File No. 861.00/3001
The Ambassador in Russia ( Francis ) to the Secretary of State
[Received October 20, 7.25 a.m.]
491. American naval attaché returned from railroad front reporting great dissatisfaction among two companies American troops and three companies French under British command. No British troops that front, all troops exhausted from continuous service. French inclined to insubordination because they had heard that hostilities ceased western front and claimed further service here solely in British interest, such feeling permeating officers also and American soldiers and officers becoming inoculated. Bolsheviks outnumbering Allied forces but are undisciplined in their fighting and are abstaining therefrom at will; warfare has been guerrilla character from the beginning. If American troops withdrawn, the French would not remain and the Bolsheviks advancing would besiege Archangel. I am sending a member of military mission to front and shall keep one there continuously when officers arrive, who Riggs advises are en route.[Page 560]
I think the British are doing all possible with the few men available. Ironside dining with me this evening alone, shall have thorough talk and telegraph further. The mistake was in not sending more troops when landing as the Bolsheviks were then demoralized and 10,000 soldiers could have taken Vologda and [Vyatka?] and possibly overturned Soviet government. The Bolsheviks have learned of the small force here and are reenforcing their resistance and radiating false reports from Moscow concerning victories. I learn confidentially from Lindley that the British War Office is being urged to permit 5,000 British soldiers to come to Archangel from Murman if cannot send additional force from other places.