Memorandum for the Secretary




Report on the threat of Bolshevism in Europe.


Library of Congress, Woodrow Wilson Papers


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum







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


Subject: The Bolshevist Movement in Europe

Germany has demanded the withdrawal of all Russian representatives in the German Empire, and has recalled the German representatives in Russia, according to an Associated Press despatch of this afternoon. This action unquestionably was the result of the repeated proofs that Joffe, Bolshevik Ambassador at Berlin, was the center of the Bolshevik propaganda organization, and that he was flooding Germany with revolutionary literature, imported in his official pouches, and with revolutionary organizers imported as couriers.

The straw which broke the back of the German Government’s patience was the following incident described by the Nauen wireless of this morning.

“On the evening of November 4, the regular evening courier of the Bolshevik Government arrived at Friedrichstrasse Station with a large amount of luggage. One of the pieces of luggage was damaged so that the papers in it fell on the platform. These papers were circulars printed in German calling upon German workmen and soldiers to bring about a bloody revolution! One of the circulars was signed by the “Gruppe Internationale (Spartacus Gruppe)”, i.e., the Liebknecht, Mehring group of Independent Socialists. Another circular which gave precise directions for a revolutionary attack demanded assassination and terror. At the instance of the railway authorities all the luggage of the courier was locked in a room in the station.”

Although Joffe has been dismissed from Berlin, the Bolshevik propaganda organization for other European countries will not be disrupted by his removal. For the Bolsheviki have a central revolutionary staff established in Switzerland, which, according to a report of the French Ambassador in Berne, plans to start Bolshevik revolutions at once in Germany, Hungary and Italy, and later in Switzerland. The French Ambassador reports that this central organization has at its disposal fifty-two million Francs transferred to Switzerland by the Bolsheviki.

Mr. Stovall reports that Switzerland is deeply concerned over the possibility of a Bolshevist outbreak, and that the President of the Republic considers the danger serious but not imminent. Mr. Stovall asks the permission of the Department to inform the President that the American Government hopes the Swiss Government will use every effort to prevent Bolsheviki from coming to Switzerland and will stop the activities of those that have been admitted.

The Counsellor of the Austrian Legation at Berne has asked that American troops be sent to occupy Vienna to prevent Bolshevik uprising. Prince Hohenlohe, who is also attached to the Austrian Legation at Berne, has repeated his appeal for supplies of food, saying that if such supplies do not come, the triumph of Bolshevism in Austria will be immediate.

Mr. Schmedeman reports that the Norwegian Government has been asked by the British and French to assist in protecting the Baltic provinces against the spread of Bolshevism after the Germans withdraw, and that the Norwegian Government is unwilling to acquiesce on the grounds that such action might provoke internal internal trouble in Norway.

Mr. Grant-Smith reports by despatch from Copenhagen dated October 1, that Bolshevist agents, some of them Danes, are endeavouring to convert to Bolshevism all Russian prisoners who have escaped to Jutland. It appears that these agents have had some success, particularly among the soldiers interned at Horserod.

Very respectfully submitted,

William C. Bullitt

Original Format






Bullitt, William C. (William Christian), 1891-1967, “Memorandum for the Secretary,” 1918 November 8, WWP25421, World War I Letters, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.