File No. 861.00/1810
The Consul General at Moscow ( Summers) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 16, 8.05 p.m.]
434. Owing to the stringent press censorship it is difficult to determine accurately the influence by public opinion of developments in the Far East, the French Ambassador’s statement and the rather exaggerated belligerency of the Soviet authorities with respect to each. The Russkoe Slovo having been closed last month for intimating approval of direct Allied military assistance, the only outspoken opinions now are those supporting the Bolshevik view. Still one of the substantial liberal papers is bold enough to write: “We are not afraid of the Allies in the East. Foreign troops can fight against Germans [on our] territory as well as the English and Americans are now fighting on French”; and a Social Revolutionary organ says: “For all who are free from the hypnotism of German power and the influence of German gold, it is clear that the international position of Russia was in the anti-German coalition and that to take the responsibility to enter into military alliance with America, England, and France, while they are fighting against the German menace, is a question of life or [omission].” [Omission] may be attributed, in part certainly, to the corrective influence of the French Ambassador’s statement upon the impression of confusion in Allied councils, which the Russian public has recently gained from contradictory press statements respecting events in Vladivostok. There is increasing evidence of direct German investment in some of the local papers, combined with the influence of the Bolshevik censor, and the opening next week at Moscow of a German press bureau makes it more imperative than ever that the Allies not only pursue a clear-cut, vigorous and well-coordinated [policy] in Russia, but make it perfectly clear to the Russian people what this policy is.
This morning neither the official nor unofficial press prints any further important news respecting developments in Siberia. Jenkins telegraphs from Chita fourteen dead Red Guards brought from Manchurian front. Evidently considerable fighting, and Semenov is gaining ground. Macgowan telegraphs order of Siberian Commissary, Foreign Affairs, forbidding acceptance code messages from foreign consuls. This will very seriously embarrass work there. Am endeavoring have order canceled.
Continued exchange of notes with Berlin respecting violations of Brest treaty, arising from continued German military advance. [Page 508] [Omission] reports Finnish White Guards have taken Fort Ino on mainland opposite Kronstadt, barely twenty-five miles from Petrograd and in conceded Russian territory. Finnish government detaining five Russian Red Cross ships at Helsingfors.
In south [omission] and official press bureau admits German advance to within short distance of Lugansk city. Apparently well-grounded rumor that Germany will support Ukraine in demand that Tsaritsyn be included in Ukraine border, thus giving control Volga trade. See my 402.1 In Caucasus, Turks having taken Batum and Ardakhan, are advancing on Kutais on way to Tiflis. Probably aim at complete control railway to Baku on route to Turkestan.