File No. 861.00/2465
The Consul at Harbin (Moser) to the Secretary of State
[Received August 11, 10.38 a.m.]
Repeat to Committee on Public Information. Preface Reuter’s exclusive report of your official declaration, regard to our position in Siberia, was issued to public before any American representative made aware of it and by misconstruction in translation aroused antagonism of Russians here. The following is a translation from to-day’s Vestnik Manchurii, the principal organ of the so-called Horvat government, with wide circulation:
In our yesterday’s edition we published a semiofficial communication from the Government of the United States made especially for the foreign press with the purpose of acquainting all with the purposes pursued by America in connection with the sending of troops into Russia.
First of all it must be noted that, either this communication in English was intentionally drawn up in unclear expressions, which sharply distinguished it from the Japanese Government’s declaration of August 2, couched, on the contrary, in extremely clear and most exact expressions, or the translators transmitted it carelessly in the Russian text to the editors of the Harbin papers.
The American communication noticeably narrows the program of the Allied intervention given in the Japanese communication. The Government at Washington, for instance, says that there is no need of reestablishing the front on the part of Russia against Germany, as the struggle has been transferred by the Allies entirely to the western front, and therefore, if the Russians wish and are able to reestablish their army for this purpose, let them fight; it is of no interest to the Allies.
The internal condition of Russia seems to the American Government so bad that any intervention on the part of the Allies in favor of restoration of quiet and order in Russia would only make matters worse.
The task of the Japanese–American military mission amounts solely to succoring the Czecho-Slovaks, who are threatened by the German and Magyar war prisoners; and the first step in aiding the Czecho-Slovaks consists in enabling them, as quickly as possible, in leaving Russia for the western front. From this it is concluded: first, that the Americans do not attach special significance to the formation of the Siberian front by the Germans; and, secondly, that they leave it to the Russians to liquidate that front.
The chief care of the United States is to safeguard the war material sold by America to Russia and now in the ports of Vladivostok, Murmansk, and Archangel. In its desire to safeguard this valuable property, which may become of use to Russia, the Government at Washington shows its consideration for us further and says that military aid from the Allies would be too expensive for [Page 339] the Russians, and therefore it is better to let them spend this money on the restoration of the army and the feeding of hungry citizens.
The only effective means of guarding the above-mentioned property in Vladivostok is considered to be the occupation of Allied troops. Such occupation has already taken place in Murmansk and Archangel, but for the complete safety of the Vladivostok depots it may be necessary to clear the localities in the vicinity of Vladivostok of the Germans and Magyars.
If all the plans of America, as enumerated above, are carried out exactly, the result will be as follows: (1) The Allies will not help us to restore the front; (2) they will take the Czecho-Slovaks away from Russia as soon as possible; (3) they will occupy all our chief ports, guarding property for which money has not been paid to America; (4) they will leave Russia to disintegrate further, if the bacilli of disintegration be sufficiently strong.
Perhaps following upon the communication for the press the Government of the United States will make a formal declaration, and from it [it] will then be possible to draw some different conclusions.
We therefore confine ourselves for the time being to deciphering the unclear communication which makes an important amendment to Japan’s declaration, which latter is imbued with an entirely different spirit and contains broader aims for extending aid to Russia.
Am issuing statement through Committee on Public Information to the effect that the American position has been misconstrued, our aim being heartily to assist Russia in her efforts for the restoration of order, and to make possible her cooperation against the common enemy upon a basis of equality with the other Allies; also that our hesitation to interfere in her internal affairs is inspired solely by our respect for her status of sovereignty. Earnestly suggest in future official statement of this character be issued to our consular representatives and Committee on Public Information before given to the public press. Official statements circulated through general news agencies rather than through our own Government official mediums, established for the purpose, sure to cause embarrassment and bring about misunderstanding.