File No. 861.00/807

The Consul at Tiflis (Smith) to the Secretary of State1


In a private conference to-day at this Consulate between the chairman of the government of Southeastern Russian federation, Kharlamov, and General Shore, Colonel Chardigny, and myself, former stated that federation is composed of Cossacks of the Don Plateau, Terek, Astrakhan, and of Daghestan. This union was joined by the Cossacks of the Ural and rest [negotiations in progress?] with upper Caucasians and are on their way with Little Russia, Poland, and Siberia. In the first little confidence felt. That Generals Kaledin and Alexeev were organizing an armed force which was rapidly being joined by Cossack officers and loyal troops from all Russia; that the force already existing was sufficient to withstand any effort that could be made by the disorganized Russian Army and to take Tambov, Saratov, Samara; that for the present federation contemplated holding its front and maintaining order within its borders and would endeavor to create an army for fighting with the Allies; that it would not submit to a separate peace or armistice without the consent of the Allies. The line to be held by the federation is as indicated in my telegram of November 18.

There is little doubt of the success of this movement if given active support in men, money, equipment, and administration. Federation would welcome presence American or Allied forces, would turn over administration railroads and would be able to feed Rumanian Army as well as Allied forces which might be sent to their assistance. This federation, if supported, would hold practically all Russia’s supplies. Not a train could move unless federation gave coal or petroleum. It could reduce northwestern Russia to starvation and it could save Rumanian Army, giving it possibility of falling back east to the government of Ekaterinoslav. Federation contemplates an issue of paper currency to be printed, for lack paper and presses, in United States or India. Civil capital of federation, Ekaterinodar; military center Novocherkassk. Kharlamov was formerly chairman of the high commissioners for the Caucasus and is sound man. The [Page 589] Black Sea Fleet very hostile to federation but can not live without coal. Please give general instructions for telegrams [by telegraph?] to me via Eastern, Bombay.

  1. Repeated to the Ambassador in Great Britain (No. 6044), Bee. 15, 1917, “for your information and for Crosby.”