File No. 861.00/894

The Consul General at Moscow (Summers) to the Secretary of State


139. Bolsheviki have suppressed press and seized and closed all banks. Factories and business enterprises threatened with confiscation. Lawless bands pillaging and terrorizing population. Moscow declared under martial law. Bolshevik papers violently attacking American motives entering war charging imperialists and in the interests of capitalists.

Bolshevik forces defeated in Don section and Ukrainia has begun disarming them. Moscow Bolshevik garrison refuses to march against Cossacks or Ukrainians who are joining forces. Large numbers German prisoners reaching city returning home presumably. Poole telegraphs that he has unofficially seen at Novocherkassk Generals Alexeev and Kaledin, Sogaev the ataman, Milyukov,1 and a member of French Military Mission. Kaledin is occupied for the present consolidating the situation in the Don country; Alexeev organizing Volunteer Army and working in cooperation [Page 602] with Kaledin; Milyukov and other popular leaders in the Southeastern federation, which is in the formative stage but developing strongly. It does not seek independence but aims to serve as a nucleus from which Russia may be reconstructed on a federative basis through the action of the Constitutional Assembly. It has undoubtedly the support of the best element in Russia rapidly concentrating on the south. The President, Kharlamov, is a person of much character and highly spoken of by Alexeev. He is a Cadet and former Duma member and a friend of Milyukov.

The alliance with the Ukraine progressing favorably, with Siberia doubtless will be consolidated at the second Siberian congress which will be held in Omsk the end of December. As an outgrowth of the Southeastern federation a military district of the southeast is in process of formation. It is planned to make Alexeev commander in chief thereof thus bringing under one head all the Cossack troops and the Volunteer Army. Kornilov1 is [t]here secretly. For political reasons he must keep out of sight for the present but will aid with generous military advice. Undoubtedly a [beginning?] has been made for bringing into a close working union the regenerative elements in Russia which can be expected to act effectively against the Bolsheviki and the Germans. Poole is of opinion, and I thoroughly share his views, that the Government of the United States and the Allies should immediately lend this nucleus all-possible moral and material support and thereby fortify the one remaining serious hope of saving Russia and Rumania from complete German domination and a catastrophe for the Allies in Asiatic Turkey.

With adequate support Alexeev will be prepared to undertake an offensive campaign in the spring. With less help he can still defend this region. The mere defense for the time being of this southern country, comprising the greatest food-producing districts of Russia and the coal fields, would be of the utmost military value. On the other hand loss of this region would go far to nullify our campaign of starvation against Germany. These opinions of Poole are formed after carefully and impartially studying the situation with me, then confirming them by conversations with leaders of the movement. I consider his views express the only hope of Russia’s avoiding complete anarchy and German control and that the future of democracy here depends on the moral and material aid given Alexeev and Kaledin at this critical moment. This is the [Page 603] universal opinion of Milyukov, Rodzyanko, and others who have the country’s interests at heart. With material and continued successes against the Bolshevik element the armies of Kaledin and Alexeev soon will be vastly augmented by large bodies of loyal troops and of other elements which are beginning to see that they have been duped by their leaders and whose hatred toward the latter is becoming very bitter. The Allies should also take immediate steps to prevent the Bolsheviki and the German prisoners from destroying the Siberian Railway as this is of paramount importance to the armies of Alexeev and Kaledin.

Kaledin’s pressing need is money. If that is assured him at once the tide may soon turn. Could not the United States join with the Allies and render him and Alexeev immediate aid? The eyes of all Russia are turned to the south and the Ukraine as the deliverers of the country.

The increasingly bitter attacks of the Bolsheviki on the Allies and especially the United States show how completely northern Russia is under the control of Germany. We can expect no change for the better as the sinister German influence to the [passage indicating groups garbled] will not stop until anarchy is the result and the monarchy restored in all its former horrors. The Russia we welcomed as a democratic nation is in the south. The rest is practically at war with us. At the most there is no organized power that can cope with the situation except in the south. This information is strictly confidential and informative. Poole explained fully in his conversations that he was acting purely unofficially and only endeavoring to obtain such data on the situation as would enable his Government better to understand the problems confronting Russia. He remains in Rostov for the present preparing some consular reports on that section.

I thoroughly appreciate the Department’s attitude in not desiring to interfere in the internal affairs of Russia, yet feel it my duty to say that while the Embassy and Consulate will until the last moment continue to perform all their duties in Moscow and St. Petersburg, yet this section is rapidly falling into German control and anarchy and the only salvation of the country is in Alexeev’s army. I think that if eventually we are forced to leave we should go to Rostov and there continue to support the (loyal?) elements in Russia. I am expecting report from Jenkins on situation in Kiev and will cable same, on receipt of which I request Department outline confidentially its views on situation.

  1. Paul N. Milyukov, from March to May 1917 Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
  2. Gen. L. G. Kornilov, in July 1917 commander of the southwestern front, and from July to September 1917 Commander in Chief of the Russian Army.