File No. 861.00/3020

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

Sir: I have the honor to furnish herewith, for information of the Department, four copies of the letter addressed to the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of September 8, 1918, by the chief of the American Red Cross in Russia, protesting against the extreme measures now being adopted by the Soviet government against Russian citizens.

In this connection reference is made to my unnumbered despatch of September 4, 1918, transmitting copies of a similar communication addressed to the Commissar for Foreign Affairs by me personally.

I have [etc.]

DeWitt C. Poole

The Chief of the American Red Cross Commission to Russia ( Wardwell) to the Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs ( Chicherin)

Dear Sir: In the name of humanity I feel it my duty as representing the American Red Cross in Russia to protest against the extreme measures now being adopted by the Soviet government against its own subjects. I realize that criminal attempts upon the lives of prominent Commissars may call for [Page 686] severe measures against the guilty. As to the punishment for such political or personal crimes the American Red Cross cannot concern itself nor does it attempt to suggest that such punishment be extenuated, however much it would approve, should a more clement policy be adopted particularly where large numbers of persons are involved. However the recent announcements of the beginning of a class terror indicate an intention upon the part of the government to wreak a bloody vengeance upon a whole section of the people, for no other reason than that they are suspected of holding political views different from those of the authorities in power, although they may have taken no steps against such authorities. That this announcement is no mere threat, is made clear by the official statement that after the death of Commissar Uritski in Petrograd some 500 persons were shot. It is not pretended that these people were in any way involved in the crime and moreover it is inconceivable that their guilt could have been established in the short time which elapsed between the killing of the Commissar and the shooting of so many persons. This wholesale execution is only a particularly striking instance of other acts of like character.

Such unwarranted slaughter cannot be allowed to pass unnoticed by an association whose object is to relieve human suffering. The action belongs to barbarous days and cannot but bring lasting discredit upon the authorities who are responsible for it or who in any way countenance it That others with whom the Soviet government is contending may also have committed acts of barbarity can be no answer. The American Red Cross, as you doubtless know, has not hesitated and in the future will not hesitate, equally to condemn such actions on the part of the others.

The American Red Cross under trying conditions has used every effort to relieve some of the suffering which is being endured by the people within the limits of Soviet Russia. While it claims no reward for what was freely given, I believe that its actions are fair proof of its freedom from political interest and thus entitle this note to the careful consideration which its serious subject matter deserves. That the future course of the Soviet government in respect to the people within its power will not be guided by mere word of ours, I readily agree; and I ask only that such course should be determined by the simplest principles of humanity and of justice which must be the basis of any form of government which has at heart the best interests of the people which it represents.

Respectfully yours,

Allen Wardwell