File No. 861.00/1241
The Consul at Vladivostok (Caldwell) to the Secretary of State
[Received 11.17 p.m.]
Local business houses declared strike and were closed to-day as protest against controls forced upon them by Soviet. The latter in retaliation last night arrested four most important members Chamber of Commerce and announce that they will be sent to Irkutsk for trial together with ten recently arrested officers of organizations in charge of private cargo in customs and elsewhere and if sent it is very possible they may be killed. Six hundred White Guards plan to prevent by force their removal and to arrest Soviet to-night.
Agents American firms various cities Siberia other than Vladivostok report Soviet demanding contributions as much as 80,000 rubles in some cases. If contributions refused property is seized and agents arrested. Agents telegraph for consular assistance. I am [Page 71] informing them that such illegal demands should be refused but undoubtedly some levies will be paid under protest or taken by force since distances too great for effective protests.
Local Bolshevik newspapers and posters denounce Allies and local Consular Corps as enemies of the revolution charging them with instigating opposition to Bolsheviks, and with stopping food from China, real cause for this being that consuls have notified their nationals they are not liable to illegal taxes levied by Soviet, have protested against violations of property and personal rights, requesting proper protection, and are making possible entry of food from China by giving guarantee to Harbin Consular Corps that food will go to civilian population this district. I do not anticipate violence against consulates or foreigners as war vessels are known to be ready to give them protection.
First express from Petrograd via Amur Railway arrived yesterday and another is due to-morrow.