Russia and secret treaties
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RUSSIA AND SECRET TREATIES.
The Telegraph Agency, acting under the direction of the Maximalists, issues the following:—
M. Trostky, Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, has published a series of secret telegrams and documents, dating partly from the year 1915 and partly from the time of the Ministerial Coalitions. In those relating to Constantinople and the Straits, M. Sazonoff, then Minister of Foreign Affairs, expresses Russia's claims to Constantinople, the west coast of the Bosphorus, the Sea of the Marmora and the Dardanelles, Southern Thrace up to the Enos-Midia line, the Asiatic coast and the islands of the Sea of Marmora, and the islands of Imbros and Tenedos.
The Allies put forward a series of claims, to which the Russian Government consented. According to these demands Constantinople was to become a free port for goods neither going to nor coming from Russia. The Allies further demanded the recognition of their rights over Asiatic Turkey, as well as the preservation of the sacred places in Arabia under Mussulman sovereignty, and the inclusion of the neutral zone in Persia within the sphere of British activity.
Russia was prepared to recognise all these demands, and on her side expressed the desire that the Khalifate should be separated from Turkey. In Persia Russia bargained for the retention by herself of "Rayons" (settlements) in the towns of Ispahan and Yerd.
As regarded the future frontiers of Germany, the two sides agreed that full freedom of action should be granted. France put forward her demands, to which the Russian Government agreed. Alsace-Lorraine was to be returned to France, together with the iron ore and coal districts and the wooded regions of the left bank of the Rhine. These were also to be separated from Germany and freed from all political or economic dependence upon Germany.
Certain territories were to be formed into a free, neutral State which would be occupied by Russian troops until certain conditions and guarantees have been fulfilled and peace had been concluded.
Allied Suggestions Resented.
Especially interesting are certain telegrams of M. Terestchenko when Minister of Foreign Affairs relating to the fact that the Ambassadors of Great Britain, Italy, and France had called upon M. Kerensky and pressed upon him the urgent necessity of taking measures to make the army capable of fighting. This attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of Russia, says M. Trostky, caused a painful impression upon the Government, and M. Terestchenko requested the Russian Ambassador at Washington to intimate to the United States Secretary for War that the Russian Government much appreciated the reserve of the United States Ambassador on that occasion.
Almost of equal interest are the telegrams and other communications sent by M. Terestchenko to his various agents. In one of these, speaking of the concessions made by the bourgeoisie to the Socialists of the Right, M. Terestchenko declares that the concessions lose a certain amount of their value owing to the fact that the Moderate Socialist leaders had in great measure lost their control over the masses, who had been carried away by the Extreme Left. M. Terestchenko further expresses the view that the role of the Preliminary Parliament would be a great one, that up to a certain moment it would take the place of a Constituent Assembly, and that, even though in its composition the Socialists should be in a majority the Moderate parties would succeed in holding their own against the Extreme Left, as the Moderate Socialists would act in accord with the Liberal parties.
The last document published is a secret telegram from the Russian Ambassador at Berne announcing that some big financiers were conferring in Switzerland.
The British deny having participated in the conference. Nevertheless a director of —— Bank (here the name of a leading London bank is given) arrived at Geneva on September 2, 1917. Nothing definite is known so far as Russia is concerned. It appears, however, that it was suggested that the Central Powers might obtain certain compensations in the East, and that the German participants in the conference insisted on the cession of the Baltic provinces and the independence of Finland.