File No. 861.77/286
The Consul at Harbin (Moser) to the Secretary of State
[Received 11.23 p.m.]
Referring to your cipher telegram of January 24, 7 p.m., to Stevens, impossible to work with Soldiers’ and Workmen’s authorities, Siberia. There are none in Harbin. Bolsheviks control all Siberian towns east from Irkutsk but railway employees and vast majority population, helpless in their grasp, hate them. We can work with these.
I have opposed raising Allied forces Harbin for invasion against Bolsheviks and also Allied money and arms for Russian force under Russian control because of Russian disorganization and inefficiency, but the certainty now clear that Siberia and railways will fall completely into hands of the German war prisoners and the Bolsheviks unless immediate measures taken renders action imperative. It is reported that armed German prisoners now acting as guards in some Siberian towns. Firmly believe unless America takes over direction railways, Japan will be obliged to.
If we can secure request by railways for the Government of the United States take over operation of the railways till end of war only from Vladivostok to Irkutsk retaining present workmen and officials as figureheads, will you accept and support with money and arms Russian force ten thousand or more under Russian leadership but American supervision to guard Siberian railways? This will involve Russian relief [rescue?] of Amur River railway also from the Bolsheviks’ and prisoners’ control and may extend to western Siberia. Chinese troops would be retained guarding Manchurian railway as their share in Allies’ cooperation. Russians have also excellent nucleus in Cossack force now operating between Manchouli and Irkutsk, but lack money and arms.
Stevens and I heartily agree this most practical plan involving minimum questions and producing most valuable results. Communicate [Page 220] by telegraph if we may proceed with the negotiations, Nothing can be accomplished without our operation of railways. We regard situation critical, gathering strength fast and that there is no room for illusions.