File No. 861.00/2464

The British Chargé ( Barclay ) to the Secretary of State

[The following paraphrase of a telegram was sent by the Chargé to the Department of State on August 9, 1918:]

The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs ( Balfour ) to the Ambassador at Washington ( Reading )

The following is a paraphrase of a telegram received from H.M.S. Suffolk:

Allied naval and military representatives held a conference on board the U.S.S. Brooklyn on July 31, at which the Czech General explained that the critical position of the Czechs south of Baikal was due to the fact that the enemy had recently blown up the tunnel between them and Irkutsk. The General proposes to proceed immediately via Harbin to their rescue with his forces, which only number 4,000 men, this small number making it impossible for him to take the route line of communication. The enemy are gathering forces in great numbers, and the large enemy force by which Semenov was badly defeated are in a strong position to the westward of Manchuria Station. The enemy are forcing the Cossacks to join the war prisoners, and news is being circulated that the Czech forces are small and that the Allies will not support them. It will only be possible for the Czech General to leave a small defensive force on the Ussuri front. The present situation both for the Allies and the Czechs is a dangerous one. The Czech General estimates that 6,000 Allied troops would be necessary to strengthen the force for the defence of the Nikolsk front, and that 20,000 would be necessary in addition to his small force to relieve the Czechs at Baikal, also that a further 20,000 will be required to send forward to the Ussuri front, and to overcome the enemy in the Amur Province, where Von Taube has established his headquarters at Blagoveshchensk. The Czech General considers that the British flag should be shown on the Ussuri front and he therefore requests that the half battalion of British troops arriving August 3 be sent direct there. The battalion of French troops which are due here on August 6 will be sent on to the Ussuri front on arrival. It was unanimously agreed at the conference that two divisions of Allied troops should be sent to support the Czechs immediately, and that the remainder should follow on afterwards.

A telegram from the French Minister at Tokyo was read by General Paris, in which it was explained that at a meeting on July 29 at which the immediate dispatch of Japanese troops was recommended, all the Allied representatives agreed, with the exception of the United States representative, who considered that no help was required by the Czechs.