File No. 763.72112/11086

The Ambassador in Russia (Francis) to the Secretary of State

No. 1236

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith a report made by First Lieut., U.S.N.A., Peter I. Bukowski, upon the subject of the activities of the Allies directed towards restricting the transfer of supplies from northern Russia to the enemy. This report was submitted by Lieutenant Bukowski after several months’ work in this field at Petrograd, in cooperation with British and French officers, and upon his arrival at Archangel following the departure of all Americans from Bolshevik Russia.

I have [etc.]

David R. Francis

Report on Activities Directed towards Restricting Supplies to the Enemy from Northern Russia

The work of restricting supplies to the enemy from northern Russia was commenced about May 15, 1918. It will be remembered that, at the time, the Bolsheviks were wavering whether to maintain the pro-Ally sympathies of the Russian people or whether the interests of the Russian revolution demanded harmonious work with the Germans, which obviously would be advantageous to the Germans as well. The success of the German arms on the western front during the months of March, April, and May apparently convinced the Bolsheviks, however, that Germany represented a greater menace to the Soviet government than the Allies did, and that sooner or later Germany, tempted by the vast stores of materials and supplies in raw, semi and fully manufactured state, would penetrate into the country beyond the region already controlled by the Germans. With this theory in mind, it was obvious to the Soviet government that Petrograd would be the object of the prime and great thrust because of the booty to be gained as well as the military and political significance of the act.

Actuated by these fears, the Soviet government decided to continue and in fact develop the evacuation of that city (Petrograd)—the evacuation having been first commenced in February 1918, before the Brest Litovsk peace was signed.

Allied representatives immediately offered their services and experience to the Soviet authorities in Petrograd—the interests of the Bolsheviks and the Allies coinciding at the time.

The following is a résumé of the evacuation of Petrograd which was commenced on a broad scale about May 15 and continued with varying intensity and with constant interruptions, of minor or more serious nature, up to August 1, when, because of apparent assurances made by the Germans that no invasion of Soviet territory would take place, the evacuation was stopped.

On August 1, when the evacuation was definitely abandoned, the results were as follows:

Shipped by waterways 2,700,000
Shipped by rail 7,800,000
Total 10,500,000

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[or about 170,000 long tons] of material of economic or military value, distributed roughly as follows:

Poods (Estimated)
Copper, ingots, products, brass, tubing, plates, rods, etc 1,500,000
Lead, nickel, high-speed instrument steel, ferro-alloys, etc 800,000
Machinery, instruments, etc 2,000,000
Rubber (raw and products such as tires, etc.) 1,200,000
War materials:
Cartridges 50,000 cases } 3,000,000
Aluminum detonating time fuses for 3″ H. E. and shrapnel 3,000,000
12″ naval guns—8
Field guns—110
Shells 3″—300,000—? [sic]
Miscellaneous—Q. M. Supplies 2,000,000
Total 10,500,000

This represents about 85–90 per cent of all valuable materials and supplies in Petrograd and immediate industrial centers such as Sestroretsk (rifle factory), Okhta (powder works), Sehlüsselburg (powder works).

Most of the shipments made by waterways have arrived at their destinations, i. e., Volga towns, and consequently are now or have been in the hands of the Czecho-Slovak troops. The shipments by rail were more broadly distributed. The rubber products, tires particularly, were shipped to Moscow where they now remain despite repeatedly recurring reports to the effect that such were shipped to Germany. The raw rubber went into the interior along the Petrograd-Vologda-Perm railway but was diverted to Yaroslavl. Much of this has been probably destroyed by the heavy bombardment of the city. Considerable machinery and artillery was sent to Perm. Large rail shipments were made to Ekaterinburg.

The Government munitions and armament works have been dismantled and the machinery scattered about Russia.

As an aggregate quantity, there is still considerable material in the north of Russia but this is so scattered that it will be almost next to impossible to assemble larger quantities. …

Summarized, Petrograd and adjoining district are stripped of valuable materials and supplies. …