File No. 861.00/2867

The Consul at Vladivostok ( Caldwell ) to the Secretary of State


183. Following is a translation of letter from Doctor Girsa, member of Czech National Council, to Allied consuls for transmission to their Governments:

September 29. News which I receive regularly every day from commanders of our troops on the Volga front bring out more and more formidably their tragic situation. Having subsisted nine months on food insufficient in quantity and very indifferent in quality, our men are extremely weak. Moreover, during four months’ incessant fighting with enemy mostly superior numerically, they had to continue struggle, as they had no reserves to relieve them. They have had extremely deficient medical treatment and have totally lacked necessary hospital supplies, clothing and arms. Their utter exhaustion has led them to communicate to me through their commander in chief that they will do their duty to the very last in spite of everything, and they beg me to inform Professor Masaryk that all of them to the last man will prefer to die rather than tarnish the honor and glory of the Czecho-Slovaks. For my part I will say it is plain and indisputable that fate of our troops is determined; one cannot but expect their loss. There is limit to human endurance.

When troops are animated as ours are by liveliest possible patriotism and desire to do their duty, they cannot maintain front in country like Russia under the circumstances. It is impossible to fight successfully when there are constant disorders in rear which render communications precarious and interfere with operation of primary military services. Sole desire of our troops is to struggle against common enemy and that is why we started for French front. Enemy attacks frustrated that purpose and we were obliged to remain in Russia although perfectly aware that in undertaking to fight in Russia we were going to our death. But there was nothing else for our troops to do since to have left for another front would have seemed under such circumstances a sort of desertion and Czechoslovaks never flee from enemy. Our army knows and will do their duty to the last survivor, but I believe it is my duty under the circumstances to call the attention of Allied representatives to the interests of their respective countries which will be gravely compromised.

During four months of fighting our troops have obtained considerable success, and fruits of their sufferings and losses perhaps will be lost if they do not receive reinforcements sufficient to enable them successfully to terminate unequal struggle they have so far maintained. Only [by] immediate sending Allied troops to Volga front, in sufficient numbers to enable ours to continue to combat against superior enemy forces and reestablish order and tranquillity in rear and repress constantly renewed efforts of anarchists in Siberia [Page 403] and beyond Urals, can effective aid be given. Confidence and sympathy constantly shown us by Allies and gratitude of our army move me to make known to Allied representatives situation above described, and at the same time would add for them we shall always remain faithful to the ideal of the Allies and will act always entirely in accord with Allies and in conjunction with them, regardless of whatever decision they make as to sending aid to our troops.