The Secretary of State to President Wilson

My Dear Mr. President: I received yesterday from the British Embassy the enclosed paraphrase of a telegram from Lockhart at Moscow.54

The situation of the Czecho-Slovak forces in western Siberia seems to me to create a new condition which should receive careful consideration. Prof. Masaryk assured me that these rebels against Austria-Hungary, collected from the Russian prison camps and from deserters, would not fight against the Russians but only sought to pass via Vladivostok to the western front.

Now it appears that their efforts to reach Vladivostok being opposed by the Bolsheviks they are fighting the Red Guards along the Siberian line with more or less success. As these troops are most loyal to our cause and have been most unjustly treated by the various Soviets ought we not to consider whether something cannot be done to support them?

There are, it seems, between 10,000 and 15,000 at Vladivostok and some 40,000 to 60,000 in western Siberia. In the latter territory Omsk and Tomsk are reported to be in their hands. Is it not possible that in this body of capable and loyal troops may be found a nucleus for military occupation of the Siberian railway?

I would like to confer with you on the subject after cabinet-meeting Tuesday if you find it convenient.

Faithfully yours,

Robert Lansing
  1. Not printed.