File No. 861.00/2693
The Chargé in China ( MacMurray ) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 14, 11.38 a.m.]
Referring to your September 5, 5 p.m.1 Pending receipt of detailed reply from Irkutsk, the following replies to your interrogations are submitted based on telegrams received from Major Slaughter, U. S. A.,2 dated Irkutsk September 9 and 10:
- In Siberia west of Irkutsk there are 4,200 Czechs and 3,500 Russians on the Ekaterinburg-Perm front; 12,000 Czechs on the [Page 380] Volga front; and 32,000 Russians mobilized in western Siberia. Information from the Russian sources states that a force of 25,000 Cossacks is operating north from the Caspian and has occupied Tsaritsyn. Late reports unconfirmed state that these troops have effected junction with Czechs on the Samara-Kazan front.
- Their organization is imperfect due to lack of material and trained officers.
- A great deficiency of supplies exists; what they have has been obtained locally. It is claimed and believed that a very much larger force can be mobilized if the Allies give support in the way of officers and material.
- Their morale, while not equal to that of Czechs, is fair and better than that of the enemy.
- They are subject to military discipline.
- They are directed by Omsk government which appears to be representative of the real sentiment of western Siberia. Bolshevik Party has practically ceased to exist in western Siberia and is now composed of a small and criminally inclined minority directed by Germans and depending on armed prisoners for support. Czechs report that their recent engagements in Ekaterinburg-Perm district have been against forces composed exclusively of Magyars officered by Germans and Austrians.
- The Russian forces in western Siberia are under direction of General Ivanov, Minister of War in the Omsk government.
With regard to conditions in European Russia, Slaughter, who bases his statements on the stories of refugees … reports conditions very similar.
Slaughter further states that there is active German propaganda to the effect that Americans are willing to spend money but not to fight, and that Czechs will not understand how even small numbers of Allied forces can guard rear without assisting at the front, and that there is danger of their regarding this as confirming propaganda.