Letter from the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Secretary of State (1917)

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On the 7th of November the action of the “bolsheviki” took place, having for its result the arrest of the members of the Provisional Government. On the 11th General Manikovski took temporarily charge of the Ministry of war, on condition of a complete non-interference into his activities and so as to enable the Ministry of war, standing out of politics, to resume its work necessary for the defense of the country.

The activities of the Ministry of war had recommenced and no measures were taken in order to secure the safety of foreign Embassies and Legations as well as to the promptest restoration of the telegraph communications. The general headquarters of the armies were informed of the situation and a reply was received stating that the conditions there were analogical. General Dukhonin sent a wireless on the 14th of November communicating that on account of the absence of Kerensky and lack of information as to his whereabouts, he is assuming temporarily the high command of the armies and called the troops, awaiting the solution of the crisis, to remain calm on the front fulfilling their duty towards the country so as to prevent the possibility for the enemy to take advantage of the situation and to penetrate further into boundaries of the motherland.

In view of the fact that the Foreign Office not as yet resumed its activities, the Chief of the General Staff has considered it necessary to enter into direct relations with the Allied Embassies in order to carry on, as far as possible, the current affairs. Following the instructions given by the Chief of the General Staff, the Director of the Military Intelligence called on the British Ambassador, dean of the Diplomatic Corps, and made the following suggestions:

(1) The Foreign Office having temporarily interrupted its activities, relations concerning urgent current affairs to be established directly with the General Staff.

(2) With regard to the Allied conference in Paris it was stated that the Russian delegates were unable to leave for Paris on account of the events of 7-12th of November. Nevertheless, under the present conditions it would be highly undesirable for the interest of the common cause to enable the strengthening of an impression that Russia by the force of the events is practically out of the ranks of the belligerents and is no more considered by her allies as an active member amongst them. Consequently it seems advisable either to postpone the conference until a time when Russian delegates could participate, or to organize simultaneously in Petrograd another conference of a purely military character pertaining to matters already elaborated and prepared by the Russian General Staff, and so as to communicate to the Paris conference the proceedings of the Petrograd meeting, the latter to be vice verse kept informed of the results attained in Paris.

(3) Rumors, which appeared in the Russian press, about the departure of the Allied representatives have an extremely unfavorable action on public opinion; any impression which might be created to the effect that the Allies are abandoning the Russian people in the present critical situation could rouse a feeling of the nation that Russia is freed from responsibility for the disrupture of the Allied action.

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