File No. 861.00/2772

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Japan ( Morris ), temporarily at Vladivostok


Your September 23, 10 p.m. Your suggestion that General Graves establish himself at Omsk or any other point in the far [Page 393] interior must be disapproved because, strongly as our sympathies constrain us to make every possible sacrifice to keep the country on the Volga front out of the hands of the merciless Red Guards, it is the unqualified judgment of our military authorities that to attempt military activities west of the Urals is to attempt the impossible. We mean to send all available supplies that we can spare from the western front as fast as possible for the use of the Czechoslovak forces, but we can not undertake to send them west of the Urals. So far as our cooperation is concerned we must frankly say that the Czech forces should retire to the eastern side of the Urals to some point at which they will be certainly accessible to supplies sent from the east, preferably where they will be in a position to make it impossible for the Germans to draw supplies of any kind from western Siberia, but in any case where they can make themselves secure against attack. With the deepest regret but with perfect realization of compelling facts we must in frankness say that our assistance can not be given in the carrying out of any other program. All that some in authority expected to happen upon the sending of Allied and American troops to the northern ports has failed of realization. This Government can not cooperate in an effort to establish lines of operation and defense through from Siberia to Archangel.

However, we are giving General Graves authority to establish his headquarters at some such place as Harbin provided the Chinese Government interposes no objection, so that he can be in touch with an open port during the winter and can make the best use of his force to carry out the plans for safeguarding the rear of the Czechoslovaks.

We have asked the Chinese Government if there would be any objection to this plan.

Peking will be directed to advise you of the answer.

The foregoing you are at liberty to use in your discretion with the civil and military authorities of other governments at Vladivostok.

The following you will treat as strictly confidential:1

The ideas and purposes of the Allies with respect to military operations in Siberia and on the “Volga front” are ideas and purposes with which we have no sympathy. We do not believe them to be practical or based upon sound reason or good military judgment. Consequently, while we have said that we do not desire to set the limits of the actions or to define the policies of our associates, we are [Page 394] not prepared and do not intend to follow their lead and do not desire our representatives to be influenced by their persistent representations as to facts and as to plans for action which, to us, seem chimerical and wholly impossible. You will please impress upon the military, naval and civil authorities of the United States Government at Vladivostok1 that, notwithstanding any pressure to the contrary, they are expected to be governed wholly and absolutely by the policy of this Government as expressed herein.

For your information there follows the text of a cable I am to-day sending to Mr. Francis at Archangel, and which, with the first part of this telegram, is being sent to London, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, and Peking for the information of the Governments at those places. [Here follow the first three paragraphs of telegram of September 26, 1918, 6 p.m., to the Ambassador in Russia, post, page 546.]

  1. The following paragraph repeated “for your confidential information,” in telegrams of Sept. 26, 7 p.m., to the Ambassador in Great Britain, for repetition to the Ambassadors in France and Italy, and to the Chargé in Japan, for repetition to the Minister in China (File No. 861.00/2799b).
  2. There is used in place of at Vladivostok in telegrams sent elsewhere.