File No. 861.00/2687

The Second Secretary of Embassy in Russia ( Armour), temporarily at Stockholm, to the Secretary of State


2840. When Ambassador left Vologda for Archangel on July 25 he left me in Vologda as connecting link between himself and consulates. On arrival Archangel, finding that Bolsheviks had boat prepared for Ambassadors’ departure, he wired me to join him immediately, but Bolshevik authorities Vologda held up permit until after departure of vessel. Ambassador then instructed me to remain Vologda joining him when possible. July 26 local authorities compelled French to move into our Embassy, giving as reason need of rooms caused by arrival of Bolshevik staff evacuated from Archangel. I protested, but to no avail.

Archangel staff1 numbering about (two?) hundred arrived July 29 and was composed largely of former army officers. Although evacuation was officially due to impending Allied landing, it was generally believed that Kedrov, commissioner commanding northern front, had ascertained on visiting Archangel intention of staff to go over to Allies on their arrival, and therefore ordered retirement to Vologda.

On reports of landing of Allied troops,2 local authorities immediately showed open hostility to Allies and all Russians who had come in contact with us. The houses of friendly Russians and also Y.M.C.A. and National City Bank apartments were visited by night by troops, and in one or two cases Americans were arrested, though I was able to secure release without difficulty.

On August 1, Kedrov sent officer to Embassy demanding our immediate removal to Moscow, stating Vologda unsafe. I refused to leave on ground of presence of nationals, French secretary and British consul making same reply, but on the following day I was notified that special train would be ready that night to take us to Moscow. Upon my refusal to go to train, troops entered the Embassy during the night and took us with our baggage to the train which left August 3 under guard of ten soldiers. Before departure, Bolshevik authorities promised me I could await nationals forty versts distant. The train however was not permitted to stop before reaching Danilov, one hundred versts distant, from where I telegraphed to the Vologda authorities that they had broken their [Page 670] word and demanded that the train be held, which was granted. Three days later all American nationals [omission] consisting of members of the National City Bank and Y.M.C.A. passed through Danilov for Moscow.

I therefore telegraphed Mr. Poole placing myself under the jurisdiction of the Consulate General, and on the following day I was instructed to proceed to Petrograd as the Consul General had decided to leave the country owing to the arrest by the Bolsheviks of the Allied consular staffs and nationals.

This I was not permitted to do and our train proceeded to move on. At Yaroslavl our guard of ten was augmented by fifteen Magyars. Fearing that the latter might attempt to seize our documents I burned the red and green codes which had been entrusted me by the Ambassador before his departure. While officially I was not under arrest my movements during my stay at Danilov were particularly carefully watched and at all other places I was not permitted to leave the station platform.

A great section of Yaroslavl was destroyed during recent rising and the effect of the terrorist policy pursued by the Bolsheviks after its capture was still noticeable in the attitude of the people from Vologda to Moscow.

This uprising was brought about by the false announcement made by the Bolsheviks of our landing at Archangel and the consequent belief that Vologda would be also immediately taken, as shown by the fact that during the siege two young women arrived at Vologda bearing dispatches from the White Guard imploring the immediate sending of Allied troops from Vologda.

I consider that the disastrous result of this premature uprising will have the effect of discouraging any similar attempt until our troops are practically in sight.

On the arrival of the train at Moscow we were held in the train for an hour until Chicherin sent the order for our release.

  1. The Soviet military staff at Archangel.
  2. A contingent of U. S. troops landed at Archangel on Sept. 4; see vol. ii, chap. ii.