File No. 861.00/3528
The Minister in Rumania ( Vopicka ) to the Secretary of State
[Received December 25, 10.35 a.m.]
17. Referring to Department’s telegram No. 243, I beg to report that I have some of the best information I have ever received from Czech who left Moscow six weeks ago and from a Russian officer, born Czech, who came from Kiev a few days ago. Both of them were living in Russia a very long time and know the conditions prevailing there very well.[Page 704]
The following information about the Bolsheviks they obtained directly from highest [officers] Bolshevik army. The main guards are formed of Austrian and Hungarian war prisoners, further about 50,000 Letts from the Baltic provinces, and about 40,000 Chinese workmen. The balance, more than half million men, are Russians who are taken into the army by compulsion and regular mobilization, as, unless they enter, they get nothing to eat and their lives are in peril. In Moscow there are many Americans, French, English, and Czecho-Slovaks arrested and in terrible conditions. Hunger is prevailing everywhere and unless help reaches them immediately they will probably all die from hunger and the only way they can save themselves is to join the Bolshevik army, and now even the Bolshevik army is getting very low with their supplies. …
In Kiev the situation is as follows: Kiev held by about 15,000 Russian officers and some Ukrainian soldiers under the high commandant Dolgorukov. Skoropadski is still the hetman of Ukrainia. The Germans before they left gave all ammunition and rifles and everything else which they had on hand to Petlyura who used to be the official storekeeper of the Russian Government. He is now head of the Bolsheviks of Ukraine and he is gaining ground; it is feared that he will take Odessa where now only two French regiments are at present. And unless the Allied armies will be able to come to the rescue soon it is expected Kiev also will be taken by the Bolsheviks. Denikin 1 army is far from Kiev; the strength of this army is uncertain but the correct estimate is about 25,000 men. Please do not place very much confidence in it; I have no faith in it.
My colleague, the French Minister, told me yesterday it will be necessary to have a volunteer army in Russia and that means in his opinion that some of the French soldiers object to serving any more, claiming that the war is already ended. General Berthelot expects to engage some Rumanian and Greek troops under French commanding officers, but I am afraid this combination will not work very well.
… further says that in Russia now exists a great organization [agitation?] against the Jews and it is generally believed that the pogrom will take place when the Allied army enters Russia from the south. Taking into consideration the steady growth of Bolsheviks, the present situation in Russia is very dangerous. I again ask that our army be sent to Russia for the reasons which I stated in my previous telegrams.
- Gen. A. I. Denikin, who was successively chief of staff and commander of the western and of the southwestern fronts under the Provisional Government, had succeeded Kornilov at the head of the Volunteer Army.↩