier to Tornea or Stockholm. I hear that British courier planned leaving to-day but strike on Finnish railroad prevents.

Embassy guard reported in 1945 (4) left November 12 leaving guns here. They were Junkers who were ordered to return to Nikolai School where they arrived safely. Junkers to the number of 1,200 have offered only a weak resistance to Bolshevik soldiers and armed workmen called Red Guard who have brutally killed Junkers whenever seen in streets and reported to have murdered some who surrendered. Quiet here; have been only casual shots fired in the streets. Reported severe fighting Moscow. Killed estimated at 4,000, including many of the citizens. Last report is fighting ceased, Bolsheviki in control. Ten Polish soldiers in Embassy sent without request by Polish military committee which assumes neutral position which understand Bolsheviki say must end or Polish soldiers be disarmed. No communication received from power administering affairs here. If Poles ordered from Embassy shall organize and arm staff numbering twenty to defend Embassy against pillage. Other Embassies also guarded by Polish soldiers. Do not know what they will do but I have concluded to decline Bolshevik guards if tendered. Have no fear of personal violence or damage to Embassy where I remain continuously. Have decided however to advise unattached American women and men with wives and children to leave Russia temporarily and have secured two sleepers therefor leaving on Siberian November 20.

Efforts to agree on compromises Ministry unsuccessful thus far. Quiet here.

Kerensky appears to be fugitive; after his defeat at Gachina on 13th was arrested by Cossacks whom he led to defeat. Learned this from his aide who left him 2 a.m., 14th, coming to Petrograd in civilian clothes and calling at Embassy after dark last evening saying had books, papers, printed matter and effects in Petrograd and that Kerensky had instructed him to inform me of the situation. Departments closed or partially operating without chiefs. Secured sleeper from superintendent of passenger service.


(1) sent via the Legation in Sweden (No. 1008). Back

(2) Vol. III, chap. iv. Back

(3) Foreign Relations, 1917, p. 269. Back

(4) Ante, p. 219. Back

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