861.77/1218: Telegram

The American member of the Inter-Allied Railway Committee ( Smith ) to the Secretary of State, transmitted by the Consul at Vladivostok ( Macgowan )

612. Following from Smith:

“Replying to your November 18, 1 p.m.

Following amounts paid: China, $500,000; Japan and America, $4,000,000 each;80 total, $8,500,000. Other countries have refused to contribute.
Depends entirely on life railway under Allied control next year. For all lines Vladivostok to the Ural Mountains $30,000,000 is estimated.
Difficult to say, I feel however that the United States should not hesitate to furnish entire amount if necessary. Russians want American goods and buy Japanese because they are the only ones obtainable. Japan does not manufacture most of the machinery needed in Siberia, a large quantity of which will be needed when a liberal government is established. Siberia will develop very rapidly, America’s commercial interests in the Far East require liberal attitude at present. There will be no market for American goods until the railway is opened up.

As to our future work I cite you to many of my past telegrams. The Russian masses have been misunderstood. They only want three cardinal principles fixed, the right to own and enjoy property, free religious worship, and representative government. This is not Bolshevism, but it is just what the old regimists do not want. As long as old regimists are in control railroad improvement cannot succeed, they do not wish it to succeed for that will aid the people; and the people they do not wish [it] to succeed under present conditions for it aids the old regimists to sink their talons deeper into the people. Hence the old regimists must go. To eliminate them the following should be done:

Eliminate the Allied military from politics. They have supported the Russian military who are the old regimists.
Let them know that their only business is to protect the railway as the American military has done.
Give the Inter-Allied Committee the power to decide the policy for all Allied organizations including the military. If the present men are of insufficient calibre, appoint men who are [sic]. Every man on this Committee should speak Russian. There have been many occasions where the policies of the various Allied organizations have been at cross purposes and the Russians have noted it.
Show the Russians that the Allies are united and that they believe civilian authority stands superior to military force. Under the Kolchak régime the military alone have ruled Siberia, and more incapable dishonest class of men could not be found.
Make the Russians understand that economic uplift of their country is paramount to the military. The Russian masses are tired of fighting and will gladly welcome a chance to desert. Economic aid will destroy Bolshevism much more quickly than military and will also defeat the international situation created here. Militarism has almost driven Siberia to Bolshevism and unless subordinated to civil authority will entirely succeed.
Keep the Czechs here if possible to guard a part of the railroad. They speak Russian, understand the people and are the most dreaded enemies of the Bolsheviki. Where the Czechs and Americans have guarded the line there has been only about 10 per cent of the trouble that the Japanese have had. The Amur line can not operate where the Japanese are, yet on the Chinese and American sectors on the same line there is but little disturbance. The reason is plain. The people look to [blame] them for their support of Semenoff and Kalmikoff.
Make the Japanese subordinate their military to the civilian authority. They have been playing a double game here that is a disgrace. Since the Gaida affair81 most of the Russians have turned against them. Many Russian supporters of Kolchak say the Japanese interfered in the fight and a Russian soldier told me that a Japanese officer came to tell them that the Japanese would support them. The Japanese military have continually worked against the Americans …

. … Not repeated elsewhere. Smith.

  1. For the temporary War Trade Board loan, see telegram to the consul at Vladivostok, Mar. 14, 6 p.m., p. 262, and footnote 71, p. 263.
  2. See pp. 546 ff.