Charles R. Crane to Woodrow Wilson




Advice on how to handle Russia.


Library of Congress, Woodrow Wilson Papers


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum



pdf file




Document scan was taken from Library of Congress microfilm reel of the Wilson Papers. WWPL volunteers transcribed the text.


Woods Hole, Mass.

Dear Mr. President

I am sure Russia gives you much anxiety. Her fearful present as well as her undefined future - the present and the future - of all the gifted slavic peoples - is perhaps a greater problem for the welfare of the world than the war. Fortunately the war is now going well - men, ships and equipment are now moving well and the soldiers, as well as the rest of our people, are transported at finding something really worth while to which they can dedicate their all. Life is found to be worth living and worth giving. Democracy is justifying herself and setting an inspiring example to the ages.

With Russia you will have to be as steady and as patient as you have been with Mexico. Roughly speaking it is the Mexican situation multiplied about ten times both in area and in population, and for the Russian problem as for the Mexican one there is no such thing as “expert” advice. Old Russia, like old Mexico has passed away forever and any understanding of the previous states gives little help in interpreting what is passing at present. In both states the political and social cement has run out leaving a vast human desert and no one is clairvoyant enough to be able to devine how the new cement will be constituted.

In navigating your ship by the stars you are pursuing the wisest possible course. Every other state - especially Germany - which has pretended to know and has tried to act, has blundered. Your prestige is higher than ever there - certainly higher than it was a year ago and any program you propose will be accepted as the expression of a wisely sympathetic friend. Russia is fundamentally Slavic and also Christian and you have near you the best and wisest of Slavs, Masaryk, and the best and wisest of Christians, Mott, to consult about moves that are more or less technical. You three are trusted by the whole world - and especially by the slavic world - and will do what is possible as opportunity offers. There is an old tradition that Russia will someday be saved by Siberia and I hope to have some word with Reinsch about it when we go to see the first launching at Hog Island next week.

Affectionate messages to you both from Mrs. Crane and me. We would take good care of you if you would come up to visit us and also you might avoid a very persistent letter writer.

Always sincerely

Charles R. Crane

Original Format





Crane, Charles Richard, 1858-1939, “Charles R. Crane to Woodrow Wilson,” 1918 August 1, WWP25079, World War I Letters, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.