File No. 861.00/1074

The Ambassador in Japan ( Morris ) to the Secretary of State


Reports from Vladivostok and eastern Siberia generally indicate growing disorder. Stevens, who is in Harbin investigating conditions, telegraphs me, “Prospect dubious. The situation in my opinion grave. The Allies should act vigorously or they may later on be at war to hold north [route] across the Pacific.” Japanese Government is seriously discussing some plan of immediate action but desires approval of Allies. In extended conversation February 5, 5 p.m., Viscount Motono explains the reason to me his convictions that there should be a frank exchange of views between the Allies in an effort to reach a uniform policy towards Russia. He feared the [Page 43] American Government was not fully informed as to actual conditions in eastern Siberia and their possible effect on the peace of the Far East. He was making a careful study of the situation and had sought advise me on the military aspects of the problem.

While not prepared to state any definite conclusion, either personally or officially, he was more inclined to the view that some plan of action ought to be agreed upon by the Allied powers to prevent spread of German influence in Asia by Siberia. He doubted whether it was wise to leave the moderate element in Russia without some support from the Allies which would hearten them in their effort to keep Russia true to the declaration of no separate peace.

He believed that such support would be welcomed by all the moderate element who might otherwise find it impossible resist growing German influence. He realized that America’s position was somewhat different from the other Allies, not being a party to the declaration of no separate peace. He also appreciated that the view toward which he inclined seemed inconsistent with the views indicated in the recent oral communication in reference to Vladivostok. When I inquired whether he had considered what action ought to be taken, he replied that he had no definite plans at the moment but he continued, exhibiting map of eastern Siberia showing localities now under Bolshevik influence, that the control up to the junction of the Trans-Siberian and Amur Railways would in his judgment effectively prevent the spread of German influence in the Far East. He concluded by again emphasizing the purely personal character of these tentative views which he submitted for transmission in the hope that they might call forth an equally frank expression of views from our Government. He to-day repeated his views to the British Ambassador for transmission to his Government, likewise requesting exchange of views.