File No. 861.00/3279

The Consul General at Irkutsk (Harris) to the Secretary of State1


201. Referring to my despatch of 13th.2 The question American troops for western Siberia development [discussed?] with Kolchak. I informed him that the American Government was of the opinion that the concentrated power of American military force should be used in France to defeat Germany and in accomplishing this result Germany would be compelled to withdraw all troops from Russian territory. No number of American troops could have accomplished as much in western Siberia and the wisdom of this policy was now being demonstrated. This was now self-evident to Kolchak. He believed, however, that a small detachment of American troops at this front, similar to the British, French and Italian, was desirable for the moral effect. I informed him that I was of the opinion that our Government would not send troops west of Baikal.

There is undercurrent of opinion here in western Siberia which would be somewhat adverse to presence of foreign troops. This is noticeable as regards the Czechs and is beginning to be apparent in respect of British. There is a tendency on the part of many to be content with the presence of these foreign troops as long as they remain at the front and bear the brunt of the fighting. If the Czechs show disposition to let Russians take the initiative against the Bolsheviki and accept the full responsibility, the Russians criticize this policy and manifest hostility by making it evident that [Page 443] the Czech troops might well quit the country. This same spirit may be shown towards British unless they are prepared to remain actually at the front and fight rather than do police duty in the rear. The frame of mind the Czechs have [fallen] into is that they are willing to fight for the Russians provided they are disposed to do something for themselves. Unfortunately many of the old Russian and Siberian officers manifest desire to revive old customs and traditions of independence [autocracy] and this enables Bolsheviks to carry on a fairly effective propaganda.

The military authorities are now in favor of making strong offensive on Samara and the Volga River in order to join in forces of General Denikin. If this can be accomplished, it is thought an avenue may be open for receiving supplies to [by] Rostov and the Black Sea.

  1. Sent via the Legation in China.
  2. Not printed.