File No. 861.00/2818

The Consul at Moscow ( Poole) to the Secretary of State

No. 10

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a memorandum in duplicate concerning the arrest of British and French civilians in Moscow and the detention of the Allied consular corps and military missions. This memorandum has been drawn up at my request by Mr. Armour, Second Secretary of the Embassy, who recently arrived from Vologda, and covers events up until August 13, inclusive. Copies of the documents upon which this memorandum is based are also attached.

I have [etc.]

DeW. C. Poole, Jr.
[Enclosure 1]

Memorandum of Events in Moscow Following the Departure of the Allied Ambassadors for Archangel

On the evening of July 24 the American Consul was invited to the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs and informed by Mr. Chicherin of the impending departure of the Allied Ambassadors for Archangel. Mr. Chicherin explained that on July 23 he had telegraphed to the American Ambassador at Vologda, as dean of the Diplomatic Corps, once more urging him to come to Moscow as further residence in Vologda had become impossible on account of the danger threatening them there, stating that “to-morrow may be too late.” Mr. Chicherin added that on the same evening the Ambassadors had entered their train demanding the locomotive to take them to Archangel, but that this had been refused by the railroad authorities, who declined to grant a locomotive for any destination other than Moscow except upon the direct order of Chicherin. Mr. Chicherin then read a telegram from Mr. Francis, in which the latter set forth the reasons leading up to the decision to depart, particular emphasis being laid upon the interruption of communication with his Government in Washington. The Ambassador also referred to an order given to the press at Vologda, and presumably to the press of all Russia, prohibiting the publication of statements from the Ambassadors, remarking that he had understood that secret diplomacy had come to an end in Russia. Mr. Chicherin stated in his reply that he had answered and explained the points raised in Mr. Francis’s telegram and that, if the Ambassadors still insisted upon leaving for Archangel, they would be provided with the proper facilities. However, that as Archangel [Page 647] was not a fit place for their residence, owing to the imminence of a British advance, they would not be permitted to remain there, but a vessel would be provided, to take them to sea, where they might be transferred to a British vessel.

Mr. Chicherin then requested Mr. Poole to inform the American Government that insistence upon the removal of the Ambassadors to Moscow resulted from circumstances not within the control of the Soviets; that is, the impending White Guard uprising in Vologda, etc., that the Soviet government deeply regretted the departure of the Ambassadors from Russia and hoped that the American Government would not regard this as affecting the friendly relations between the two nations; and finally that the Russian Government earnestly hoped that the Consulate General would remain at Moscow. Mr. Poole replied that, having had no direct word from the Ambassador on the subject of his departure and being in general without instructions in the matter, he had no authority to speak on the subject officially, but that in his personal view he did not think that the departure of the Ambassadors need affect the situation fundamentally; that in the absence of other instructions from Washington the Consulate General would continue at Moscow as long as circumstances permitted and the privileges and immunities necessary to the discharge of his duties, principally facilities for communication with his government, were afforded the Consul (see memorandum of the American Consul’s conversation with Mr. Chicherin of July 24, 1918, Document A, also radiotelegram to Paris for the Department of State, dated July 25, 1918. See also American Consul’s telegram to Washington of July 25, Document A, 11).

In an interview published in the official Soviet gazette, the Izvestia, for July 25, the Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Chicherin, said that he could state categorically that the departure of the Allied Ambassadors would not in any way interfere in the relations between the Soviet government and the Allies; that the Soviet government deeply regretted that the Allied Ambassadors had not decided to accept the invitation to come to Moscow and that their departure from Vologda for Archangel could only be regarded by the Soviet government as the first step toward their departure from Russia, since, owing to military conditions, it was obviously impossible for them to remain there; finally that the Soviet government could see no reason, even after the departure of the Allied diplomats, why diplomatic relations should not continue with the Allied powers through their consular representatives in Moscow (Document B2).

The following official statement on the same subject was published in the Izvestia for July 26, 1918:

On July 25, the American Consul General, Mr. Poole, whose duty it is to support diplomatic relations in Moscow with the Soviet government, visited the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs and stated in the name of the English diplomatic representative, Mr. Lockhart, and the Consuls General of France, Italy and Japan, that they approved of the statement he had made the day before to the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs, which is in substance as follows:

According to the personal point of view of the Allied Consuls, there is no need to suppose that the political situation should be affected in its essential points by the departure of the Ambassadors who reside at Vologda.

The above-mentioned representatives of the Allied powers intend to remain in Moscow as long as circumstances make this possible and as long as they [Page 648] enjoy the privileges and immunities due to them particularly the possibility of unhindered communication with their Governments, unless they receive instructions to the contrary.

In spite of these reiterated assurances of friendly feeling by the Commissar for Foreign Affairs, the Soviet government almost immediately proceeded to enter upon a policy of unmistakable hostility.

On the evening of July 26 the Allied representatives, consisting of the British diplomatic representative and the Consuls General of France, Italy and the United States, were received by Mr. Chicherin and Mr. Karakhan. The American Consul made an oral protest in the name of the Allies against the continued detention without adequate reason of a French noncommissioned officer and a French soldier, as well as of Polish and Czech soldiers who had previously been arrested by the Soviet authorities. It was then pointed out that the chief difficulties recently at issue between the Allies and the Soviet government arose from the continuance in Russia of a considerable Allied military personnel and it was proposed that to obviate further difficulties of the same nature the Foreign Office should provide facilities for the departure abroad of the military attachés and their personnel, including the former military missions, as well as for the departure of certain Poles and Czechs, who were being transported in accordance with their desire, for service in France. The Commissariat for Foreign Affairs immediately agreed in principle to the departure of these persons, suggesting only that in view of the large number of Italian soldiers material difficulties might be encountered. It was agreed that a conference should be held at once by representatives of the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs and Commissariat for War and representatives of the Allied nations, with a view to determining the best means of carrying out the departure of these persons practically (Document C1).

On July 29, the American Consul addressed a note to the People’s Commissar, referring to the conference of the day previous in which he requested that facilities be provided for the departure on the day following of the American military officers, assistants to the military attaché, left in Russia (Document D2).

So far as is known the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs took no steps to organize the conference referred to above, but on July 29, informed the Allied representatives very briefly that in view of the situation at Archangel, the departure of the military attachés must be indefinitely delayed (Document E3).

At a special joint session of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, the Moscow Soviet and the representatives of trade-unions, factory committees and other labor organizations convoked at Moscow on July 29, to discuss the general situation, Lenin, President of the Council of People’s Commissars, repeated and emphasized in the course of his speech before this body that a state of war existed between the Soviet republic and the Allies.

On July 30, the British diplomatic representative and the Consuls General of France, Italy and the United States called at the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs and inquired whether they should consider this declaration by the head of the Soviet government as an actual declaration of war, entailing the rupture of the present de facto relations and the departure of the Allied representatives. The Commissar for Foreign Affairs replied somewhat evasively that there existed a state of defense rather than a state of war; that, in the new order of ideas established by his government a declaration of the character in question need not necessarily entail a rupture of relations, and that the Soviet government desires to maintain the same relations with the Entente as it has had [Page 649] with the Central powers under analogous circumstances (having reference to the events following the negotiations at Brest). The Allied representatives, reserving for the future consideration of any explanation which might be made, pointed out to the Commissar that they could not concur in secret diplomacy, whereby a clear statement made without qualification before a large public assembly (800 persons being present), should be materially qualified subsequently by explanations made behind the closed doors of a Foreign Office. They said that a statement such as Lenin had made has a specific meaning accepted by the civilized world since time immemorial and entails certain unavoidable consequences; that if a declaration of this character were not to be given a new meaning and to be followed by other consequences, then it would clearly be the duty of those desiring to bring about such changes to make the necessary explanations.

Furthermore, to be in keeping with the principle of open diplomacy, as wide publicity must be given to the explanations as was given to the original statement.

Passing to the subject of the members of the former military missions, the Allied representatives pointed out that the right of these persons to depart when they wished was clearly established by international law and usage and admitting of no qualification whatsoever, and that the objections raised to their departure were factitious and inadmissible. They said that the Archangel route was not insisted upon and had been mentioned only as being apparently the most convenient; that it was quite out of the question that no practicable route could be found by which so small a number of persons could depart; and that the failure of the Soviet government to facilitate the departure of these persons could only be attributed to an absence of good will, involving bad faith with respect to the agreement heretofore made in principle and concretely confirming Lenin’s statement that a state of war exists.

The Allied representatives referred to their intention, already expressed and accepted by the Soviet government, to remain in Moscow as long as they were granted the usual privileges and immunities, and pointed out that Lenin’s statement was a direct contradiction of the expression of satisfaction by the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs at the continuance of the Allied representatives here. They said that, if within a reasonable time, that is two or three days, Lenin did not publicly explain his statement in some satisfactory way and if at the same time provision were not made for the departure of the Allied military attachés with their personnel, the Allied representatives would be forced to the conclusion that Lenin’s statement was intended to be taken in its generally accepted sense and that the Soviet government, apparently not desiring that the Allied representatives should longer continue here, would provide facilities for their departure. Chicherin said that he would lay the matter before the Council of Commissars and give a reply to the Allied representative in three days.

On July 31 a report of this conference was sent by radio to the French Foreign Office for communication to the Allied missions in Paris (Document F1).

On July 31 the Japanese Consul, Ueda, called on Mr. Karakhan and informed him that the Japanese representatives were in full agreement with the position assumed by the Allied representatives at the conference on the previous day and that the Japanese intended to follow the same course of action [Page 650] as that outlined by their colleagues. Regarding the speech made by Mr. Lenin, Mr. Karakhan explained that England and France had already commenced military operations on Russian territory, but that the Soviet republic had not yet declared war against them. He added that the Soviet government intended to publish a communiqué explaining the exact meaning of Lenin’s speech. Mr. Karakhan said that he was of the opinion that certain of the Allied representatives were seeking an excuse to leave Russia but that the Soviet government desired that they should remain, particularly the Japanese. Mr. Ueda replied once more that the Japanese would follow the same course of action as the Allies. Referring to the Allied military missions, Mr. Karakhan said that while they would probably ultimately be permitted to leave Russia, in view of the difficulties of the situation it might be some time before this could actually take place, but that Japan, not having commenced military operations and having but one military attaché, there would probably be no objection to his departure (Document G1).

On August 2, Mr. Chicherin addressed a personal note to the American Consul, informing him that as Lenin’s statement concerning the present state of relations between the Soviet government and the Allies was made behind closed doors, a public explanation of the meaning of the speech could not be made. As regards the members of the Allied missions, he stated that the departure through Archangel would be quite out of the question owing to the fact that British cruisers had already begun the bombardment of the islands surrounding Archangel, but the Soviet government had opened negotiations with the German authorities with a view to obtaining safe passage for these officers from Petrograd to Stockholm (Document H1).

It will be noted that Mr. Chicherin makes no mention in his note of the conference arranged for in the interview of July 30 by which a committee, composed of representatives of the Commissariats for Foreign Affairs and for War together with representatives of the Allied nations, was to be called to discuss the best means of carrying out the departure.

On August 2, at the Swedish Consulate General, a meeting was held at which the Consuls General of France and the United States placed before the Consuls General of Sweden and Denmark a full statement of the facts concerning the refusal of the Soviet government to provide facilities for the departure of the Allied military attachés and their staffs. The Allied representatives explained that they considered it their duty to bring this matter to the attention of the neutral representatives, because the course of action taken by the Soviet government was clearly in violation of one of the fundamental principles of international law and therefore touched the interests of the neutrals as much as those of the Allies. The neutral representatives immediately concurred in this point of view and announced their intention of protesting to the Commissar for Foreign Affairs.

Shortly after this interview Mr. Radek, Chief of the Central European Division for Foreign Affairs, called on the Swedish Consul General. The question of the departure of the military missions being broached, he informed the Consul General without equivocation or reserve that it was the intention of the Soviet government to detain all Allied agents at Moscow to be shot off one by one in the measure that the advancing Anglo-French imperialists in the north dealt similarly with Soviet members. At the same time Mr. Widerstrom arranged for a conference with the Commissar for Foreign Affairs for August 3. Prior to this conference the Swedish Consul [Page 651] General was furnished by the Allied representatives with a memorandum in which the following points were raised:

The insistence on the immediate departure of the Allied military missions by any way practicable (the safe-conduct given by the United States to permit the German officials in China after the entrance of the latter into the war to proceed through the United States was cited as a precedent for Germany’s giving safe-conduct to the Allied missions to proceed through Finland);
To demand an explanation of the statement made by Radek to the Swedish Consul General that it was the intention of the Soviet government to hold Allied Consuls and their agents as hostages; and finally to inform the Commissariat unofficially that the Allied Consuls, finding it increasingly difficult to remain in Moscow owing to the uncertainty of communication with their Governments and the difficulty of obtaining satisfaction in response to representations made on behalf of their nationals, felt that the necessity would soon arise for them to withdraw from their posts and hoped that the Soviet government would at once take the necessary steps to assure means for their departure when this should become necessary (Document 11).

On August 3, the Swedish Consul General reported that he had called at the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs by appointment, accompanied by his colleagues of Denmark and Switzerland. They were received by Mr. Karakhan, Mr. Chicherin not being present. While Mr. Karakhan appears to have raised the question of continued presence of Russian soldiers in France, nevertheless the Swedish Consul General obtained the impression that the military missions would be allowed to depart freely as soon as the necessary safe-conducts were assured by Germany. Karakhan repudiated the statements by Radek regarding the Allied Diplomatic Corps and informed Mr. Widerstrom that the diplomatic and consular representatives were at liberty freely to depart whenever they chose.

On Monday, August 5, by order of the de facto authorities about 200 British and French subjects were arrested. In the majority of cases the prisoners were confined in the former prefecture but some were put into prison. On the afternoon of the same day the Consuls General of Sweden, Japan and the United States conferred with Messrs. Chicherin and Karakhan on the subject of the arrests of the Allied citizens and officials which had been made during the course of the day. Mr. Chicherin stated that it was not the intention of the Soviet government to arrest persons having a diplomatic or official character and promised that all such persons should be forthwith liberated. He then raised the question as to the personnel of the former military missions, stating that some solution regarding their departure was still being sought. As regards the arrest of private persons, Mr. Chicherin stated that the British and French military forces had occupied Archangel and were killing members of the Soviet without a previous declaration of war; that this was a breach of international law; and that as a state of war now existed de facto, British and French citizens were being held as civilian prisoners and would be placed in internment camps; and that if the killing of Soviet members continued in the north, the Soviet government could not be responsible for the lives of interned prisoners. The Consuls pointed out to him that these persons were then in effect hostages. Before their departure Mr. Chicherin once more reiterated that persons of diplomatic or consular character would not be interfered with (Document J,1 see also telegram sent to Washington through the Swedish Consulate General on same date, Document K;2 and also telegram to Washington direct, Document L2).

[Page 652]

Within an hour after this conference armed troops sent by the de facto authorities forcibly invaded the premises of the Consulates General of Great Britain and France and arrested the Consuls General and their staffs.

In the case of Mr. Wardrop, the British Consul General, troops entered the Consulate General against his protest and produced a warrant signed by Serebryakov, Vice President of the Presidium of the Moscow Soviet. The official premises of the Consulates were then put under seal. The British Consul General, upon declining to accede to the order of arrest except under physical compulsion, was allowed to remain in his private rooms at the Consulate General. A guard, however, was placed around the building and the nationals were not permitted to approach (Document K, 11).

The French Consul General, however, and his staff together with the staff of the British Consulate General, were placed in confinement in the former prefecture on the Tverskoi Boulevard. When the troops entered the French Consulate General, M. Grenard demanded upon what authority they did so, whereupon the leader produced a document signed by a member of the Moscow Soviet. As the French Consul General refused to accept this, stating that he could only acknowledge documents signed by the Commissar for Foreign Affairs, the troops withdrew, but returned shortly with another document issued by the same office, stating that he would have to submit himself to arrest. As a result of the efforts of the Swedish Consul General, the French Consul General, the French Consul M. LaBonne, the French Consul General from Warsaw and his two assistants, the British Consul from Tiflis, the Vice Consul from Kiev and Vice Consul Lowden were released about 2 o’clock the following morning. It appeared from negotiations leading up to this release, in which the Consuls General of Japan and the United States took part, that the arrest had taken place by order of the Moscow Soviet, possibly without the knowledge of the People’s Commissars. While the People’s Commissars seemed willing to order the release of the consular officers, they had difficulty in securing the concurrence of the Moscow Soviet, with the result that three British Vice Consuls were retained in prison forty-eight hours longer. The clerks of the French Consulate General were not released until August 9. These acts were committed immediately following the solemn assurance of Commissar for Foreign Affairs that all persons having diplomatic or consular character should be respected (Document L2).

The de facto authorities made every effort to conceal the affair, reports appearing in the papers merely saying that, on account of the British and French invasion of Russian territory, proper precautionary measures had been taken to intern civilians of these nationalities, care being taken, however, not to proceed against women or children or persons of advanced age. As a matter of fact women and children and men up to seventy years of age were arrested.

On the same day the American Consul General wrote to the Swedish Consul General, asking him to take over the American interests in Moscow should the necessity arise (Document M3).

On the following day Mr. Poole wrote again to the Swedish Consul General pointing out that, in view of the arrest of the Consuls General of Great Britain and France with their staffs and fearing that the same action might be taken against himself, he had found it necessary to destroy his official codes and to take other measures of a practical nature. At the same time he requested that steps be taken to obtain the necessary facilities for the immediate departure of the American consular staff (Document N3).

[Page 653]

On the same day the American Consul received from the Commissar for Foreign Affairs a long letter addressed to Mr. Poole personally, in which Mr. Chicherin expressed at some length the ideas of the Bolshevik form of government, stating that it desires to make war against no nation, but that its territory had been invaded by Anglo-French armed forces, as a result of which it was forced to take the necessary measures to defend itself. Mr. Chicherin closed his letter with the following paragraph … (Document O1).

This letter, having been received after the decision of the American Consul to place American interests under the protection of the Swedish Consul General, was acknowledged to the Commissar for Foreign Affairs through Mr. Widerstrom (Document P2).

Owing to the unsettled state of affairs and probable departure of the Consuls General from Moscow, the latter sent word to the Secretaries of the French and American Embassies left at Vologda, as well as to the British Vice Consul there, to proceed at once to Petrograd, and there to place themselves under the protection of the neutral legations representing their respective countries. However, these officers had already been forced to leave Vologda under the compulsion of the local authorities and received this word from Moscow only at Danilov while they were awaiting the arrival of their nationals from Vologda. They immediately applied to the Vologda authorities once more for permission to proceed to Petrograd direct, but were informed that they could not be permitted to return to Vologda but must continue their journey to Petrograd via Moscow, which they forthwith proceeded to do, arriving at Moscow on the afternoon of August 8. During their entire journey, lasting in all five days (four of which were spent at Danilov), they were under a guard of ten soldiers, placed in the train by the Commissar for Military Affairs at Vologda “for their protection.” This guard was further augmented on arrival at Yaroslavl by fifteen Magyars.

On the evening of August 7, the Japanese Consul General left Moscow for Petrograd, the idea being that he should there await the German safe-conduct, proceeding to Stockholm immediately upon its issuance in order that no time might be lost in acquainting the Allied Governments with the true state of affairs in Moscow and Russia. It is probable that the American Consul General might also have left at this time but he refused to avail himself of the opportunity, firstly because he felt that he might be of assistance to his French and British colleagues who were at that time exposed to the danger of reprisals, and secondly because, in spite of the possible danger, there appeared to be certain advantages to be gained in remaining for the present. During the course of the day (August 7) the liberation was obtained of a number of French and British citizens who had been arrested as hostages, the condition of the ninety remaining in prison being greatly ameliorated thanks to the efforts of the Swedish Consul General and the International and American Red Cross.

On the evening of August 7, Mr. Chicherin informed the Swedish Consul General of the conditions upon which the Allied military missions would be allowed to leave Russia. These conditions included: (1) free departure from England of the Russian representative, Mr. Litvinov, and of all Russian citizens now in England in an official capacity; (2) return to Russia of all Russian soldiers in France by every available route (evacuation to be conducted with the help of the International Red Cross and three representatives of the Russian Red Cross). The third condition, providing that all members of the Allied missions should give their words of honor not to take part in the future in any operations against the Soviet government, while originally put forward was later not insisted upon.

[Page 654]

On the night of August 8 the American Consul received a note from the Commissar for Foreign Affairs advising him of the arrival of the Secretaries from Vologda and stating that every precaution had been taken to protect them en route (Document Q1). Mr. Poole acknowledged this letter through the Swedish Consul General stating:

I have the honor to inform you that the Allied representatives at Vologda, after having been forcibly ejected from their official residences, have arrived at Moscow under guard (Document P1).

On August 9, the neutral Consuls General addressed a general note to the Commissar for Foreign Affairs acknowledging receipt of the conditions governing the departure of the Allied missions and stating that their substance was being forwarded to the Governments of the Allied powers through the medium of the Swedish Government. It was further explained that the British diplomatic representative had already telegraphed to the English Government regarding the departure of Mr. Litvinov and that he was confident that a satisfactory answer would be received. Furthermore, as regards the departure of Russian troops from France, that the French Military Attaché, General Lavergne, had sent a telegram to Paris asking for confirmation of the agreement already made concerning the repatriation of Russian troops and furthermore requesting that their return be hastened as much as possible (Documents R and S1).

On August 11 the Consuls General of France and America addressed a note to the Swedish Consul General on behalf of the “representatives of the Allied powers at Moscow,” in which they stated that while the governments of the Allied powers had too lofty a sentiment of justice and humanity to consider the exercise of reprisals against persons not directly responsible for the illegal acts committed against peaceful nationals of the Allied countries residing in Moscow, nevertheless they could not answer for the effect which the knowledge of these events might have upon the Allied troops now on Russian territory. It was suggested that the Swedish Consul General might bring this to the attention of the Soviet authorities, informing them that the Governments of the Allies, desiring to avoid such unfortunate events, hoped that the Soviet authorities would take the necessary steps to bring about the release of the prisoners in question (Document T1).

On the 13th of August, no reply having been received from the Soviet authorities regarding the departure of the Allied consulates and missions in spite of the insistent demands made through the medium of the Swedish Consul General, the Allied Consuls once more presented to the neutral representatives a memorandum stating that, in view of the actual circumstances and after eight days of negotiations, they considered it indispensable to decide immediately the question of the departure for the following reasons:

That they have satisfied the demands presented by the Soviet (a) as far as Mr. Litvinov is concerned by the assurances from Mr. Lockhart; (b) as far as the Russian troops in France are concerned by the telegram sent and received by the French Consul General. Moreover, they consider that the free departure from Russia of the Allied representatives will furnish the best guarantee for the fulfilment of these demands.
That the departure of all the diplomatic, consular and military representatives of Germany has taken place without opposition on the part of the Soviet government: that this departure aggravates considerably the situation of the Allied representatives in Russia and renders their free departure a matter of immediate necessity. If, in consequence of any obstructions and postponement, the dangers which threaten the Allies should be raised, the [Page 655] Allied peoples would see in these obstructions the most flagrant violation of Russia’s neutrality and of international law and at the same time a clear act of injustice and of hostility capable of producing the gravest consequences.
In consequence, the diplomatic and military representatives with all their personnel demand the necessary permission to leave and request that measures be taken to enable them to leave Moscow to-morrow morning, August 14. In view of the actual circumstances the route via Petrograd no longer seems sufficiently safe, the Allied representatives request therefore to follow the only possible route in Russian territory and to be sent to Kotlas via Vologda and Vyatka (Document U1).

During the afternoon of the 13th the Swedish Consul General was informed by Mr. Chicherin that he had received a telegram from the representative of the Soviet government at Berlin, Mr. Joffe, stating that the German Government agreed in principle to the departure of the Allied representatives and missions from Russia, but that before actually issuing the necessary safe-conducts it would be necessary to have full and complete lists of the names of all the individuals for whom the safe-conducts were requested. It was furthermore stated that the German Government was negotiating on the subject with the British Government through the medium of the Dutch Legation in Berlin with a view to securing the permission of the British Government for the German subjects now in China to be permitted to remain there and not to be transferred to Australia in accordance with the plan recently formulated by the British authorities; this to be in compensation for the departure of the Allied missions from Russia.

[Subenclosure 1—Document A]

Memorandum of a conversation between the American Consul ( Poole) and the Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs ( Chicherin), July 24, 1918

About 9 p.m., July 24, I was invited to the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs by Mr. Chicherin. He spoke first of the difficulties with the telegraph, saying that nevertheless the radiograms of the Consulate General were being sent promptly to Paris.

He then referred to the departure of the Ambassadors from Vologda, saying that a day or so ago upon receiving an intimation that the American Ambassador had asked for a train, he again telegraphed him saying that it was impossible that the Diplomatic Corps remain at Vologda, for the reasons already stated and which he now repeated, and begging them to come to Moscow. Their reply was to order a train for Archangel. He said they were now in this train at Vologda awaiting a locomotive. He then read me a long telegram addressed to himself by Mr. Francis, of which the substance, so far as I can recall, is about as follows:

Although we have been in our train for twenty-four hours, we are still without a locomotive, being informed that one can be given only upon order from Moscow. Mr. Francis was under the impression that the question of the removal of the Diplomatic Corps to Moscow was settled by previous telegraphic-correspondence, that is, negatively. He them reviewed various difficulties which the Ambassadors had encountered, placing special emphasis upon the absence of facilities for telegraphic communication. He mentioned a telegram from the Department of State in which the Department stated it had not heard from him since June 24 with the exception of one message sent through Archangel and that it had telegraphed him frequently and fully. Mr. Francis also referred to an order given to the press at Vologda and presumably to the press [Page 656] of all Russia, prohibiting publication of statements from the Ambassadors, remarking that he had understood that secret diplomacy had come to an end in Russia. He then referred to a statement in an earlier telegram from Mr. Chicherin, that Archangel might soon undergo “a siege.” He said that he presumed that Mr. Chicherin did not have in mind a siege by the Germans, that none was to be expected by the Allies, and that if a siege of Archangel by Russians was suggested, he could only reiterate the earlier expression of complete confidence of the Ambassadors in the Russian people. Mr. Francis spoke finally of the friendship of the Allies for the Russian people.

I informed Mr. Chicherin that I was still without any direct word from the Ambassador on the subject of his departure, having heard of the matter only indirectly through one of my colleagues; that I therefore had no authority to speak on the subject officially but could only give my personal views. These were that the insistence by the Soviets on the Ambassador’s removal to Moscow had been inopportune and was aggravated by Radek’s manner of fulfilling his mission as well as by certain incidents, such as continued arrest of Italian soldiers and of two French officers. He replied that the Italian soldiers would be released to-morrow. As for the French officers, the conduct of the French had in many instances been quite impossible necessitating arrests of this character. I explained that I was not competent to discuss the details of this question but that he must understand that the French were our Allies and that we assumed full responsibility for whatever they did. If the conduct of the French in Russia had not been proper, they should be asked to leave. As long as they remained they must be accorded full privileges and consideration, and that in any eventuality our action would be common, that is to say, if one left, we would all leave and that while we remain we would consider any infringement of diplomatic privilege practiced against the French as being directed against ourselves also.

Returning to the question of the Ambassadors, I informed Mr. Chicherin that in my personal view the Ambassadors would not come to Moscow. He said then that they would have to leave Russia. He said that he had telegraphed to Vologda explanation of the various points raised by Mr. Francis; that if they still insisted on leaving for Archangel, however, they would be provided with the necessary facilities and that at Archangel a ship would take them to sea where they might be transferred to a British vessel. I asked if the departure of the Ambassadors would involve also the departure of the Consuls from Moscow. He replied that he hoped not. He asked me to inform the American Government that circumstances which they could not control had forced the Soviet government to insist upon the removal of the Ambassadors to Moscow. If they chose instead to leave Russia, the Soviet government regretted this exceedingly and at the same time expressed an earnest desire that this should not work any change in the relations heretofore existing between the American Government and that of the Soviet republic.

I informed him that until contrary instructions might be received from the Ambassador or the Department of State, it was my intention to remain in Moscow as long as the Soviet authorities would permit, that is to say, as long as they would allow me a reasonable share of such facilities for communication as might exist, would afford me the consideration and privileges due to my position, and assure my personal security. Mr. Chicherin replied that it was very much the desire of the Soviet government that our relations should continue as heretofore.

Finally, I reiterated to Mr. Chicherin that I was without instructions and moreover had had no opportunity of considering various questions raised by this [Page 657] new situation; that I would consult with my colleagues reporting to them the substance of our conversation; and would call upon him about noon tomorrow to learn what further news he had from Vologda and at the same time to hand him a telegram to the American Embassy at Paris explaining the situation to the American Government.

[Subenclosure 2—Document A, 1—Telegram]

The American Consul at Moscow ( Poole) to the Secretary of State 1

Last evening Chicherin communicated to me substance of recent telegraphic correspondence between him and the American Ambassador as Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, from which it transpires that Chicherin telegraphed Mr. Francis 23d again urging Diplomatic Corps to come to Moscow because at Vologda “danger threatening them to-morrow”; that Ambassadors entered train same evening in attempt to leave for Archangel but up to time of my conference with Chicherin had been unable to do so because railroad officials declined locomotive for any destination other than Moscow except upon direct order from Chicherin. Chicherin said locomotive would be furnished if Ambassadors insisted but that as Archangel was not a fit place for their residence owing to imminence of British advance they could not remain there but must forthwith leave Russia.

He then requested me to inform American Government that insistence upon removal of the Ambassadors to Moscow results from circumstances not within control of Soviets, that is, impending White Guard uprising at Vologda, etc.; that Soviet government deeply regrets Ambassadors’ leaving Russia and hopes that the American Government will not regard this as affecting friendly relations; and finally that Soviet government earnestly hopes Consulate General will continue at Moscow.

I replied that I had had no direct word whatsoever from the Ambassador regarding departure and was in general quite without instructions; that inasmuch as Soviet government had never been recognized, in my personal view departure of the Ambassadors need not affect situation fundamentally; that in the absence of other instructions from the Department Consulate General would continue at Moscow as long as Soviet government permitted, that is to say, as long as it was afforded means of communication and other usual privileges and courtesies. Finally I said I would transmit to the Department the message above stated but would add that in my personal view the present situation has been created solely by inopportune and unnecessary insistence upon the Ambassadors’ removal to Moscow and that if the Ambassadors now leave Russia the responsibility therefor rests entirely upon the Soviet government.

[File copy not signed]
[Subenclosure 3—Document D]

The American Consul at Moscow ( Poole) to the Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs ( Chicherin)

Sir: Having reference to our conference of the 26th instant, I have to request that facilities be provided for the departure to-morrow evening of Captain Prince, assistant to the American military attaché, as it has been found impracticable, under the American regulations, to attach him to the consular staff.

[Page 658]

Lieutenant Bukowski, also assistant to the American military attaché, is now at Petrograd, and Lieutenant Packer, another assistant, is at Vologda. It is desirable that these two officers also depart without delay. I have accordingly to request that the necessary papers be provided for them and that Captain Prince be permitted to take these papers with him.

Learning that the French military attaché is leaving to-morrow evening also, in company with his staff, I suggest that the facilities provided for them be made available also for Captain Prince.

I have [etc.]

DeWitt C. Poole, Jr.
[Subenclosure 4—Document E]

The Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs ( Chicherin) to the American Consul at Moscow ( Poole)

Dear Mr. Poole: It is unfortunately impossible for me as yet to give you a definite answer about the possibility of departure through Archangel. It is in consequence necessary to delay any action in the sense indicated in your letter of to-day until the situation in Archangel is such as to make the possibility of departure unquestionable.

Yours very truly,

G. Chicherin
[Subenclosure 5—Document M]

The American Consul at Moscow ( Poole) to the Swedish Consul General ( Widerstrom)

Sir: I have the honor to request that, whenever it may be necessary for me to quit my post at Moscow for the time being, or in case the present de facto authorities forcibly interfere with the further exercise of my functions, you kindly take over at once the protection of American interests in the district of Moscow, until such time as other arrangements may be made.

In order to lessen as much as possible the burden to be imposed upon your Consulate General, I am leaving Mr. Alexander Krilichevski, a Russian citizen, heretofore attorney for the American Consulate General, to act as business agent and office manager during the absence of an American officer. There is enclosed herewith, for your information, a copy of the general instructions which I have given Mr. Krilichevski.

I take this occasion to express to you my deep appreciation of your support and cooperation during these recent troubled times and to assure you in advance of the gratitude of my Government for your activities in behalf of American interests.

I have [etc.]

DeWitt C. Poole, Jr.
[Subenclosure 6—Document N]

The American Consul at Moscow ( Poole) to the Swedish Consul General ( Widerstrom)

Sir: Referring to my letter of yesterday, I now have the honor to confirm the facts already known to you, that, the present de facto authorities having forcibly trespassed upon the premises of the Consulates General of Great Britain and France and arrested the Consuls General and their staffs, I find myself in the material impossibility of continuing the exercise of my functions.

[Page 659]

It is hardly necessary for me to recall that this violence took place immediately after the Commissar for Foreign Affairs had given the most solemn assurances in your presence that all persons having a consular character would be respected. Having no certainty in these circumstances that the Consulate General of the United States would not also be violated at any moment, it became necessary for me to destroy my official codes and take other measures of a practical nature which now necessitate, even in the absence of other consideration, that I withdraw with my staff to some point beyond the control of the government of Moscow.

Will you be so kind as to confirm these facts to the de facto authorities and to request the necessary facilities for the immediate departure of the American Consular Staff, of which a detailed list is herewith enclosed.

At the same time I have to ask you to inform the Commissar for Foreign Affairs that I have received his note of August 5, and that I shall not fail to transmit it textually to my superiors, as soon as I reach Stockholm or some other point where I shall have adequate facilities, for reporting upon the entire situation.

I have [etc.]

DeWitt C. Poole, Jr.
[Subenclosure 7—Document O]

The Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs ( Chicherin) to the American Consul at Moscow ( Poole)

Dear Mr. Poole: At the moment when after the unjustifiable Anglo-French incursion Citizen Lenin declared in a speech that the Anglo-French were in fact making war upon us and you came to us to ask whether we are at war or at peace and whether you must remain with us, I answered that our people is still at peace with the peoples of your countries and that in order to enable you to remain here as the representative of America you would continue to have the same facilities as before for communicating with your Government. These facilities are still in your hands so far as these depend upon us, seeing that the stoppage of telegraphic communication through Murmansk is the work of Britain and not ours. We, on our part, have placed at your disposal our only means of communication with your Government, our wireless stations, and these being at your disposal we ask you to make it known to your Government as well as to the great masses of the people abroad that an unwarranted attack, an act of sheer violence, is being made upon us. We have done nothing to provoke this aggression, our people want nothing else but to remain in peace and friendship with all the toiling masses of all other countries. In the midst of peace the Anglo-French armed forces have made a violent irruption into our borders taking by force our villages and our towns, shooting down the faithful responsible workers of the Soviets, disbanding the workers’ organizations and throwing their members into prison or sending them away from their homes, with nothing to justify their acts of robbery. No declaration of war was made against us and without a state of war being declared, battles are being fought against us and our national property is being robbed. Against us no right is recognized, no rule is upheld by those who have sent this force of invaders. Because we, the first in the world, have established a government of the exploited and of the poor, against us pure banditism is considered permissible, and the people who have not declared war upon us are operating by us like barbarians.

But we, the Soviets of the exploited and the poor, are not barbarians like these invaders. To those who are shooting down the members of our Soviets [Page 660] we do not answer by doing the same upon the representatives of these Governments. The official agents with diplomatic capacity of these same Governments are enjoying the immunity that their authorities refuse to the members of our Soviets. In adopting this attitude toward the official representatives of Great Britain and France, we are also taking into consideration your insistent demands seeing in you the representative of a people who, with your words, “will not do anything against the Soviets.” When we answer the measures of war carried out against us with measures of precaution like putting into concentration camps nationals of the invading powers, we are considering them as civilian prisoners. And these measures of precaution we apply only to members of the propertied classes who are our adversaries, no such measure is applied to our natural allies, the workers of these same countries who are now residing here. The working classes of the whole world are our friends, and even now, to those countries whose armies are perpetrating against us undisguised violence, even to their people we declare, “Peace to the houses of the poor.”

Seeing that you have declared that your people does not wish to overthrow the Soviets, we ask you whether you cannot make it clear to us what Britain really wants from us. Is its aim to overthrow the most popular form of government that the world has seen, the Soviets of the workers and of the poor; is its aim counter-revolution? Seeing its acts we can think that it is so. We can think that it intends to restore the worst tyranny of the world, odious tsarism. Or does it want a specific conquest, a definite town or some strip of land that it can name to us? Remembering your friendliness I hope that you will help to enlighten us upon this problem which faces us at the present moment.

Yours truly,

G. Chicherin
  1. Post, p. 655; ante, p. 623; and post, p. 657.
  2. Not printed; see the Consul’s telegram No. 38, July 25, ante, p. 623.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Post, p. 657.
  5. Post, p. 658.
  6. See enclosure No. 1 in telegram No. 2629, Aug. 12, from the Chargé in Sweden, ante, p. 641.
  7. Not printed.
  8. Not printed.
  9. Not printed.
  10. Not printed.
  11. See reports of Aug. 5 and 6 in telegram No. 2629, Aug. 12, from the Chargé in Sweden, ante, p. 641.
  12. See reports of Aug. 5 and 6 in telegram No. 2629, Aug. 12, from the Chargé in Sweden, ante, p. 641.
  13. Not printed.
  14. See report of Aug. 6 in telegram No. 2629, Aug. 12, from the Chargé in ante, p. 641.
  15. Post, p. 658.
  16. Post, p. 658.
  17. Post, p. 659.
  18. Not printed.
  19. Not printed.
  20. Not printed.
  21. Not printed.
  22. Not printed.
  23. Not printed.
  24. Original, sent via wireless to Paris, not received at Department.