My name day passed quietly and not as it had in other times. At 12 o'clock services were held. The infantrymen from the 4th, Battalion congratulated me in the garden and I them on a Battalion holiday. I received three birthday pies and one from the guards. During the evening Marie, Alexis and I'Ir. Gilliard played very well the small parts in the play, "Le eluide John." It was very funny.
We went to see Yusupov in Sosnovaya Roscha; the house that is now being built there is awkward, but cosy. There will not be that much work for Serezha, because Yusupov wants to keep everything rather simple (hospital white), and he could only paint one small studio and a private room next to it. The position of the house is wonderful. The thought of a field of violets in front of it is lovely. We were brought there and back in his car.
The former minister Konovalov, a scrupulously honest man, set up a Community Hall in his factory in Vichuga which is a model building of this type. Konovalov is now in prison. The romantic-minded but impractical Lunacharksy is now trying to foist the poet Yasinsky, a writer with a vile reputation, on the working classes. To do this is to soil the banner of the working class and corrupt the proletariat. See more
There are moves to expel the Constitutional Democrats from the Constituent Assembly. Needless to say, a significant portion of the country’s population wishes for its views and wishes to be represented by the Constitutional Democrats. For this reason, the expulsion of the Kadets is an attack on the wishes of hundreds of thousands of people. Setting aside this outrage, I should point out that the Party of the Kadets unites the most civilized people in the country, the most skilled functionaries in all fields of intellectual work.
Trotzky called this afternoon on the French Ambassador and said that the Allies had always refused to revise their war aims, and that, as he did not wish to be repeatedly put off as his predecessors in office had been, he had decided to open peace negotiations. They would, however, be suspended for a week so as to give the AUies the opportunity of participating in them. He was quite correct and civil. He has not honored me with a visit for fear that I should decline to receive him. See more
About a week ago Trotzky raised the question of diplomatic visas for his couriers' passports and threatened that, unless we accorded him full reciprocity, he would prevent the King's Messengers either entering or leaving Russia. In conversation with Captain Smith, he said that he was perfectly entitled to do this, as I was accredited by a Government which did not recognize the present Russian Government, to one which no longer existed. I was, therefore, technically only a private individual. As I pointed out to the Foreign Office, we are quite at his me^cy, and unless we come to an amicable arrangement we shall not only be deprived of our messenger service, but exposed to other reprisals, such as a refusal to pass our cyphered telegrams or to recognize our diplomatic status. Should that happen the Allied Governments would have to recall their Ambassadors.
The Provisional Government issued manifestoes in favour of a liberal policy and loyalty to the Allies. So far as words and votes would serve, nothing was left undone. Meanwhile the German hammer broke down the front and Lenin blew up the rear.
Who shall judge these harassed champions of Russian freedom and democracy? Were they not set tasks beyond the compass of mortal men? Could any men or any measures have made head at once against the double assault? Politicians and writers in successful nations should not too readily assume their superiority to beings subjected to such pressures. Caesar, Cromwell, Napoleon, might have been smothered here like Captain Webb in the rapids of Niagara. All broke, all collapsed, all liquefied in universal babble and approaching cannonade, and out of the anarchy emerged the one coherent, frightful entity and fact—the Bolshevik punch.
About Bolsheviks. Of course, I don’t like their fanatical pursuit of peace. But in the end, they are not to blame, they are in a difficult position, and choose a better one of the two bad situations. Others are responsible for it… These events are great and will have unpredictable consequences.
Departure from Vienna, Wednesday, 19th, four o'clock, Nordbahnhof. Found the party already assembled there: Gratz and Wiesner, Colloredo, Gautsch and Andrian, also Lieut. Field-Marshal Csicserics, and Major Fleck, Baden. I took the opportunity on the journey to give Csicserics an idea of my intentions and the tactics to be pursued. I told him that in my opinion Russia would propose a general peace, and that we must of course accept this proposal. I hoped that the first steps for a general peace would be taken at Brest, and not given up for a long time. Should the Entente not accept, then at least the way would be open for a separate peace. After that I had long discussions with Gratz and Wiesner, which took up more or less the whole day.