File No. 861.00/3254

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


282. Directory of five, of Omsk government, has been abolished and replaced by Admiral Kolchak who is appointed “supreme governor” by Cabinet council, several members of which were arrested for objecting. This change is acquiesced in by General Horvat, who arrived here a few days since as “high representative of the provisional government in the Far East,” but change will not have approval or support of socialist groups, because it will be considered step toward the restoration of monarchy. I believe change was due to fear of socialist elements controlling directory, and was made possible mainly by presence of foreign troops in Siberia, preventing armed opposition which might still result unfavorably for Kolchak, Horvat, the conservative party, if permitted.

Sukhanov, the last president local Soviet, and companion were shot by Czechs three days ago while attempting to escape.

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Kalmykov, the ataman of the Ussuri Cossacks, is killing numbers of people every few days in Khabarovsk without proper trial. Russian authorities refuse to interfere because he has stated to Cossack assembly that Japanese were supporting him. Japanese have so far failed to take the necessary measures to check him. It seems certain that two Swedish Red Cross representatives, one Swede and one Norwegian, who were arrested by Kalmykov, have been killed by his men, although he claims they escaped. Swedish and Norwegian honorary consuls are Russians and fear to go to Khabarovsk to investigate.

It is frequently charged that Japanese are giving both Horvat and Kalmykov financial support in order to prolong disturbed conditions. I mention this, not as my opinion, but for your information, as it is believed by many.

Certain Y.M.C.A. men known to be friendly to the Japanese report that lower Japanese army officers and men in Manchuria have been rude and insolent, and have insisted on inspecting unnecessarily contents of their cars, although there has been recently some improvement in their conduct. At the same time those men find higher Japanese officers willing to assist them, whereas Russian officials of Chinese Eastern Railway are felt to be unfriendly and obstructing for some reason or other not apparent on the surface. Empty railway cars which those men have secured in western Siberia-and were bringing with them to Vladivostok for their westbound freight, have been seized in Harbin, in spite of permits from all existing Russian authorities. Red Cross finds the same hostility and every effort will be made hereafter to send goods via Amur Railway. This hostility in Manchuria, coupled with the decreased motive power due to want of repairs and the lack of lubricant oil, makes transportation progressively difficult. Unless an improvement can be effected work of [Red] Cross and Y.M.C.A. must gradually decrease and proposed economic assistance will be impossible on any large scale.

If Chinese Eastern Railway problem is blocking negotiations for working railway agreement, I have to suggest elimination that line and substitution of Amur Railway.

Attitude of Russians toward signature of armistice is distinctly apathetic.