File No. 861.00/1237

The Chargé in China (Spencer) to the Secretary of State


Your March 4, 7 p.m. It is impossible from present information at hand to state how many prisoners released; 2,000 German prisoners [Page 70] are known to be armed in Irkutsk. The proportion of Germans and Austrians actively participating with Bolsheviks not known, but Russian Legation here says that Austrians and Turks are not inclined to any activity unless stirred up to [by] Germans, the Germans however very active. It is presumed that Germans are commanded by their own officers, the proportion of officers to men prisoners being very large. Some Bolshevik forces officered by Germans. Have instructed Drysdale to proceed westward toward Irkutsk if safe to do so and to report accurately on all questions giving actual facts.

It is believed here most of the news emanating from French Consul General, Irkutsk, is slightly colored by his desire for immediate intervention on the part of Japanese but it would be impossible for him to exaggerate seriousness of situation. The number of prisoners of war in Priamur district is: officers, 4,846; men, 9,230; proportion three Austrians to one German. In the Trans-Baikal there are about 25,000, in west Siberia about 30,000 prisoners of war; this includes only prisoners in concentration camps. Impossible to estimate prisoners employed as laborers. This telegram together with my March 1, 1 p.m., March 3, noon, March 4, 5 p.m.,1 March 5, 2 p.m., repeated to Tokyo under your instructions of March 4, 8 p.m.1 Will continue so to repeat similar telegrams.

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