File No. 861.48/638

The Consul at Archangel (Cole) to the Secretary of State


139. Entire political success or failure of intervention in Russia depends on supplying territory behind the Allied forces with foodstuffs. It is impossible at present for all concerned to predict when connection with Siberia can be had. Russian people will not fight; [Page 144]can not be made to fight. The restrictions necessarily imposed upon the civil population due to the military operations are a heavy burden politically. Distribution of food supplies however is an inestimable asset; therefore the military liability should not interfere with the food supply asset. Russians for some time to come instinctively will find everything military objectionable. For this reason food distribution should be exclusively a civil function exercised independently of the army with sole responsibility to the highest civil authorities interested, namely Allied Governments. There should be an Allied supply committee to control importation of provisions or of merchandise and all exports. Some one familiar with the food resources of the United States, experienced in the exercise of victual control, should be sent immediately from America. Demands made here for shipment from the United States should be considered imperative. What is the [Department’s] opinion?